If you’ve checked the newspaper headlines lately, politicians and what they’re talking about is no more the dominant subject. Fortunately or unfortunately, headlines about flood, landslides, displaced people and damaged properties have taken over the front page. If you’ve been following the news, you know that many people have lost their lives and millions worth of property to these disasters. Is this their fate, or their deed?
Natural disasters don’t kill people, but lack of preparation and failure to adopt proper measures to curb up with it does. Every day, concrete buildings are replacing trees, agricultural lands are prepared to feed the growing population. Nature heals itself, but if human activities keep on picking at her wounds, then it can be destructive to humans more than herself. Maybe this is just Nature’s way of holding on to its wild and natural identity, which makes it all the more urgent to recognize the problem and take steps to prevent the ill-fate.
Trees play a vital role in controlling the disasters. For example: if we calculate the amount of oxygen we breathe during our life span and compare it with the price of oxygen cylinders we buy in market, then it is worth millions of dollars. Yet we are getting it for almost free of cost, in exchange with the carbon dioxide that we exhale, thanks to the trees. Not only that, trees control soil erosion, landslides, flood and minimizes the overall effect. Moreover, the ground vegetation also plays a vital role in controlling rill or sheet erosion. Mangroves trees in the coastal area has helped to reduce the effect of tsunamis. This is a small case which shows the importance of conservation of nature components.
What happens when natural disasters strike? While disaster prevention messages are being circulated in various media and other outlets, response capacity during disaster is still not well developed in our country. Many organizations and youth groups have been organizing charity programs to contribute relief materials to the victims. But the activities are still not enough in contrast to the magnitude of damage. Victims have already been displaced and have to suffer the loss of their loved ones and property, furthermore, they have to go through the additional pain of poor relief amenities.
Different organizations work on the field of Disaster Risk Reduction but still it has not been stretched to the vulnerable areas. Although early warning system has proven to be an effective tool in saving lives and properties, its accessibility is still limited. But awareness about such situations are still lacking and have to be taken into consideration: the probable victims don’t want to transfer to a safer zone from high vulnerable areas because of their emotional attachment to the place. This increases the risk of the situation by multiple times.
Individuals themselves are as much responsible before and during such circumstances. The blame game will carry on, but we should always remember that Nature doesn’t discriminate, and if you can’t take care of it, then she will return the favor.
So, look around, don’t wait for June 5 to plant a tree or contemplate on the importance of preserving your environment. Take care of the environment as much as you would take care of yourself.
After all, a small step for nature, a giant leap for mankind.
With inputs from Dipesh Gurung