Friday, October 26, 2007

Global Warming

Our LOGO & MOTO HOW TO REACH US BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF NATURE PARK






View NATURE PARK KEMPTY FALLS in a larger map


PROGRAMME SUPPORTED BY HOTEL OWNERS OF MUSSOORIE, SCHOOLS OF DEHRA DUN AND MUSSOORIE AND RESEARCH ORGANISATIONS LOCATED AT DEHRA DUN

NATURE PARK, KEMPTY FALLS, NEAR MUSSOORIE INDIA TEL:0091-135-2653400, 0091-9319988666,+919897531965
http://natureparkindia.blogspot.com/
(Contd from my blog:Responsible Citizenship under the flag title Sustainable Tourism)
A GRIM SCENARIO
(Extract of a speech by a great philanthropist on the occassion of the World Environment Day-the bitter truth!!Healthy criticism is constructive democracy and path to progress.)
Having seen the ecological destruction caused on account of indescriminate deforestation and lime stone mining, Dehra Dun didnot get rains for a few years. Drinking water became scarce. Citizens of the Valley, for a change, united and fought together to put a halt to lime stone mining as well tree felling. Above all the Honorable Supreme Court of India realised that Mussoorie was made for 25,000 local residents and say 50,000 tourists per annum..Lo and behold..India in her expertise at increasing population surpassed these figures many fold and then finally, breaks were applied on new construction of buildings and multistoreyed flats which sprung from nowhere!!
All this damage could have been averted had the local people been more aware("educated" in terms of ecology). Moreso, because this is the zone that claims itself to be the "Educational capital of India"!!
An Eco Task Force had to be deployed to control the situation from going out of control. Its Commanding Officer Col. L.T.Parnell was approached in the early 1990's who called a meeting with the heads of schools and discussed the matter at length, Dehra Dun and Mussoorie being a school based economy as well as that maximum mileage could be derived by spreading awareness in these young soldiers who could be trained as, they are destined to be tomorrow's Magistrates and Ministers . "Momentarily" all heads of schools agreed that they would send their students to camps in areas that need them, but soon realised that their students were from affluent families who only wanted Pizzas and Ice creams and stay in Five star hotels when they went out during their mid term holidays!! Good for the schools too as most of them made money from it. The only concept at that time was that trees should be planted so, the schools concentrated in planting "within their respective campuses", and photographs were taken on World Environment Day each year and printed in the local press to show that they too participated and shared concern in the worldwide concern for Global Warming!!
Again meetings were called and pledges taken, but very few good schools came forward. They demanded a common meeting place for school eco activities. This gave birth to Nature Park, Kempty Falls being near the backward officially declared tribal zone easily accessible to both Dehra Dun and Mussoorie which house at least 50 boarding schools where children from affluent countries come. Most of the schools are privately owned and being societies get tax free incomes. So less of time went to imparting "value based education" and more went to impressing their client - the students' parents, by presenting them with Founder's Day celebrations when all school activities come to a halt. Very few school members ever paid any annual membership fees for Nature Park or even bothered to send student groups for the designated purpose to support the Nature Park in fact, some said "Our children come from affluent families and donot wish to mix with the poor students in the villages who live in dirty surroundings!! So our efforts of reducing the urban-rural or rich- poor gap went for a six!! Psychologically too, these students who will become Magistrates and Ministers tomorrow will hate to go to the villages (for whose sake they are trained and paid salaries and given perks by the tax payer-which they donot count as their earnings) one whole generation gone backward in time!!

He further added "I have noticed many vocational institutes are training your young people only to go and serve in bigger cities, this does not help in the development of the state. The government should ensure that their curricullum is so designed that the local youth could earn through self employment and contribute to the development of this state."

The reasons of retarded national development are many fold. One of them is positive, value based and responsible guidance from senior management coming downwards. Schools were opened not by educationists but by businessmen to make money. Only a few good public schools carry the badge of educational institutions and on whose reputation these the "educational shops" prosper.
EVEN NOW THE NATIONAL PLANNERS ARE ENCOURAGING INTRODUCTION OF MORE NEW CARS TO OUR NARROW ROADS INSTEAD OF INTRODUCING MASS RAPID PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEMS. QUITE OBLIVIOUS TO THE REQUIREMENT OF THE ERA WHERE GLOBAL WARMING IS THREATENING HUMAN EXISTANCE!! THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS POPULATION EXPLOSION AND MAN/NATURE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT MEASURES ARE NOT UNDERSTOOD BY MANY AND THE RESULTS ARE VISIBLE ON EVERY ROAD AND LOCALITY WHETHER COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL OR RESIDENTIAL.EVERY DAY CARS,TAXIES, BUSES ETC ARE FALLING OFF HILL SIDES FOR WANT OF BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE LIKE METALLED ROADS WITH PARAPETS WHICH SHOWS THAT THERE ARE MORE CARS/TRUCKS ETC ON THE ROAD THAT THE ROAD CAN TOLERATE!!
The world should think (crazy at may seem) in terms of a ZERO YEAR each for Marriages and Child birth. Each year India adds the population of Australia !! Man has been on Earth some say for 10 million years. I have seen maximum development in the post World War II period till now which is less than a century von Braun's rockets, Atom Bombs dropped on Japan, Man on the Moon, Space stations and Now Colonies on the Moon - Good heavens!! How many times man must have progressed, civilizations must have come up and then destroyed themselves like we are doing now. Perhaps God is scared of his robots taking over the universe that's why he does it-destroys it through the robot himself!! Lets be "smarter" this time out-wit God and apply "Anti Aging Cream" to our present day progress!! Let's fight it out and replenish the endangered species of plants and delay the extinction of certain living beings which have taken millions of years to form moreover, we ourselves depend upon these plants and animals as we are a part of the chain. We need to eat healthy meat and vegetables for lunch and dinner - so have they - plants and animals got to eat healthy fertilizers - got to complete a healthy food chain to maintain our health. We on our part have made efforts which are mentioned below. Come and join us if you agree with our humble approach. There is a lot of room for Eco-Volunteering herein.
NATURE PARKS EFFORTS:-
1) Research with Flex Foods Ltd to identify a commercially viable herb for the villagers to grow with buy back assurance from M/s Flex Foods Ltd.
2) Identification of endemic endangered plants and "connected" insect and animal life with the help of Botanical and Zoological Surveys of India for propagation and in-situ rehabilitation by school children to build the lost habitat for birds and butterflies. Some school groups are shown below.



Mussoorie International School students Left and Centre Dun Intl School


Welham Boys School, Asian School at Bhatoli Asian School at Nature Park
Pheasants of the region:


The Kaleej Pheasant is now found in decreasing numbers
(Courtesy ZSI)
This pheasant and butterflies of this Himalayan region can be used as indicators for the health of the habitat which supports them.


The plants for in - situ rehabilitation have to be matched to the entamology of the region plants which support a particular insect which is the food for the pheasant

MAN IS AS MUCH A PART OF THIS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY AS THE PHEASANTS OR PLANTS AND NEED EQUAL CARE IF NOT MORE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.THE SOONER WE REALISE IT THE BETTER.

3) Creation of tent accommodation for accommodating student groups as well as farmers for hands on training in herb farming to help the local farmers to generate higher incomes
About the herb, as per Flex Foods Horticulturist Dr. Mamgain:

1) Rosemary Orientalis is an aromatic herb which grows at this altitude of 4500 ft above sea level on northfacing lands which is disliked by monkeys, cattle, goats etc and hence "needs no expenses for making fences and has a lower mortality rate "
2) Herb gives three harvests of exportworthy quality which have to be "freeze dried " and must reach the freeze drying unit within 2-3 hours of its harvested time for maximum preservation of it's essential constituents.
3) The herb does not require much care except at the time of harvest. Fourth quarter i.e. in winter the shrub hybernates. It has a life span for optimum output of 15 years (similar to an apple tree equivalent to having an orchard)
4) The lower quality herb is good for oil extraction and this aromatic volatile oil has a long shelf life
5) It is in demand by the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and culinary/food companies as it is an excellent marinate for meat and fish
A separate list of endangered endemic plants is available which matches the habitat needs to support Himalayan birds and butterflies. Saplings of these are to made for insitu rehabilitation in areas designated by the forest department.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:
This program meets with the blessings of all concerned who appear in the photogallery and many more, whom we owe our gratitude.










Governor.S.S.Barnala

Chief Minister N.N.Swami





Forest and Environment Minister Mr.NavPrabhat

Mr Prakash Pant, Tourism Minister,







D.F.O.(MUSSOORIE) MrA.K.BANNERJEE (Above) Mr.N.N.Parsad Sec.Tourism


Distict Magistrate at the Nature Park.
Local Marketable talent to Make Bhatoli A Model Tourist Village.

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The Potato Dance
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This is the collective Farewell Dance

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Responsible Citizenship

TOURISM - BACKBONE OF UTTARANCHAL'S ECONOMY

FROM TRIBALISM TO TOURISM

There was a time when newspapers' reports on the smallest problems had a meaning for our planners.Today these newspapers find their shortest way to the dust bin. Money makes the mayor go!! What fetches money makes sense rest is all non-sense.This today stands for politicians, groups and even families!!Money makes one fly not only in aircrafts but also in the mind!!When money is the ruler then flight must take place ...Have Rocket Will Travel!!..then who would have time to care about Mother Earth? Earth landing becomes difficult till Maslow's maturity level is attained!! This phenomena becomes more painful when it applies to educational institutions and polluting industry and commercial/financial houses alike. Here China has a definite edge over India being better and more strictly managed. Social responsibility should become mandatory for all.

An old saying goes "I complained I had no shoes till I met someone who had no feet". Back in 1986 I went to a Himalayan village with my friends from the UK and was moved to see my friend's wife cry!! I asked why and she said "I can't imagine people can be so poor-look that child has no footwear nor under wear"!! I too felt the same way but was not emotional about it but felt determined to do something about it rather than just talk about it. I soon analysed that there were other factors in favour of this village : (a) It lies close to an already popular day visit picnic spot called Kempty Falls (b) The village lies on the main highway to the pilgrim place Yamunotri and is visible from the highway to all passers by who would carry the messgae accross for this Model Tourist Village's example to be followed in their village (c) This is a picturesque village decorated with corn with a small population ideal for an experiment in CBTDP (Community Based Tourism Development Program) which fulfills the requirements of the WTO Program ST_EP.

The village group against the backdrop of corn

Traditional utensils used for cooking
SO THE JOURNEY BEGAN:

Thus started my lonesome journey. My friends and family thought I was going mad. Pehaps they were and are right.

I made several visits to the village to realise that I was not welcomed there.This village lies in the officially declared tribal belt. Year after year, the village folk were kind to me BUT the moment my back turned they called me names.."This man from the plains has come to rob us of our wealth!!Why DOES he come here?What does he want from us? who does anything or anybody these days till there is money in for him". I started attending their childrens' weddings and giving them gifts.They got even more suspicious.. This effort would take us one step forward and ten steps backwards.


Fed up with their reactions and insults I took help from Anthropologists who suggested that we should make them talk more and more and keep our mouths shut!!. Just ask them questions on what THEY WANT OR EXPECT OUT OF LIFE!! Not surprisingly, they all said "MONEY".

Then came the period of political unrest..Mandal Commission, Rajiv Gandhi's assisination, struggle for a new state till BJP finally obliged us with a new state of Uttaranchal in 2000.

2000 ONWARDS

It again took another 7 years to break the ice with the village people!!

Their deeply imbedded suspicions about "outsiders" though I specially bought a property in the nearby village (outside the tribal zone in 1986 to be called an "insider or local resident"!!) and called it Nature Park.

ST_EPglobalwarming .Why?

ST_EP Sustainable Tourism Eliminates Poverty is a program suggested internationally for developing countries where literacy rate is low, incomes naturally very low, no industry, job opportunities nor export potential of any natural resource.

NATURE PARK: Having seen ecological destruction in the area to an extent that an Eco Task Force had to be installed here obviously showed the extent of lack of awareness in the minds of the people..Responsible Citizens!! Some elitist citizens set up eco groups were formed, which was the need of the hour, to influence the Gandhi family to do something about the damage being done to nature through tree felling and lime stone quarrying. This activity was affectively contained by their timely action.

So started a two pronged approach ST_EP and Nature Park. Let's now come to contemporary times!!

You can follow up the Nature park activities in my blog named "Global Warming". Now follows a "break through story" with the village folk:-

UREKA:The village residents of Bhatoli (5 Kms ahead of Nature Park, Kempty Falls, Mussoorie, Uttaranchal,India) finally understood and agreed to cooperate in the program ST_EP in September 2007. Their greatest hidden talents are at dancing, singing, instrumental music as well as cooking. So started my talent hunt and training followed by stage presentation practices as well as invitations to tourist groups to make it a bread earner for them. Finally I felt I had reached base camp 1986-2007!! 21 years of dedicated hard work for one village!! It's always the first time that is difficult they say!!

In the first month following number of young people stand gainfully employed:-
1) DANCERS: 23 (BOYS AND GIRLS)

2) DRUMMERS: 3

3) CATERERS:- 12 (WOMEN)

4) TENT OWNERS:- 15

5) TOURIST GUIDES: 10

6) HERB FARMERS:- 25

7) SOUVENIER MAKERS: 6

8) SOUVENIER SALES:- 6

9) PROJECT SALES EXECUTIVES:- 10

10) CHILDREN WHO PLAY GAMES TO CREATE THE RURAL AMBIENCE: 30

TOTAL:- POPULATION OF THE VILLAGE:- 175

NUMBER EMPLOYED VIDE THIS ELEMENTARY PROJECT: 130

* NOT TO FORGET THOSE WHO COME FROM OTHER VILLAGES TO SELL THEIR PRODUCTS HERE AS WELL AS THE FARMERS WHO CONSTITUTE THE NUMBER FROM 130-175 WHO SELL THEIR FOOD GRAINS IN THE EXHIBITION AREA.

** WE CAN PROUDLY SAY THAT TOURISM IS THE BIGGEST EMPLOYER AT THE LEAST COST!!

***WE CAN NOW PROUDLY SAY THAT TOURISM BRINGS ABOUT OVERALL CULTURAL UPLIFTMENT IN THOUGHT AND BODY OF MEN AND WOMEN ALIKE. 21 YEARS OF NEGATIVITY AND ONE MONTH'S POSITIVE RESULT !! THIS EXPERIMENT ALSO PROVES THAT PROJECTS OF THIS NATURE DO NOT REQUIRE CONSTRUCTING TOO MANY THINGS IN THE VILLAGE AS THAT WOULD ALTER THEIR LIFESTYLE WHICH IS OF PRIME IMPORTANCE AND SHOULD BE PRESERVED...WHAT ELSE IS THERE FOR THEM TO DISPLAY TO THE TOURIST IF IT ALL GETS CHANGED TO A MODERN TOWNSHIP!!?? INFACT OVER INVESTMENT WILL BE COUNTER PRODUCTIVE.REMEMBER TODAY I DRINK WATER IN THE VILLAGE STRAIGHT FROM THE SPRING "WITHOUT IT BEING BOTTLED"!!GOD GIVEN PURE MINERAL WATER, PLUS ORGANIC FERTILISER FED CROP FOOD!!EVEN THE SHEEP WHO'S MEAT YOU EAT GRAZES ON ORGANIC GRASS!!UNLIKE OUR POLLUTED LIVES IN CITIES WHICH WE CALL MODERN!!

SUCCESS OF THE PROJECT IS VISIBLE IN THE FIRST MONTH OF OPERATION FROM HOPELESSNESS AND UNEMPLOYMENT TO GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT AND FROM TRIBALISM TO TOURISM

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

1) Come and have a lunch break on a day's outing to Nature Park and Village Bhatoli. Lunch and Entertainment costs you just Rs250/- (US $6 approx) if you come by your own transport or Rs.350 if you come by GMVN conducted tours from Library(Mussoorie)

2) STAY a night at the tents at another cost of Rs.250/- per head inclusive of Dinner and Breakfast.

3) VOLUNTEER to (a) promote active participation of the schools, industrial,commercial, and financial houses to spread awreness.(b) In habitat building and building the nursery of endemic endangered plants (c) Help in promoting ST_EP in other villages.etc etc.

Some of our volunteers from overseas(as the Indian spirit to volunteer is yet another story):

Mr. Carson Hatcher (USA)Worked at the Village nursery

Mr. Matt Poxon (UK)At the organic manure pit at IM*

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Lisa(Sweden) Podcast

4) DONATE: Money to help the program of nature conservation and sustainable tourism development. To donate just fill in the amount in the form by clicking the Paypal button below which says "MAKE A DONATION":-









E Mail: natureparkindia2000@rediffmail.com

OR

mailto:ORsharatsindhwani@gmail.com

5) SUGGEST,DISCUSS AND ACT: Start discussions to reach conclusions on better methods to even out the rich/poor gap, rural/urban gap. How humans could be made into responsible considerate and compassionate citizens. How we could unitedly fight for Earth Rights and Control global warming etc via this blog. Think it's your Soap Box at Speakers' Corner Hyde Park

NATURE PARK

Head office: 14-A, Circular Road, Dehra Dun, 248001 Uttaranchal India. Tel: 0091-135-2653400 OR SMS: 0091-9319988666 EMail:natureparkindia2000@rediffmail.com OR sharatsindhwani@gmail.com

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VISIT :

http://natureparkindia.blogspot.com/

for more photos and movie clips