It’s a dead tree,’ I told my cousin as we walked through what is often referred to as the ‘lungs’ of Bangalore, Cubbon Park.
I’d been to the park many times in my childhood. On Sunday mornings, we’d get up early to get some fresh air, exercise our stiff muscles, and sip on nariyal pani .
Walking through Cubbon Park is always a nostalgic and comforting experience . It takes me back to the time when, as kids, we’d ride on the small toy train that ran through the vast green space.
But here was a dead tree, a picture of the macabre, calling out for help. It had either died a natural death or was chopped down for lack of better maintenance.
It lay there like installation art… But now life was imitating art and not the other way around. And it was making a statement…
It was telling people to take care of the world we live in.
When I visited Bangalore last weekend, the temperature got as high as 38 degrees Celsius. This was the hottest I had ever experienced in the Garden City. It reflected how quickly its green spaces are eroding.
Most cities nowadays have become so congested with new developments, malls, and multiplexes, that there’s little room left for open green spaces. And the ones that are left are often neglected, with few new trees planted and no change in the landscaping.
The dead tree stirred the philosopher in me.
It made me question urbanisation and what it had done to us. We no longer cared for ‘a walk in the woods’… We’d rather be mall rats, scurrying through cement and glass, scouring the latest collection of jeans or watches or phones.
Or we’d prefer to be ensconced in the melodrama of movies …where two to three hours of make-believe keep our brains numbed and our behinds glued to our seats…where mind and muscle need not be exercised.
And the tree made me realise how infrequently I walk amid the greenery of parks…how spotting the odd squirrel or resting under tall bamboo trees has become a luxury .
Have we given up the ‘real’ luxuries of life in our quest to lead ‘rich lives’?
Are the green spaces increasingly elusive, or is ‘living rich’ just a life of more consumerism?
Then it dawned on me: The nostalgia I felt was not for a lost childhood, but for the experiences that we’ve freely given up.
We could easily bring these experiences back into our lives. We could indeed return to innocence…if only we stayed closer to nature…and nurtured nature just as it nurtures us. The benefits of a green living are many. Here’s how to add more green to your life…
1. Follow the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Reducing consumption is probably the simplest way to a greener life. Before you shop for anything new, ask yourself if you really need it. Reduce your consumption of paper and plastic. Reuse what you can instead of throwing it away. Recycle old clothes and newspaper.
2. Save energy: Water, electricity, and fuel
Turn off. Turn off. Turn off. From water taps to electrical switches to running cars, save what you can when you can. Every little bit helps
preserve the environment and save the planet for this generation and the next.
3. Plant more: Indoors and outdoors
Indoor plants add oxygen to the environment. They help us focus better and calm our eyes too. And outdoors, gardening can be therapeutic and helps connect us to nature. The government now also allows you to plant trees. An entrepreneur I met who runs a cab service told me his taxi drivers plant one tree each month to help reduce the damage of any emissions.
4. Revel in nature: Take walks and stay fit
Do away with wheels and cabs altogether if you can. Increase your footsteps and reduce your carbon footprint. There’s nothing like walking: It clears your mind, brings you closer to nature, and keeps you fit…all at the same time!
5. Make the ‘right’ choices: Sustainable and eco-friendly
From taking cloth bags to the supermarket to buying organic foods…from printing less paper to using carpool services…’thinking green’ and ‘living green’ is about making conscious and sustainable decisions. It’s about taking small steps toward environmental change and living a truly rich life that brings us closer to ourselves and nature.
Cubbon Park, where I saw the dead tree, has introduced ‘open streets’ every Sunday morning. No cars are allowed to ply, and citizens can walk, run, and jog freely. It’s a concept that has caught on in most cities…an initiative that brings out the child in us, keeps us active, and provides an alternative recreation option.