The conflict between man and nature has been going on for many decades now. We, the humans want to develop our nations, reach heights never achieved and in this process, we are destroying nature. To counter our acts, nature retaliates in forms of global warming and natural calamities. But this is the conflict at the surface level. Many subsets within this umbrella need to inspected and solved.

Project Name: The Garden of Learning
By: Tejashree Karande

©Tejashree Karande

Though many of us live in urban areas,  some communities live within the protection of nature, even today. These communities have a  symbiotic relationship with the forests, the rivers, and their ecosystems and depend on forests for their livelihood. These tribes over the years have developed various indigenous methods of preserving and using forest resources. They do not exploit the forests but return everything to it.

The last few decades have shown this recurring loop where the younger generations don’t carry forward the indigenous knowledge.   This results in less dependency on forests for day to day activities resulting in reduced awareness of the forest’s value. These young kids migrate to the city for work thus breaking the chain of passing down of that knowledge.  They feel the forests are now useless and hence degradation and deforestation occur in such areas. It is necessary to break this loop by generating awareness about the importance of forests and reviving the lost practices of these communities.

©Tejashree Karande

As people living in urban areas,  our perception of nature protection is forest resources, but that is not helping the forests to flourish. A give and take relationship has been established over some time and we need to rejuvenate this relationship and cycle of nature.

Mumbai has an opportunity to develop a method to generate a connection with nature as it has a large National Park in the heart of its suburbs. It is the largest forest to be situated in a city.  The park provides a buffer for the city people from their routine and also acts as the lungs which are necessary to control the air quality around.  Since it is the largest green cover in the city, a lot of tourists are attracted to weekend activities in the park.  The impact of the intervention will be more as it has an association with different people from the city and also people within the park.

©Tejashree Karande

‘Children connected with nature are more likely to be interested in their environment, will want to enjoy it and save it – now and in the future’. Evoking awareness among the people for forest lost in an urban context, through a participatory program, by education, will benefit in reversing the process of degradation of forest and revive its value. It is necessary to imbibe these values from a young age as it will nurture the children and build their attitude in that direction. The solution for the conflict needs to begin from the root of the problem.

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