Today, many people are concerned about the environment. You just ask even a class 1 student about the issue, and they can tell you a couple of impressive sentences on this.
Along with textbooks, awareness about environment and the benefit of planting trees among children is being raised through the initiatives like World Environment Day, Earth Hour, tree-planting campaigns, and the media’s coverage of environmental issues. These initiatives are especially carried out among those (in our present generation) who seldom get a chance to step out of the town into a forest. Though we are not able to walk through shrubs or watch spring flowers in our daily lives (thereby developing an intimacy with nature), we have developed both apathy and concern for the cutting of the Amazon forests (for instance) and global warming.
But, being aware is only half of the story. Awareness must be accompanied by the concrete action. Unfortunately, being in overcrowded cities, we lack space. Garden are razed and are being replaced with concrete, high-rise apartments.
Due to this lack of space to plant trees, eco-activism among children is often limited to just requesting their parents to reduce the use of polythene. For these children, terrace gardening may be one of the ways out of this situation.
In fact, many apartment societies are acting positively in this direction by encouraging not only flat-owners, but even those who live on rents to put their own flower pots on the common terrace or balcony. In many of these apartments, terrace-gardening is not only about planting decorative plants like cycas, rose, marigold. They are also planting medicinal plants like tulsi, aloe vera, mint and vegetables like chili, eggplant, tomato or peas. These plants offer benefits like keeping away poisonous insects. Their leaves are commonly used for curing common cold and are also powerful memory enhancer. Aloe vera can be used both as an antiseptic and as a cosmetics. It’s believed that consuming it keeps the blood sugar level under check, besides reducing obesity.
Encouraging the children to participate in steps like planting or watering the plants will not only help in promoting the habit of gardening among them – it will also inculcate an intimate relation with nature in these children. This is in sharp contrast to the materialistic side of environmentalism (honouring nature only for its ‘use value’), which they are learning right now.