Water is the basic need for any living being on Earth. Water conservation and management have become a hot topic today.
What are we doing about it? Is just using water judiciously and spreading awareness a long term solution? Do we know the reasons behind the depletion of the rivers, frequent droughts, and floods wreaking havoc upon millions of people across our country?
In a country where we symbolize our rivers as goddesses, it is disheartening to see them gradually dry up. The unplanned development, rapid industrialization, and population growth are causing severe damage to the ecology and lives of the people.
We are now on the brink of destruction. We can’t further delay our actions on stopping the destruction of our rivers and help to rejuvenate them.
Most of the perennial rivers i.e. the rivers which flow throughout the year are forest or rain-fed. With an increase in deforestation and cultivation along the banks of the rivers, the soil gets hardened and enough water doesn’t seep into it which causes severe floods in the rainy season and droughts otherwise.
Acting upon an issue of such high magnitude is not an easy task. Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev, the founder of Isha Foundation, had started the ‘Rally for Rivers’ movement to solve this issue.
With over a decade of experience in matters related to the environment and sustainability of natural resources, Isha Foundation focused on solving these problems through this movement.
This rally aims to create mass awareness and garner public support to bring government policy changes for saving rivers.
A solution they came up with was to start large plantations, in strips of length 1km, on either side of the rivers. These plantations would improve the seepage of water in the soil, regulate river flow and enhance rainfall.
The plan is to plant forest trees on government lands and fruit-yielding trees on lands owned by farmers. This would also help the farmers increase income by moving to agroforestry.
This is not possible without government support and it is important to quantify public support to garner government support. Rally for Rivers has been proved as the world’s largest ecological movement today with support from over 16 crore people.
A team of volunteers sought consultation from farmers, industry professionals, select scientists, government bodies and political leaders to put together a draft policy document.
On October 3rd, 2017, Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev presented this document to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The currently popular Cauvery Calling moment is an initiative of the Rally for Rivers.
According to the official website of Isha foundation, “Cauvery Calling is a first of its kind campaign setting the standard for how India’s rivers can be revitalized.
The simplest way to make Cauvery flow again is to plant trees. Cauvery Calling will support farmers to plant 242 crore trees in the Cauvery basin by adopting agroforestry.
This will have the triple benefit of Improving soil health, Reviving the river and groundwater levels by an estimated 40%, Augmenting farmer income through agroforestry, proven to increase farmers’ incomes 300-800% in 5-7 years.”
Although the government provides subsidies and loans to the farmers and encourages agroforestry, it is comparatively costlier to provide farmers with these saplings. This requires huge nurseries. Leasing large tracts of land, transporting huge quantities of suitable soil and creating proper infrastructure involve major expenses.
They have already started this process on a certain scale in Tamil Nadu, but this scale needs a huge push. So, this needs public support and crowdfunding. For every forty-two rupees donated, a sapling is planted.
As this is a long-drawn project, there is always a need for support and active participation to accelerate and sustain this movement.
By supporting this movement and spending just 42 rupees for a sapling could help us save the rivers. This would also benefit the farmers, increase biodiversity, prevent disasters and finally provide a better future for the next generations.
Each rupee you contribute replenishes our rivers and helps improve lives. Lend your hand and save this land.
For more information regarding the movement, visit the official page of the Isha Foundation.