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Eco-friendly village to save green cover

The Times of India, New Delhi, Friday, November 15, 2013
Correspondent : Faiz Rahman Siddiqui,
KANPUR: At a time when the threat of climate change induced by global warming is looming large over our eco-system, the local environmentalists of Etawah have come up with a noble concept of making villagers aware about the benefits of plantation to save the shrinking green cover.
The forest conservation movement called as 'Green Village' concept, which has been recently acknowledged and forwarded to 196 countries by an international body, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, is being led by Prabhat Mishra, assistant director, National Savings, Etawah. Mishra has been motivating villagers to save the forest since past eight years.
"The 'Green Village' concept was developed by me in the year 2005. Under this model, a village is selected and each family from the village is made aware and educated about the disasters of deforestation and benefits of afforestation. At least one member of each family is being asked to do plantation of a plant of at least one specie in his/her surroundings," said Mishra.
In this way, not only the people's participation would be ensured but percentage of green cover area will also be increased, he added.
'Green Village' model is equally helpful in controlling species from getting extinct, desertification and deforestation. This will be helpful in sustainable development, bio-diversity conservation, water conservation, soil conservation and bio-sequestration, informed Mishra. "We are living in a world which is under 'transition and transformation phase' of energy and is facing the problem of climate change. Trees are the 'best natural sinks' of CO2 and will help to tackle the climate change," said he further.
Over the years, deforestation has resulted into major loss of biodiversity. "Man's intervention has speeded up the deforestation rate. An estimated 18 million acres of forest are lost each year according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation," said Rajiv Chauhan, secretary, Society for Conservation of Nature. He is also a part of the 'Green village' campaign.
The causes of deforestation are industrial agriculture, shifting cultivation, urbanization, population growth, desertification, selective destruction and habitat destruction, he added. According to IUCN's Red List, habitat destruction is universally the most dominant threat to biodiversity, he said.
According to World Bank data, for the 70% of the world's poor living in rural areas, agriculture is the main source of income and employment. Due to increasing population pressure, villagers are paying more attention on crop cultivation than on afforestation.
This situation will increase deforestation and will disturb Oxygen evolution and Carbon dioxide consumption ratio in the ecosystem; ultimately adding to climate change. It is estimated that about 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation. Such practices and activities are not environment friendly and are un-sustainable.
It is the fact that without remedial measures, the current living 'biological life forms' will collapse, Chauhan added. Deforestation can only be checked by applying afforestation strategies through maximum participation of local communities. "One such grass root level strategy can transform the whole village into 'Green Village'," he said further.