Need a mass movement to conserve forest, says minister

New Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave on Wednesday said that a ‘Jan Andolan’ — mass movement — is needed for regeneration of the forests and nature.

The minister who advocated a Gandhian way of life for ecological sustainability at the recently held COP22 at Marrakech in Morocco, pointed out the need to relate with nature.

“We need to relook at our relationship with land, soils and forests — first empathise and relate to nature if we want to minimise our carbon footprint,” Dave said at a conference ‘Securing the forest, land and soil’ held by think tank Club of Rome.

The minster said that the understanding for nature is in-built in our DNA and added, “If we are to deal with the issues of today, we should make regeneration of forest and soil a Jan Andolan.”

Depicting some challenges that Indian mission of sustainable lifestyle faces, the think tank said, “India needs some 1.5 Indias (in terms of biocapacity, resources etc.) to sustain itself, up from the 0.3 or 0.4 India it needed at Independence.”

Even though the per capita ecological footprint is modest, due to its population and size India as a nation has the third largest ecological footprint in the world.

“The challenge for our planet is that when population will cross over nine billion by 2050, 50 per cent additional power, 30 per cent additional food and 50 per cent additional water would be required,” said S. Ramadorai, Chairman of Indian National Association for the Club of Rome.

He added that India is among 12 mega diversity regions of the world, holds seven per cent of the world’s biodiversity and supports 16 major forest types, and yet sustaining all that is an area of major concern for us.