Childhood in a Diminishing Ecological System
Stories captivate children’s imagination and if these are related to parents or grandparent’s childhood days then they have an invigorating effect on the juvenile mind.
As a kid, I grew up listening to the stories of my grandparent’s child hood days, their enchantment with various stakeholders during their adolescent and youth period.
Unlike me, who has only friendship option with the human beings or the digital world, they have many associates in their younger days.
Grand father used to say a lot about his summer vacation adventure in the mango orchards, plunging in to backyard ponds to catch fish, diving into the nearby river streams in the scorching afternoon sun, chasing the calves in open grass fields, beating the drums profusely to drive away the monkey flocks to protect the vegetable vines from being destroyed and many more such hyper activity stories that entice me throughout the days.
His stories not only included frenzied and hysterical moments but also had serene, placid and tranquility moments of silently listening to rhythmic sounds of Black-hooded Oriole, contemplating the countless raindrops touching the edges of the leaves making them dance in showers, feeling the cool breeze while staring at the translucent river flow that shine with the sun rays.
The anecdotes of grandfather’s young days silently pose question mark in my mind, that why I hadn’t such narratives of my own life! Instead, my account is confined either to video games, cartoon channels or few friends playing dull games in the basement of our apartment, unlike earlier generations playing in open grass field, giving opportunity to all the sense, to feel and perceive the world around them! Since those kindergarten age of listening to the tales, I could feel the blank canvass within me, waiting to be filled with colors like climbing trees, diving into ponds, testing different fruits and nuts from wild forest, chasing the baby animals in the backyard and more such fun loaded activities.
This wish of mine, cleverly poised my inner self with question that aroused inside in subtle manner, dexterously interrogating the conscience with regard to the gap in the prevailing surroundings and atmosphere within two generations.
Limited understanding, unable to provide satisfying answer thus making the query vanished into oblivion.
This self-conversation mode of mine related to eco-system and environment got a rejoinder, when I happened to get the chance to read the 16th edition of World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2022.
This report analyzed risk from societal fractures, materialized through persistent and emerging risk that the global leaders and experts in different field perceived to occur in the coming future.
The imminent risk, the world leaders perceived coming in near future, are related to health of planet in terms of, occurrence of extreme climate events, biodiversity loss, human environmental damage and failure of climate action.
If these suppositional, unpredictable and risky events are coming to happen, then it would prove to be catastrophic for our eco-system, the foundation of existence of human civilization on earth.
One of the important risk, assessed by the world leaders is the occurrence of extreme climatic events that is presently happening very frequently.
Prolonged dry period, incessant down pour within a short span of time, extreme temperatures and excessive wind speed etc.
are generating forces that have ponderous impact on the plant and animal species, pushing them further to the verge of peril.
Synchronically the human expansion mode in terms of setting up of habitation, factories, industries and practice of commercial agriculture etc.
are further downsizing the environment, accumulating greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, legitimizing the forces to cause destruction to the existing ecosystem.
Ecosystem, the underpinning ground of human society on the earth, provides enumerable services that makes life possible on earth.
The provisioning services of the ecological surrounding makes it possible to get food, fodder, herbs, water, fuel and many more such daily essentials from the neighborhood.
Healthy nourishment of the society represents existence of healthy ecology.
Along with the provisioning services, the ecosystem provides, supporting services and regulating services to the humanity.
Under supporting services, it creates a system that helps to maintain life on this planet.
Photosynthesis by the leaves, nutrient cycle, water cycle, soil formation are some example of supporting services of environment.
In addition to the above two services, the regulating services of the ecology helps to balance and maintain order, in the environment to sustain life on the globe.
Presence of mangroves in the coastal zone arrest the harsh cyclonic wind speed and storm surge, multiple roots of the trees protect soil erosion, helps water percolation and recharge of ground water table, bacteria decomposing the waste material making it fertilizer for the plants, bees pollinating flowers are certain examples of the regulating services of the ecosystem.
The above discussed services of the ecosystem are related to the survival and sustenance of life on earth.
Another service that specifically targeted for the human cognizance development is the cultural services of ecology. It helps human creativity, promotes cultural behavior, encompass religious practices, regenerate recreational performances and help individuals to seek higher values in life.
It is well known fact that nature has been the inspiration for creation of many music, art, architecture, culture, sports and celebration of festivals adding spark and color to human life.
Ecosystem varies throughout the length and breadth of the earth, depending on the geographic positioning and topography of the region, but one thing is common to all the ecological environment is that, they are very vulnerable to climate change events.
Global Risk Perception Report 2022, also perceived climate action failure is the prominent concern as it would accelerate the forces, emanating destructive agencies for the ecosystem.
History shows human beings are the smartest animals on this planet, as they can perceive danger from distance and plan accordingly for their survival.
Hope, this time also history repeats in saving life, livelihood and ecology.
The expectation of the younger generation is that; human being as a whole must respond to the warning signals, expressed in the form of slow withdrawal of ecosystem services from the habitations. We expect, humanity as a race make trajectory shift where anthropocene activities recharge and rejuvenate the ecological environment so that the development and sustainability go hand in hand, as it has been the case since the beginning of humanity. This will create opportunity for the children to learn directly having interaction with the ecology rather than the prototypes. There is only one planet and we must act now.