Rally For Rivers: The Vital Link Between Forests and Rivers

image of a riverDid you know that 65-75% of your body’s composition is water? Water is an element that we cannot survive without. We can fast for weeks, not sleep for days, but can die in 3 days if we don’t drink water. The problem is that our planet has less drinkable water as the years go by. Besides water pollution due to industrialization and farming, deforestation plays a major role in its scarcity.

Forests cover 31% of land areas of the planet and are home to 80% of Earth’s land animals and plants. Unfortunately, in today’s world, forests are disappearing. It is estimated that 46 to 58 thousand square miles of forest are lost each year – this includes the destruction of 17% of the Amazon forest over the last 50 years. If this destruction speed continues, rainforests could disappear within a hundred years.

So, what are the main reasons behind deforestation?

  • Clear-cutting for agriculture
  • Construction and development
  • Unsustainable logging for timber
  • Degradation due to climate change

Why care?

Our forests play an important role in our planet’s overall health. They are part of a perfect cycle that when disrupted can bring the planet out of balance. Some of the effects of deforestation include:

  • Loss of habitat for millions of species. Between 4,000 to 6,000 rainforest species go extinct each year.
  • Climate change: Forest soils are moist, but without protection from a sun-blocking tree, they quickly dry out. Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning water vapor to the atmosphere. Without trees to fill these roles, many forest lands and rivers can quickly become deserts.
  • Removing trees deprives the forest portions of canopy, which blocks the sun’s rays during the days and hold in the heat at night. When this happens, it gives way to extreme temperature swings that are harmful to plants and animals.
  • Trees play a critical role in absorption of greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. Therefore, if there are less trees, there are larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere. This translates into an increased speed and severity of global warming.

Our planet tries to communicate with us about the damage that is being produced to it through strong tropical storms, wild fires, flooding, extreme temperatures, Arctic ice melt, among other unfortunate natural disasters. However, most of the population still isn’t aware of these messages.

Rally for Rivers

image of a man standing in a rally

Fortunately, there are some ways to slow down deforestation such as planting new trees, managing forest resources and eliminating clear cutting. There is a movement called “Rally for Rivers” that fosters tree plantation to counteract the dangers of deforestation. It was created by Sadhguru, a man whose endeavor is to help people become aware of reality and reconnect with their inner selves. He has brought this tree plantation movement to the whole of India and many other countries in the world to create awareness of how deforestation is depleting India’s rivers and how it will deplete the world’s rivers if no measure is taken to stop it. Therefore, this movement is for everyone who drinks water. It gives us the information to do something and empowers us to share it with more people, so we can keep our rivers flowing and leave a land that is rich and well, which, at the end, is the best gift anyone can offer to future generations.

For example, the transformation in India is startling and only raises red flags for the rest of the world. Twenty-five percent (25%) of the entire country is now turning into desert; Godavari has lost twenty percent (20%) of its land area to new desert conditions, Kaveri forty percent (40%), Krishna and Narmada sixty percent (60%).

“All rivers in India are at a dangerous level of depletion,” says Sadhguru, who spearheaded India’s Rally for Rivers campaign in 2017. “In another fifteen to twenty years time, they will be seasonal, they won’t be perennial. The time has come when [asking], ‘how to exploit the water?’ is gone. We need to see how to regenerate the river.”

Like a lot of rivers all over the world, the rivers in India are forest-fed, meaning they’re the result of precipitation in wetland areas which then accumulate into bigger and bigger bodies of water, feeding streams into rivers. So to ensure a river’s health, Sadhguru recommends a one-kilometer wide forested area along one or both banks of the country’s rivers to create precipitation and keep the rivers from drying up. In the case of privately held farmland, Sadhguru recommends tree-based horticulture, like fruit or date trees, instead of ground crops like potatoes.

“We can enhance the farmer’s income three to eight times in a matter of four to six years time.” But Sadhguru warns it won’t be that simple. “The farmer will need support, economic and material support. We must give them subsidy. It requires resolute political action, definitive action is needed.”

rallyforrivers.com                     sadhguru.com

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