Ruined rivers and vanishing wetlands

— Sukumaran C. V.

"I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good. Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission. We would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively instead of dictatorially."—E. B. White

Feb. 2 was World Wetlands Day. Wetlands are the lungs of any landscape and they preserve water forever for the human and non human inhabitants. And they are the habitats for many birds like the lapwing and water hen; but they are fast vanishing due to the ‘progress and development’ of the humans. Our unsustainable method of constructing houses and flats first ruined our rivers by sand mining. Now the development projects like the metro rails and private airports and roads widening ruin the hills and hillocks in the villages with the quarrying activities. Almost all the rocky hills are being quarried to make rock sand by crushing and every hillock is being destroyed by earth movers to fill the wetlands to construct flats, houses and business malls. Creeks and rivulets and ponds are filled; hills and hillocks and mountains are razed; atmosphere is filled with dust, and cancer is spreading like wildfire. The irony is that instead of annihilating the present development mania which creates an atmosphere in which humans are plagued with ailments and illnesses; we construct super specialty hospitals augmenting the pathetic condition to which our development has driven us.

Our educational system, completely distorted by James Babington Macaulay, is at the root of making our literate people to forget our own hungry brethren and live in a make believe world of the English educational system brought here to produce “a class of Indians who are Indian in color and blood but British in thinking, morals, ethics, and action.”

Whenever I hear about the days like Environment Day, Earth Day, Wetlands Day, Polar Bear Day, World Sparrow Day etc, a fear that the condition of all the things such days represent are made worst by the greedy human interference grips my mind. According to the WWF’s (Worldwide Fund for Nature) Living Planet Report-2014, the number of wild animals in the world has been decreased by half during the last 40 years!

Biodiversity is the prime necessity for the continuance of Life on Earth, and the humans destroy the very thing which helps them survive on earth. In the first volume of Derrick Jensen’s Endgame, there is a chapter titled ‘A History of Violence’. The third part of the chapter begins thus: “WHY CIVILIZATION IS KILLING THE WORLD, TAKE SIXTEEN. Polar bears: “About half a mile upriver, I came to a very strong shoot of water, from thence I saw several white-bears fishing in the stream above.

I waited for them, and in a short time, a bitch with a small cub swam close to the other shore, and landed a little below. The bitch immediately went into the woods, but the cub sat down upon a rock, when I sent a ball through it,

at the distance of over a hundred and twenty yards at the least, and knocked it over…The report of my gun brought some others down, and another she-bear, with a cub of eighteen months old, came swimming close under me. I shot the bitch through the head and killed her dead. The cub perceiving this and getting sight of me made at me with great ferocity; but just as the creature was about to revenge the death of his dam, I saluted him with a load of large shot in his right eye…I now perceived that two others had just landed about sixty yards above me, and were fiercely looking round them. The bears advanced a few yards to the edge of the woods, and the old one was looking sternly at me. The danger of firing at her I knew was great, as she was seconded by a cub of eighteen months; but I could not resist the temptation.” “The author,” says Derrick Jensen, “a Captain George Cartwright, really the first person to solidly establish civilization on the shores of Newfoundland, then moved toward another part of the river.

“I had not sat there long, ere my attention was diverted to an enormous bear…I drew the trigger…placed my ball in the centre of his scull, and killed him dead….Never in my life did I regret the want of ammunition so much as on this day; as I was by the failure interrupted in the finest sport that man ever had. I am certain, that I could with great ease have killed four or five brace more.”

This is what the humans are doing to all the animals, birds, forests and the marine life as a whole—cold bloodedly,indiscriminately eliminating the flora and fauna that live around us. The animals do have the equal right as we the humans do to live on the earth, but we deprive them of their right to exist either by killing them directly or by destroying their habitats. Then we celebrate Days like the International Polar Bear Day (Feb. 27) World Water Day (March 22) Zero Emissions Day (Sept. 21) so on and so forth.

And emissions increase uncontrollably; water is depleting alarmingly; Polar Bears are on the verge of extinction and wetlands are virtually no more.

Now as the hills and hillocks are also vanishing fast, there is a possibility of having a Hills and Hillocks Day too, I presume.

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