By Rhythm Gupta
It is no secret that human activities harm the environment — rapid population growth coupled with poor allocation of resources results in overconsumption and overexploitation. We learn about complex environmental processes and use them as part of our daily vocabulary — global warming, environmental degradation, mass extinction, ecological crisis, habitat fragmentation, greenhouse gas emission, ozone depletion, acid deposition — the list doesn’t end. Today, these highbrow terminologies, along with alarming statistics, agitate us temporarily and then simply vanish from our minds.
What we need today is empathy and care for our planet, which is dying a slow death. A set of terminologies and statistics cleverly interjected in conversations just bounce off our ears now, and they cannot make us understand the gravity of the issue. We need to respect, nurture, and protect Mother Nature before it gets too late.
If one searches the Web for, “Will wars be fought over water?”, one will be shocked to find many organizations, think-tanks, and writers, answering with a worried “Yes”. A hypothesis covered in the LA Times clarifies that increased water shortages around the world will lead to war among states. Ironically, this shortage was fundamentally initiated by human-created market mechanisms under capitalism that does not provide incentives for preserving the environment.
Although the big industries primarily contribute to emissions and water pollution, the layman also lives in a bubble. The reckless use of insecticides and pesticides in the crops and the illegal injection of oxytocin to milch animals to meet consumer demand are some of the many examples of profit-seeking activities committed by people who are careless about the long-term consequences of their actions.
Another crucial aspect of laymen is the elite group. The privileged turn on the faucet and water spills out, flick a switch on, and their homes are illuminated. They are not threatened by the news of a forest burning for a week in a distant part of the globe, or the news of hundreds of their own countrymen dying of thirst and hunger.
In this background, a book like Dear Earth is the need of the hour. Originally written in Tamil by the wise poet, Avvaiyar, translated by Geeta Dharmarajan in English, and beautifully illustrated by Murali Nagapuzha, Dear Earth is a slice of nature in the form of a simple children’s book. This book reminds us of the importance of Mother Nature without the use of any complicated jargon.
The minimal style of the text is complemented by the detailed graphics that adorn every page. This flawless amalgamation makes this book crucial; it hits the nail right on the head. It is an honest, successful attempt at making its readers realize the sheer beauty and importance of nature. Nature gives and gives and gives; it even bears the horrors of human activities. The world exists today because of Mother Nature. Look around you, the ink in your pen is made of varnish and pigments. The varnish further consists of resins, which, in turn, are obtained from the sap of pine trees.
Clearly, humans have forgotten their roots, the source of their existence: Nature. Consequently, this book is extremely important today; it will not only instill love and gratitude for our beloved planet in young children, but when read multiple times by adults, it will stir a sense of worry in them. With every fresh reading of the book, a new wave of emotion is triggered.
The book is a subtle call for action to preserve Earth, a reminder of the importance of Nature, and a journey of beautiful imagery and thought-provoking words all packed in one. It is a book to treasure, a book that tells us that economic growth needs to be boosted without harming the planet.
Besides, without a healthy Earth, humans won’t exist. If humans don’t exist, will the concept of an economy even exist? So, read this book with your heart and not the brain that is trapped in this capitalistic world. Only then will this book be able to emotionally connect you with your beloved home, planet Earth and help you live an ecologically mindful life!