In February last year, NASA announced that the current Earth is greener than it was 20 to 21 years ago! NASA provided the data comparing satellite images from two decades ago last year. Green is declining from the earth — this statement of NASA shocked environmentalists. Many did not believe NASA’s statement. Western environmental magazines and blog sites also came down to verify the information. They were trying to prove that a group of mischievous people in China were behind the over-capture of green in satellite imagery. Satellite photographs are giving wrong information as they cannot catch those tricks. Wangari Maathai environmental philosophy has come forward.
Since 2014, the Chinese government has mandated adequate assembly of greenery around factories. The factory owners did a trick for this. Ranch owners and small-scale industrial authorities painted miles and miles of greenery over a wide area to make the satellite and drone cameras look crisp green. In many cases, the buildings were also painted green. The facts are not false. However, since 2018, the Chinese government has not indulged in these monkeys and deceptions in any way; rather the clever grandfather is fine. China is determined to protect the environment. What is the way? At least seven major cities are shrouded in smoke and smog. Even during the day, anyone has to drive with the headlights on. In China, therefore, tree planting has been going on uninterruptedly for several years. So NASA’s satellite image has not been proven wrong.
Environmentalists are fighting
But how is re-greening possible, as NASA reports? It has become possible because a group of environmentalists are planting trees in silence. Most of these highly dedicated environmentalists are from two countries that have a good reputation as well as a bad. There are many reasons for the hatred of the two countries! But it is wrong not to praise their admirable work! The two countries are India and China. The source of inspiration for both countries is Kenya and the first black Nobel laureate Kenyan woman Wangari Maathai.
In 2017, about 1.5 million people in the long basin of the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh, India, took part in the tree planting festival. They planted 66million trees in just 12 hours a day. India has also applied for the Guinness Book of World Records. In the light of the Paris Agreement, India has a master plan to bring five million hectares of land under afforestation by 2030. China has also added billions of trees to its afforestation project. China is set to turn Liuzhou into a “forest city” in Guangxi province. The city of 30,000 people will be adorned with 40,000 trees. The work of making Liuzhu a ‘city of forests’ is nearing completion. Gradually many more cities will be transformed into forest towns. It can be said that millions of new trees are being added every day in India and China.
United Nations Environment Program
As a result of the United Nations Environment Program’s ‘Billion Tree’ campaign in 2007, 14.5 billion trees have been planted in the world by 2016. In 2017, the movement took the name ‘Trillion Tree’ campaign! Professor Wangari Maathai, the pioneer of The Green Belt movement, is the sole contributor to these advances. Her country is Kenya. The country is already green. However, the activists of ‘The Green Belt’ movement planted 30 million trees. She also empowered 1 million women through environmental movement. Wangari Mathai also received the Nobel Prize in 2004 in recognition of her work. She passed away in 2011.
Wangari Maathai’s death anniversary was September 25. The day passed very quietly. During the week of ‘Climate Action’, the world media was so busy with Greta Thunberg that Mathai’s name was nowhere to be heard! Thanks to Greta for bringing a new wave in the environmental awareness movement, no doubt! The world is sympathetic to Greta as a teenager. Greta was also named one of the 100 most inspiring women in the world in a BBC poll this year. As Greta ages, public sympathy may fall. Apart from that, it is feared that Greta will not be turned into a ‘poster girl’ of romantic capitalism again!
Greta is a poster girl?
There are reasons behind this fear. The year 2020 was declared as ‘World Tree Health Year’ by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Towards the end of 2020 but there is no such response anywhere. Greta was also not seen to play any role. The NASA report comes just days before the devastating fires in the Amazon and vast forests in the United States last year. Looking at NASA’s current image, it will not be as hopeful as last year.
Due to the Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh itself, about four and a half thousand acres of land has become treeless. In the satellite image, the place looks like a green wasteland. From the journey towards Grata’s Silence, it seems that she is probably not well aware of the significance of the year. It is true that horrific hype like Corona has diverted the world’s attention from all other necessities. But this excuse is not acceptable in the case of the forerunners of the active environmental movement.
Although unpleasant, it is true that Greta Thunberg could not get close to Wangari Mathai’s environment thinking. Wangari Maathai was a global visionary project. What is the commentary of her project ‘Multidisciplinary Environmental Justice’? In a few speeches, she mentioned that planting trees is not the last word at all for the global environment, but the beginning. Without ‘environmental justice’, tree planting alone will not be a sustainable system. For environmental justice she spoke of the honesty and fairness of environmental politics.
Wangari Maathai’s environmental philosophy
Wangari Maathai further said that planting trees is easy; there is nothing special about it. The most important thing is to preserve the trees and forests, keep them free from diseases and protect them from extinction. The celebration of 2020 as the ‘International Year of Tree Health’ is the result of Maathai’s environmental philosophy. So in the gap of becoming a Greta Poster Girl, Wangari Maathai should not be forgotten in any way. Not only sound education but her alertness and dedication too are most required. Because, she is not just stuck in the ‘green environment’-thinking. ‘Multidisciplinary environment-justice’ is a mature political thinking and global philosophy on the environment.
Let the living Greta be in the current movement. Our expectation is that she will become an environmentalist rich in basic environmental philosophy like Wangari Maathai.