Once people get their basic needs fulfilled and have sufficient wealth to take care of their family, then they will start thinking about things which they would otherwise not do. Over the past couple of years when I lived in the US and when I came back to India, my only focus was on getting in to farming (organic farming). Hailing from south of India, which is considered as the only place which has a 12,000 years history of round the year cultivation, and also as a person coming from a family which had agriculture as the profession for centuries. There were good times and there were bad time with agriculture, in fact my grand father, committed suicide because of the floods in Kaveri which destroyed all his crops. However agriculture remained as our lifeline and for several reasons agriculture and cows are very close to my heart.
During my research I came across the book Silent Spring (Check more about Silent Spring ). The book was written by Rachel Carson, and the overriding theme of Silent Spring is the strong negative—effect humans have on the natural world. The book was writted 50 years ago and still it is very relevant. Back in the 1950s, american roads were full of elm trees, and a Japanese bug started eating away the leaves of these trees, the scientists and the industries convinced the then government to spray DDT all over the trees. The US government did it, and like the scientists claimed all the Japanese bugs were killed. But the effect of DDT did not stop with that. The leaves that fell on the ground with the DDT spoiled the soil and killed the earth worms. The few earth worms which did not die because of it became dormant, and these dormant worms were then eaten by the Robins. Many robins died because of this, and the few which did not die failed to build a nest, and the ones that built the nest lost their ability to lay eggs, and the few eggs which were laid did not hatch. Thus the arrival of spring which used to be welcomed by the beautiful sounds of Robin stopped. Springs then became silence, a silence created by indiscriminate action of humans for the sole aim on profit and because of the ambitious scientists who tried to alter the nature.
The effects of the DDT did not end there, it entered the rivers and poisoned the fishes, national bird of USA the falcons ate those fishes and either died or lost their ability to reproduce. DuPont and other chemical industries which were affected by the booked, sued her unsuccessfully and even called her a communist and went to a great extent in maligning her intentions. However the people support remained with her and she passed away a couple of years later because of breast cancer. However in India the common folks are still unclear about the dangers of the pesticides used. The pesticides used in India killed the pests initially but along with it, it killed the toads, snails and worms and thereby killing the farmland snakes. The decrease in the number of the snakes substantially increased the rodent count and thereby enormous wastage of harvested food. A stat says that 18% (millions of tons) of harvested food grains are eaten by rodents when our country is suffering from acute mal-nutrition.
The entire eco-system is in balance. The bugs and pests eats, some amount of plants/leaves mainly, bigger bugs eat them and they were in turn eaten by the birds and snakes. Strong pesticides will not only kill this and create imbalance in the eco-system, but also destroy the earth worms which makes the soil fertile and destroy the nitrogen fixing bacteria in the soil. In addition to all these harmful effects they affect us too, these results in quick aging, loss of vitality, impotency, mentally affected babies, cancer and a lot more other issues. Unless we stop and look back at the mistakes we committed and rectify them then not just the spring, the world will become silent.
2000 years back Valluvar said
“ஈத்து உவக்கும் இன்பம் அறியார்கொல தாமுடைமை
வைத்துஇழக்கும் வன்கண் அவர்”
Plants and Trees offer their sweet nectar/fruits to other living beings and make them happy and by making them happy and satisfied the trees and plants proliferate. We should also live a life like that, we should not grow at the expense of other living being but by making other living beings happy and safe. It is our duty to save mother nature not just because she deserves it, but that is the only way we can guarantee a life for our future generations.
When I came back to India, I rented a house which had good space for a Garden. I started experimenting with seeds and organic farming with organic manure and natural pesticides. I was extremely surprised by the yield per sq ft, it was way too high for India (see the pics below). All this without an ounce of fertilizer/pesticide. It is then I started accusing the chemical industry of spreading disinformation, and public officials of accepting industry claims uncritically. The uneducated farmers too blindly go by what comes in the market, it was then the issue of Endosulfan was argued in the Supreme Court of India.
I will eventually get in to organic farming and also will plant 1000 trees with in a span of 10 years. Not because I want to save the planet or Nature (they will survive no matter what), but because I want to leave a place in which my son can live.
I started cultivating things in my garden, like ground nuts, radish, carrot, greens, joyweed, cabbage, palak, chillies, okra, for regular cooking use and fruit yielding trees like banana, papaya, pomegranate and gooseberries and medicinal herbs Brahmamanduki/Vallarai, Thudhuvalai, Perandai, fenugreek and Tulasi. One can definitely realize the difference in taste when we cook organic vegetables. These are rich in taste and also healthy, if you have a garden try gardening it is a useful and a healthy hobby.
I initially used neem oil as a pesticide to remove few bugs and caterpillar. It was very effective however I stopped using that too as I discovered that by loving the plants that we grow we can actually empower them to take care of themselves. I was very upset when the time came to pluck the ground nut plant, so I started growing only perennials which yield vegetables or the greens which keep growing again. I also stopped taking my kid to the hospital for common ailments like cold, flu, virus fever and cough. The herbs that grow in my garden like thuthuvalai, tulasi, perandai, ginger and spices like thipili and pepper served as an effective medicine for him.
I will be going back to the US by next month and will miss the garden and the plants and I will not be able to grow most of these plants as taking the seeds while travelling is prohibited and moreover the climate there won’t be conducive for these plants. Will try to workout something.