YOUNG

A letter from the jungle

The forest, capable of meeting our basic needs of food, shelter and fuel, can act as a model of sustainable living for all of us

 
By Pallavi Ghosh
Published: Thursday 16 April 2020
A letter from the jungle

Dear friends,

I live in the interiors of a forest called Saranda, home to hundreds of birds, animals and different kinds of plants. A small group of humans also live with us in the jungle. In my experience, these people are far better than the tourists who come to visit us during the holidays. Tourists litter the jungle with all kinds of garbage. The forest’s tribal community, however, takes care of the forest.

They cut down trees, use water from the lake and forage for food in the forest but they make sure they leave behind enough for other inhabitants of the jungle. However, recently no tourist has come here. A bulbul told me the other day that this was because of a virus that has spread to different corners of the world and made hundreds of humans sick.

The other day, I spotted two familiar faces in the jungle. These youngsters had gone to the city for work a few months ago. They were carrying bags and looked exhausted. I heard them saying that many migrant workers in the city were out on the streets. Although shelter homes and food was being arranged by the authorities and a few helpful citizens, many were struggling to make ends meet. I was heartbroken to hear this and was glad that the two of them had come back home.

In the jungle, things were different. The way of life in the forest is based on the optimum use of available resources. Therefore, it appears that despite the lockdown, it is business as usual for the forest dwellers. Their basic need of food, shelter and fuel is being fulfilled by the forest itself. Almost everyone produces food in agricultural fields and kitchen gardens. What they lack is luxuries. All in all, the tribal community here is better off than the hundreds of migrant workers in the cities.

This is very different from the cities where people are used to excessive consumption. I heard that people in the world’s biggest cities had started panic buying, meaning they had started buying items in bulk out of fear that the supplies will run out soon. The panic was so extreme that shops, retail markets and pharmacies were left with empty stacks within a matter of hours. While few bought extensively, many were left to wait and eventually return empty-handed.

I don’t know how long things are going to stay this way but I am happy that the jungle's lessons on sustainable living have taught our people to handle this crisis better. I hope that someday all city dwellers would also appreciate the value of simple living and practice them in their daily lives.

Yours,
Sincerely
Banyan tree

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