Has June 5 become a symbolic gesture?

SAMHITA BAROOAH

June 5 is back and human connect with nature is moving against time. We are living in some strange mirage of unlimited abundance which is as intangible as life itself. It is a growing trend these days that nature can be only enjoyed through artificial parks, water bodies, audio-visual documentaries and a few safari rides in restricted wildlife parks. Children are planting trees in schools, employees grow money plants and pot plants inside their workplaces, some college and university students debate, resolve and swear to safeguard environment and state authorities showcase huge advertisements about awareness on safe environment.

In reality we are disconnecting ourselves from nature. We live in concrete jungles inside regulated boxes which doesn’t even have space for natural light, air or water. We have huge air-conditioned public spaces in the name of development which consume enormous amount of electricity, fossil fuels and emits carbons. We travel in pollution causing private vehicles which have hazardous fumes, emissions and noise intolerant to human existence. Our food consists of similar tastes, textures, flavours and monotonous processed varieties which are artificial, genetically modified and distant from local and seasonal biodiversity.

Our bodies are restricted and regulated by antibiotics, hormones, vaccines, pain-killers and anti-depressants which fortify our cells, tissues and bones against natural hazards and epidemics. We are no longer finding livelihoods lucrative enough to sustain, regenerate and restore nature but we are hallucinating a more secured livelihood in destroying and degenerating nature.

In fact nature is the most critical equalizer. During Tsunami, earthquakes, landslides, floods, hurricanes and cyclones, nobody is spared whether they belong to any class, caste, gender, tribe, race, religion or nationality. Disasters affect all in equal terms. Some people make the best of such disasters while others are swept off their grounds. Nature has always challenged the most dynamic and technologically advanced human innovation in recent years. All weather indicators, seismic zone analysers, soil and water testing equipments and injected and oral vaccines fail to assess natural disasters, health epidemics, pest attack, human accidents and conflicts. However human supremacy over nature have had mixed results. The moment human beings rejoice their authority, control and domination over natural forces with advanced technology backed with sound policy and strategic public action, nature reigns above any such human endeavour. In fact nature tries to connect with us constantly through its diversity, seasonality, variability and organic associations. But human compulsions of convenience comfort and compatibility disconnects from nature with disastrous impact.

In this conjuncture of nature versus technology, can we live in coherence with natural ecology? Can we relieve ourselves and our bodies from being slaves of artificial products, chemical contamination and abusive energy use? In our daily hassles of micro politics and cultural constructs of class, ethnicity, gender and caste can we downplay the craze towards individual ownership of natural resources? Can we collectively replenish nature, habitats and ecosystems and regenerate every life form? Nature does not exist in isolation. It is an extremely fluid context as every organism’s habit, habitat and survival defines the natural space around it. Adaptation is not only a trait for human beings but nature also adapts to human interventions. Sometimes such interventions benefit nature but mostly it disrupts its pace.

Can technology adapt itself according to natural processes, needs and transformations? Nature does not wait for human adaptations. Human beings rather have to wait for natural adaptations. Human resilience of nature has unbound impact on the cultural, social and ecological intricacies. Such resilience of natural forces is not an essentialist approach for a particular section of society on the basis of geographical location, community, gender or class but it becomes a matter of identity and political construction. Human beings need to realise their natural nexus as a part of nature not as an owner of nature. May be human woes due to natural disconnect could be adequately contained.

Samhita Barooah

Samhita Barooah

Samhita Barooah is a Researcher and Travel Writer.