Month: October 2018

From New York to Japan, support grows for Aarey Forest

From New York to Japan, support grows for Aarey Forest

This heartwarming photograph from New York of these wonderful people extending their support to us has given us a much-needed shot in the arm.

Knowing that someone jogging in Central Park on a chilly New York evening is thinking of our struggles to save Aarey makes us realise we are on the right track.

Central Park has an annual maintenance budget of USD 80 million. Here in Mumbai, we can’t even dream of spending even half that amount on conserving Aarey.

In fact, our government is spending to destroy it.

But we also have people from Japan, Colombia and Barcelona letting us know they are with us.

We have people fasting to show us their support.

We have little kids taking our cause to fancy dress contests.

One even wrote to the Superintendent of Gardens objecting to the merciless hacking of trees in Aarey – something many adults didn’t find the time to do.

In this long fight as we litigate, court arrest, plead, argue to let this natural resource be; in the midst of this never-ending chain of petitions, police cases, protests, awareness drives, it is these smiling faces that keep us going.

Yes, development is essential. But it can’t be allowed if it turns this city into a gas chamber.

We have enough brilliant minds that can come up with alternatives to the hacking of trees.

Yet, somehow, this goes on.
Central Park, too, went through a phase of neglect in the early 20th century.

But citizen activists and academicians led a movement to revive it.

Your show of support tells us we’ll get there too.

This is a big shout out to all of you who cared to show your support. A big thank you from the bottom of our hearts and lungs.

More power to you.

-Sweta Ramanujan for Let Mumbai Breathe

Traditional Art To Protect The Traditional Forest.

On 21st Of October, Youth For Aarey Environmentalist group along with WWH Charitable Foundation organized a Rangoli event at beautiful Aarey Forest in Goregaon East.

The main aim of the event was to spread awareness by igniting the creative aspect of the contestants through India’s traditional art Rangoli about the ongoing issue of Aarey Forest Land Scam and the deforestation of the only Green lung Mumbai has got.
The event was at ‘Khambachi Pada’, an Adiwasi ‘Pada’ (Adiwasi Village) situated nearly 10 minutes away from Aarey Picnic Point. The event started at 11 am sharp as it was mentioned in the event description. Another aim of the event, which was to establish a connection of Rangoli Art with Nature was fulfilled as the event took place among giant trees of Aarey Jungle.

 

Aarey forest issue has been a long battle fought between the environmentalist and the state government, yet a large chunk of Mumbai’s population is not aware of the issue or simply is apathetic about it. Addressing the issue, a local group of young environmentalist of Youth For Aarey along with the WWH which is a charitable foundation helping Adivasis, especially women Adivasis from years, decided to take up this initiative to spread awareness through the traditional art of Rangoli.
The event was a huge success considering the participation of the masses along with the creative themes which were apparent at the sight. Everybody, from a child to an adult, enjoyed the event as there was no age restriction for this beautiful event. The focus was also on the Adivasi population as their participation is crucial for the Save Aarey Forest Movement.

Image result for tribals in aarey colony
Despite not having any particular theme, many beautiful themes emerged to show an intimate relationship between Adivasis and nature, especially leopards, which are considered as God by many of the Warli tribals in Aarey. Rangoli based on the coexisting relation of Leopards and Adivasis made by Mahesh Bariya grabbed the first prize in the adult male category as it beautifully depicted the centuries-old relationship between the tribes and leopards in Aarey. (Add who won the female first prize followed with kids section). Apart from prize-winning Rangolis, there were many beautiful rangolis on the show as many citizens of Mumbai along with the native Adivasis were showcasing their talent. The prizes given to the winning contestants were also unique as the prizes were made by the Adivasis.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: outdoor

Judge for the event ‘Madhuri James’ is an activist from Agni and has been teaching this art for many years to professionals. She was really amazed by the participation of people from across the Mumbai City and also from the Adivasis. Initially worried about the participation, Mrs Madhuri James loved the enthusiasm and the creativity of all the contestants at the event. She appreciated the efforts of the volunteers by saying

“Willingness to make this event as eco-friendly and intimate with nature as possible made it unique for the people who came to see the event.”

To summarize, the event was a great medium to interact with Adivasis and understand their living and their problems in this era of deforestation. As many themes emerged more and more people got aware of the situation at Aarey. Rangoli is a great medium to send out a message with traditional and cultural aspect to it, especially in Mumbai. The message given was loud and clear, the need of the hour for Mumbai is to Save Aarey Forest and to protect its indigenous community which is the only natural ecosystem left in this ever-growing city where the terms growth and development are meant only for a short section of the population which is the ruling class.

Image may contain: 12 people, people smiling, people standing, tree, shoes, outdoor and nature

 

 

500 post cards for CM Fadnavis, The young Mumbaikars demand a greener Mumbai.

500 post cards for CM Fadnavis, The young Mumbaikars demand a greener Mumbai.

Our greens are crying hoarse. Today, Aarey Forest the lungs of our city is under threat.

While hundreds of activists have been trying their level best to desist the government from cutting 2700 odd trees while 200 have already been cut and 500 others rest under the axe, for the proposed Mumbai Metro 3 car shed.

But there is light, Schools in the city are not far behind in voicing their protests. After all, who else is most affected from decreasing greenery in this overcrowded city?

St Mary’s High School from Charkop, Kandivali has come forward in voicing their concerns through writing on post cards to the State’s Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis.

500 post cards were handed over to the area environmentalist Mili Shetty from the hands of the Principal Mrs. padma Gudimella.

Aarey, a vast forest that houses variety of wild animals, birds, butterflies etc is a part of Sanjay Gandhi National Park thus a reserved forest.

However today, in the name of development for a metro the aarey is being hacked to a huge extent and future plans draw a very scary picture for Mumbai that is devoid of open and green spaces.

Mili Shetty has been vibrant in her struggle in contributing towards the environment in many ways. Her last effort was in cleaning a beautiful waterbody that had tonnes of garbage thrown by locals . Today the lake has umpteen number of beautiful birds visiting the lake.

Mili is making attempts from various schools to bring out voices in protest to save our vast forest. “Some day, our voices will reach our government.” she says