Friday, October 24, 2008
The BJP MLA sets out daily, on a morning walk that takes him to a diffferent locality each day. The walk keeps Mr Ramdass fit, physically;and helps him stay visible , politically.It is a two-in-one idea that ought to make every other politician wonder,'why didn't I think of this'.
Mr Ramdass has a bunch of people walking with him, even at 5.30 a m. His pre-dawn walks attract media attention. Neighbourhood residents await him with petitions and grievances. Municipal officials pay attention because they believe MrRamdass has CM's ears. This is not padayatra; it's power-walk, by a man who knows how to
use his position.
Friends of Roadside Trees believe Mr Ramdass can help push the green agenda during his morning walks.
1)Mr Ramdass can plant a sapling in every neighbourhood he visits; and appeal to residents to plant saplings on roadsides and other vacant public space in their
A tree-less patch on D Subbaiah Road, Devaraja Mohalla. The lone roadside tree was planted by a school boy living across the street. A pat in the back and word of praise for the boy by Mr Ramdass during his visit to this street (behind Rotary School) would motivate others.
2)The CM's aide, who admits to being religious minded, could promote the idea of devotees offering saplings in puja at their neighbourhood temples. The saplings blessed by the deity could either be planted on the temple premises or at one's own backyard.
Related item - Celebrate life; sponsor a sapling
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Let us forget the communal strife in Orissa for a moment and look at a natural calamity the state faces repeatedly. Frequent tidal waves and the soil erosion caused by them endanger the lives and properties of lakhs of people along the 480km shoreline of Orissa.
IIT Chennai and some other agencies are studying this issue and have reportedly submitted some preliminary recommendations. In the meantime, the Orissa Government has approached the Central Government for financial support for a Rs.7000 crore project to save the coastal villages from the ravages of the sea. The main focus appears to be on building protective walls along the shore.
There could be a far cheaper, more effective, eco-friendly and profitable project to prevent soil erosion. My suggestion is to try planting Morinda citrifolia (Noni) along the coast. This plant, which is endemic to
How do plants prevent soil erosion? When rain water runs off to lower levels or waves recede to the sea, they take away loosened soil with them. The stem of trees and the roots mitigate the erosive force of flowing water, thereby preventing soil being carried off. The native plants are best suited for this.
Copyright reserved. Click on photos to enlarge.
Significantly, Morinda citrifolia (Noni) is also known as Indian mulberry and Beach mulberry. It tolerates saline and secondary soils, can withstand drought conditions and grow well on sandy beaches. It can attain a height of up to 20 feet and serve the dual purpose of preventing soil erosion and acting as a windbreaker. Normally stem cutting is used for propagation. The planting distance is about 15 feet apart. Once introduced, it will start growing wild.
The benefits of planting Morinda citrifolia are not confined to protection from coastal erosion. It is actually considered to be a wonder plant with immense medicinal values.
And, in less than two decades, the Noni (Morinda citrifolia) products, particularly the juice made from the fruit, have turned into a business that is worth billions of US dollars! By planting Noni (Morinda citrifolia) along the coastline the country can, apart from preventing soil erosion, capture a major chunk of the fast-growing Noni market.
Additionally, greening such a large area would help in reducing the carbon levels. And, it does not take long to feel the impact. Noni starts yielding in 18 months and has a productive life span of around 40 years!
The only negative point is that during flowering time the plant emits a foul smell.
Why not give it a try, at least in small stretches?
Read more about the plant at:
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Have you herd of the term “Urban heat islands”? Next time your old uncle complains of rising temperatures in
Urban tree plantations are important UHI mitigation strategies. So, what
There has also been a lot of talk about “Green highways” in the developed world. For example, see http://www.astm.org/SNEWS/SO_2008/bryce_so08.html. In the Bangalore-Mysore region, we seem to be taking a few steps backwards…by replacing our tree-lined highway with a cemented four-lane “hot”way.
These informative research articles might interest some of you:
These informative research articles might interest some of you:
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
And,above all,it speaks of community's indifference to such violation of public space. The green patch in front of the Maharaja's high school, a heritage building on the tree-lined JLB Road,had once seen better days. The company that undertook to landscape this patch has evidently lost interest.
The municipal authorities (or is it MUDA) that take care of parks and public spaces that could do with landscaping appear to be unaware of the state of neglect or uninterested in doing anything to give a face-lift to the frontage of a heritage building.
This picture, of a sidewalk in San Jose, California, gives an idea of what is possible by way of landscaping even a narrow strip.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
I am new to this very interesting and active group. I am thrilled to know that there are people like you going around actively planting trees in your neighbourhoods. I would like to share a few scattered, random notes. I have carried these notes in my head for years, and I feel like sharing it with you since you might be able to appreciate them.
I have been watching trees all my life. Due to this, I have developed this strange gait while walking...head tilted up slightly, with very little attention being paid to where I put my next step. I have often tripped, stepped on muck and bumped into people. My landmarks across Bangalore used to be trees...and I rarely remembered street names or other features. In the late 90s I moved out of Bangalore for a decade. And when I came back, I could not find my way around my home city. They had chopped down that lovely old Butea on 15th cross. Where were those Acacias on the way to school. Even those lovely temple trees in our neighbourhood gardens were gone.
Anyone who watches trees, cannot help but note the differences between our cities w.r.t trees we plant along the roadsides. New Delhi is one of my favourite urban zones. They have such lovely, tall native trees planted along the roads....Kusum /Sagade (Schleichera oleosa), Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), Amal Tas/ Kakke (Cassia fistula), Jamum (Syzygium cumini), Mango (Mangifera indica) and many others. Such native trees are home to many more animals compared to exotics (i.e., from other countries) such as Eucalyptus, Australian Acacias, Rain tree, African tulip tree which we have planted along Bangalore/Mysore's streets. A native tree has food to offer to our insects. These insects in turn are fed upon by several birds and mammals. Our natives have lovely flowers (Kakke, Flame of the forest etc), many provide wonderful shade (the list would be endless) and are easy to grow. Yet, urban forestry in Karnataka is monopolized by exotics.
More recently, as part of my work, I have been studying forest trees in the Niligiri landscape. For this purpose, I had to collect seeds and make seedlings of several native species common in the Deccan plateau (see picture). It has been a wonderful experience getting familiar with these lovely trees of our forests. I have given away most of my seedlings to interested people in and around my study area. If any of you are interested in procuring and planting such natives in your streets, you can buy such seedlings from the Keystone shop in Masinagudi or Mavanalla. These are villages on the road to Ooty, and these shops are located on the highway itself.
If you want some inputs about how to identify and grow such native trees, I am always available. There is also vast quantity of literature (mostly contributed by Britishers who lived in India) on how to grow our trees.