Apoorva Joshi

PhD student - Information and Media; Environmental Science and Policy @Michigan State University

Independent journalist -

Environment, Science, International

Conservationists reduced...to mere specks..

Coming back to our previous topic of the "lack" of funds for NGOs and individual conservationists who put everything they have into their work, the situation has just turned sadder. How is that possible? Well, welcome to India!
Sadly, our people are accustomed to being outspoken. No, thats not the sad part. The thing is, they are outspoken about everything. One should realize when to keep shut and when to blurt out stuff. We are all very good at making statements. But hardly any of us are capable of giving them any justice. When Project Tiger and Project Crocodile were launched, the enthusiasm and dedication were in volumes! With time, they died down in most people's hearts and multiplied in others'. But with time, the graphs showed drastic changes. Both projects reached a peak at one point of time, and today, both stand at a miserable edge, with the fear of losing the very species they were initiated for!
There are, today, countable people who are working endlessly, day in day out, so that the Tiger may get one more day to live. every day. Even fewer people who are working for the mythical creature, the Gharial and sadly even fewer (if that's possible!) who know what a Gharial is! We teach our kids everything. We teach them that if they do bad things, God will punish them. This very fear of "God" leads them to grow up into being ardent worshippers. But then again. We only say- don't do bad things. We usually forget to add- but that doesnt mean dont go and do good things! A child needs to be taught from the very beginning, that plants, animals and the child himself are all inter-related. That respect needs to be inculcated. Tell a kid- that money is best spent if you donate it to a charity or a church or temple or whatever! And the kid never knows that had he donated his first savings to an NGO serving Mother Nature, maybe the kid himself, will see a new day, every day. Otherwise, as the Tiger keeps going, so will our kids... so will we. We will end up with a shameful reputation if we leave our future generation a world without glaciers, clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, trees to give them oxygen and protection, and forests and animals to keep them save and healthy. And believe me, i really dont think we will have a chance to anything then! The dead dont get second chances!
So while we have the time, make good use of it. Tell climate change, that our brains have woken up finally. And we choose not to bow down!
Any organisation which is slaving to pull these animals out of death's dungeons, should be patted on the back and goaded on till those dungeons close for millenia to come. Whether the organisation is small or large, doesnt matter. The work it is doing matters. Whether one stands up and raises his/her voice against the poaching of animals, or steps out and gets hands on experience of studying some spectacular species, or simply sees to it that the rampant corruption in the administrative departments of the country is reduced and eventually done away with, it is ALL credible work!
We stand today, get up and go to work, sleep peacefully, eat well, while one tiny group of people is out there. Fighting. If not for the ethical reason that we ought to conserve our biodiversity, then for the selfish reason that we , ourselves, get to live. Those of us who sit on a couch, watch TV and criticise the Forest Department, should one day, take a hike and go see what it is to patrol Kaziranga National Park on foot and have gun fights with poachers who are far better armed than any of the Forest Officials. These people should try spending an evening in an evergreen forest just listening to the forest and its inhabitants communicate. These people should remember, that while they sit and grow fatter by the second, these guys, work their asses off to see to it that the country retains at least some of its respect. Yes. There is corruption. But, there are also these gems that out their lives on line for that one golden cat or that one Crocodilian, who, if not helped today, will never be around, to help.
So if you are a couch potato, get up. Go out, smell the air. And if it smells pathetic... clearly, you know how the future looks. Dream. Of waking up and going out and smelling fresh, clean air and looking over clear, blue water.. but remember. Dont let the dream remain a dream. Do something. Put your foot forward. Join the revolution. Turn the specks, into stars. Every Conservationist deserves applause and needs to know that he or she IS making a difference, for the better...
For, if we stay still today... Tomorrow is a decade away..

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