The humankind’s burgeoning understanding about the biological sciences along with their co-relation with other spheres of physics and allied sciences have altered the landscape of human perceptions so drastically that one is forced to think in terms of issues and challenges which were no concern for us, may be only a few decades back. Today however, global warming, increasing continental drift, rising sea-level, ozone depletion, desertification of arable lands and forests, increasing salination of portable water et al. are a few instances about which there is developing an increasing popular consensus across cultures to have some kind of joint obligations so that mankind is not forced to a point of self-annihilation.
If the world’s major power USA is dragging its feet in signing international protocols and conventions to guarantee strict adherence to measures of environmental safety, it is not being praised for this defiance. Indeed there is an overwhelming majority of people in the USA itself, more than what is anywhere else in the world, who hate their country’s insensitivity towards the issues of environment and ecology which concern not only any single or isolated political or geographical entity, but threaten the entire humankind. With public opinion increasingly turning in favour of more environment-friendly development, it is the governments which will have sooner or later to follow the suit.
Nature has created this earth or even for that matter the extra-terrestrial elements like sun and moon and other stars and planets and also their affects and influences on earth - be it in the form of heat and light or magnetic pull for instance – in such a manner that there exists a delicate balance between them. And there is not only the scientific evidence but human beings too have witnessed that once this balance is disturbed, there is chaos; and God forbids, there is death and destruction.
Imagine what will happen if the delicate balance between the earth and the sun – let’s presume in terms of their movement and hence location vis-a-vis each-other – is disturbed? It shouldn’t be difficult to anticipate the kind of disturbances the same would trigger everywhere. Obviously the ramifications can only be imagined - most of the mankind would not be alive to observe and document the CHANGE that will be set in motion if such a disaster ever happens. To sum up one can say that there is a marked balance, some kind of equilibrium, some steadiness, some poise in and between everything that forms our immediate as well as distant ambience and environment. As long as this balance is appreciated and respected, there is harmony around for the humanity to enjoy the bounties of nature’s wondrous generosity. However, once owing to our material greed or for some other reason, we start poking in our nose to disturb this harmony, there is every possibility of the same ‘kind nature’ training its proverbial guns at us. If we don’t appreciate this importance of ecological balance and continue fiddling with nature, our forests and water-bodies in particular, the day is not far off when Kashmir will no longer be same.
Kashmir, which has traditionally been known for its lush forests and salubrious environs, is fast loosing these attractions. The glaciers that have been the storehouses of Kashmir’s only abundant resource, the water, too are shrinking fast. Indeed if findings of the recent glacial studies that have been conducted in the Himalayan region are taken as indicator, one can say it without any fear of contradiction that the impact of global warming is certainly impacting Kashmir and its climate – as is evident by lack of snow this winter -- and all aspects of human geography in a real big way. But unfortunately thus far, not only the common people but even the government agencies have done precious little to salvage at least some if not all the damage. Take for instance the forests. Kashmir is losing its forest cover fast, but nothing worthwhile is being done to save them. Whatever little bit of regeneration is there is because of natural processes, and that too in forest areas where there is minimal human interference.
Now see the tragedy, huge amounts of money this place is earning in carbon credits too, is not been expended for real forestry purposes. Instead this money is spent on purposes which are only detrimental for the health of forests. As long as such disjointed pursuits continue, Kashmir is headed for a sure environmental disaster.
Kashmir Images is an English language daily newspaper published from Srinagar (J&K), India. The newspaper is one of the largest circulated English dailies of Kashmir and its hard copies reach every nook and corner of Kashmir Valley besides Jammu and Ladakh region.