Its the last few measured breadths of a year in passing as I start to pen this. I just take this opportunity to wish everyone of you and your dear and near ones, a peaceful and joyous new year, sprinked in good measure with all thats part and whole of the very best life has to offer, more so peace and joy in bountiful buckets.
Its maybe the right time to go down memory lane over the year that was. Maybe not really. Its more of a time to look forward to the future. Personally though I am looking forward to the Muhurthy trip slated in 10 days time where i get a change to be submberged in sublime ways as I will let nature paint patent truths on my blatantly seeking soul.
With treesouls taking its first steps into responsible ecotourism in ways more than one, there is still a deep tugging of the heartstrings as I struggle with truths hued and transparent. How responsible is eco-tourism really meant to be? Of course, the values are loud and clear, binding and sacred. Of course monetization was never a prime driving force. The intention primarily is to let nature play the main pratogonist and just let it all sink in for the seeking soul to find enlightenmight and consequent discovery of a new path or simply the road not travelled.
Introspection calls for inward journeys that might beget parched conversations with the man in the mirror. When the man in my mirror looks back, he see quite a few things and feel much much more. The images are strong and surreal, almost to a fault. Most of them relate to the Nilgiri Biosphere of the Western Ghats. For instance Masinagudi was a sleepy little town, idyllic bcos of it being in the Mudumalai reserve(320 sq km and shrinking) and bereft of all things modern and sodden. If you turn the page over, today Mudumalai has 44 wildlife resorts in and around masanagudi, or if my math is right one resort for every 7.5 square km. The consequences are frightening. 5500 sq km of the Western Ghats in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu find themselves squeezed on all fronts, leaving the animals in dire need of territorial rights.
Just imagine, over 100 species of mammals, 350 species of birds, 80 species of reptiles, 300 species of butterfiles and innumerable invertebrates all find themselves hemmed for breathing space. One moot point is the real possibility of disturbing important migration corridors of elephants and other mammals. Almost all small villages on the outskirts of the forests are fast becoming hubs of unchecked tourism. This simply shows development in these areas, a progressive term, legally valid might just not be ecologically responsible. And eco-tourism by itself means nothing if little or no light is thrown on the eocsystem of the place that one goes to in addition to area specific policy parameters drawn by the government, a horses for
courses solution really.
While the man in the mirror settles down in pages from the past, I will quietly break free and try to spell out how eco treks as part of the treesouls agenda has a larger purpose in store. Its not just about being part of nature. Its about letting its truths sink in almost like second nature, such as the paramount importance of conservation of genetic diversity of species, exploring the right path towards resoration of defunct eco-systems, understanding animal behaviour
and chipping away at means to ensure sustainable conservation with the local populace in tow.
Once more, happy new year wishes and lest I forget, do chip with your two cents in the comments if you feel strongly about what you have read. Better still, go for a trek in the forest.