- Novanita Sharma
New Year Greetings to all.
The eternal flow of time through eons and ages across space and parallel universes brings us another chance in this endless cosmos. Another year for our planet, another year for all living beings sharing this planet with us. While rest of the ‘Earthians’ remain blissfully ignorant about this timeless journey of our universe, for modern human beings this heralds annual festivity of pomp and gaiety. This seemingly harmless celebration of routine celestial movement of our planet showcases the desperate strivings of our essentially materialistic human world. These celebrations unmask the biggest failure of human beings, it is our inability to resist the temptations of material benefits. The shallow celebrations of our world, devoid of any purpose, any introspection prove our foolishness. We have chosen delusional existence when our intellectual and spiritual capabilities had provided us scope of truth and enlightenment. Human world has proved very efficient in setting targets, goals, and agendas but we have not shown equal deftness in delivering these goals. This is especially true with regards to our responsibility towards our environment, forests, rivers, mountains, and other living beings. The repeated failure of the mega environment events like global climate summit and other international / multi nation models in delivering environment solutions for the planet proves the lack of conviction on our part to act, even in the wake of a foreseeable crisis. The governments of giant polluters like USA are failing to tow down to the desired industrial emission rates and other environment standards because people across the world are still far from the mental state of awareness and commitment in ensuring a green future for this planet, a safe future for the next generations. Our leaders, and people who make the leaders are not yet ready to sacrifice their political, economic supremacy for the sake of environment and the common good of this world. This lack of harmony among human beings has held us back from firm universal response to the global ecological crisis facing humanity that is affecting everyone across economic, social, regional, and racial differences. Every million-dollar environment event will fail to deliver, until we educate our minds and hearts and come together to spread environment education amongst all. The world leaders can never bring the change, this change must take place through change of minds. Education of minds is most important; it is perhaps the most important segment for any environment education model in today’s date. Environment education is still in the nascent stage; for countries struck with poverty, economic & political instability it is a distant dream. But if we do not act now, our difficulties, our agonies will grow manifold; our inaction will rather contribute to greater sufferings. The most important is the way environment education is designed and implemented in different countries, despite all inequalities an environment education model based on mind training is hope for the future. The ancient Indian wisdom and knowledge gives hope to the world in this direction. India is the land of great minds like Sakyamuni Buddha, India is the land from where the knowledge of mind spread to rest of the world. Ancient India was the first country in human history to have implemented law and edicts for protection of animals & forests; rulers as well as common people of India practiced compassionate coexistence with forests and environment as part of their tradition. This Indian tradition and ancient knowledge have been borrowed by the modern-day wildlife conservation ideology, but this modern-day model has not been able to combine it with the desired mind and heart training. A very good example of ancient Indian knowledge in modern environment education is seen in Nature’s Beckon’s student’s program titled “Ahum Basudham Krit Mangaljanak”. This program empowers the minds of students with the oath ‘I am beneficial for the Earth’. This gives positive affirmations to the young minds to grow up with firm commitment to be responsible towards themselves and towards the environment. This unique environment education program is bringing a new wave of hope in Assam. Nature’s Beckon has contributed immensely through its 4 decades long journey in the field of biodiversity conservation. The organisation has inspired true social change in Assam; its undeterred advocacy, environment activism and continuous spread of green literature has led parallel literature, intellectual and spiritual movements alongside the dynamic biodiversity conservation movement in Assam. Nature’s Beckon has implanted the thought of forest protection in the psyche of common people through the organisation’s ‘protected areas’ movement in Assam. The organization has led the most exhaustive environment awareness & environment education program in Assam since its inception in late 1970s to the 21st century. This 40 years of whole hearted efforts by Nature’s Beckon to protect the native forests of Assam and NE India, preserve the rich biodiversity of this region has led the greatest humanitarian movement in Assam, Nature’s Beckon has sowed the seed of peace amongst all. The turn of 21st century has found a new rising in Asia in the form of more resolute and stronger India and at the same time we see a rising political will for protection of forests and wildlife in Assam. The jubilant announcement of zero Rhino poaching in 2022 in Assam by the Chief minister Sri. Himanta Biswa Sarma signals a positive shift in governance towards wildlife conservation in the state. Assam recorded zero poaching of endangered Rhino for the first time in nearly 45 years. This reflects a strong political will for wildlife conservation in Assam. This political will however have not risen overnight, the public psyche and social situations permissible for this political will has been generated in Assam through years of hard work and advocacy by organisations like Nature’s Beckon. The people of Assam have guarded the natural heritage of Assam for all these years, organisations like Nature’s Beckon have empowered the Assamese society with awareness about the importance of biodiversity conservation and forest protection during the most tumultuous and violent period of Assam. While Assam was burning with political turmoil, Nature’s Beckon kept the flame of hope and peace alive with its steadfast efforts for the protection of native forests of Assam. Organisations like Nature’s Beckon has been the lone sentinel of peace and progress of Assamese society. This unusually dynamic journey of Nature’s Beckon is an inspiration for the entire country, social change takes place under committed leadership with perseverance and vision. The model of biodiversity conservation movement led by Nature’s Beckon in Assam has successfully contributed in bringing an effective socio-intellectual change in Assam. The ‘Ahum Basudham Krit Mangaljanak’ environment education program of Nature’s Beckon launched as part of the celebration of completing 40 years of the organisation in service to the cause of biodiversity conservation sets a lead for meaningful celebrations in our world. As the year unfolds unknown vistas, challenges, and opportunities for all, let us not undermine the possibilities of making a difference in this world with our genuine efforts for preservation of our forests, rivers, mountains and protection of wildlife and wildernesses around us. Every day is a celebration if our minds are aware, our hearts are pure and we strive for a purposeful existence. Wishing everyone a purposeful year ahead, let our actions be inspired by compassion and led towards peace.