In this day and age, everybody is aware of the urgency and need for more forest cover. We all know what needs to be done to reduce our carbon footprint. However, for most of us, it stops with only talks and discussions when we meet friends or in social gatherings.

As a matter of fact, it is not possible to live in a city and be totally green, for even the tires and tubes of a cycle have a form of plastic in them. To actually make a difference, one needs to leave all the addictive luxuries of urbanization and surrender to nature. To nurture nature and in return let nature nurture all around it.

A group of friends from Hyderabad, who have been training in numerous skills of sustainable living with nature for close to a decade, are now preparing to live a life completely surrendered to nature without harming it. They intend to live a life free of automated machines that need any form of fuel or electricity.

To bring a halt to modernization or industrial development is not possible with the constant demand from the ever-growing populations world-wide. However, they believe that they can strive to achieve a balance between nature and urbanization.

By creating self-sustaining forests with lots of rainwater harvesting structures of different types, we will not just help in reducing pollution as forests cleanse the air but also bring a big change in water levels for vast areas in the periphery (about 50 – 100kms) of these forests. Moreover, an increased forest cover not only brings more rain but also affects the general weather of the surrounding areas.

They have been training in mud house building, carving spoons out of wood, mud/clay utensils, growing edible plants in sync with natural plant and tree cover and discovering traditional ways of preserving seeds, food, and lots more.

They seek assistance in the form of land to bring into reality their vision. They seek a minimum of 100 acres of land. Here, they plan to build a few mud houses to live in, an acre for growing edible vegetables, plants, trees and medicinal plants for their survival and the rest of the land would be designed according to the topography of the land for a self-sustaining forest.

“According to the terrain and topography of the region, a design will be created with regards to where lakes/ponds should be created. After this, a detailed analysis of native tree and shrub species will enable us to decide on the varieties of trees and plants we would sow all over the land to make it a self-sustaining forest. Further a number of contour bunds and soak pits will be made all over the land for better absorption of every drop of rainwater,” said Farzaan Merchant, co-founder of the online community, To Nurture Nature.

This prevents the topsoil from washing off and causing floods due to streams or rivers being suddenly inundated with more water than it can hold. The water that soaks into the soil will over time improve the water levels for numerous villages or towns around such a forest.

“We seek support from governments and all those groups that share our vision. We want assistance from individuals or organizations that could partner with us to give back to the very nature that is the reason for our existence on this beautiful planet,” added Merchant in anticipation of a positive response from various state governments and organizations.

When the forest cover begins to grow it will start to attract numerous birds, insects, flying bugs, butterflies, reptiles and other animals that are native to that area or that migrate in nature.

The group does not wish to earn any monetary profits from the forest. This will leave the forest untouched, pristine and dense. This way, the forest and the animals that call it their home will joyfully thrive, while we live in it as it’s guardians, watching over them protectively

Rifa Deka

Rifa Deka is based in Guwahati and she can be reached at: rifadeka@gmail.com