The Earth Guardians Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu Crew Needs Your Help!
Written By Vishnu Priya, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu:
A couple of months ago Jaya Lalita, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, began giving out orders to proceed with the couple year old plan to widen the Girivalam road. The reason being that the road wasn’t big enough for the thousands of people that walk around the sacred mountain every full moon and the plan was to take ten meters off each side. She also mentioned that it would give jobs to lots of dependent folks. This news broke lots of hearts. One of the sacred groves (Sonagiri forest) by the road that would have to be cut, is centuries old. This would damage the habitats of many animals there, including the endangered star-shelled turtle and Pittas who migrate all the way from the Himalayas for refuge in the winter. Some of the tamarind trees by the road who are as old as Sonagiri and would also be cut down. These trees are not only very old but also provide shade and shelter to sadhus and homeless families who live on the sidewalk.
On the first of July at 6:30 am we went to protest by making a human chain around the forest and sitting in the middle of the road. When the bulldozer came to bulldoze the trees some people climbed on it and began shouting. The media arrived and began to interview and take photos. “We are not here to protest against the government, we just want to protect the forest,” said Sangeetha – a mother in marudam farm school.
Police arrived on the scene and ordered the people of the road. The protesters refused to move until they agreed not to cut the trees. The argument went on a while, until the police man called his boss who agreed not to cut the trees until they settled things out at the Collector’s office.
The Collector agreed not to touch the forest for a few weeks, which gives us more time to raise awareness about the harm this project could cause.
It brings tears to so many eyes to see trees being killed so heartlessly. “It takes thousands of years for trees to grow and seconds to destroy them,” says Kavi Priya – a fourteen year old marudam school girl. What’s more many homes will be destroyed from concrete houses to bird nests. Something has to be done and will be.
We began taking action by making a petition calling to hault this project. In only three days we have reached approximately six thousand signatures. If you would like to sign, click here: https://www.change.org/p/please-do-not-cut-the-trees-on-the-girivalam-path
You can also check out this amazing project: http://www.theforestway.org/greening/fpark.html
“The water in the moss covered stone pond stands silently, undisturbed
by fish and falling leaves, until a tadpole wriggles up to the edge,
touches the air and races back down to the dark bottoms. Some stray
wind enters the world of silent people, hollow and lonely. The leaves
wake up and start clapping to a beat lost in neat, uniform disco
beats. Birds and insects weave in and out of the song, like stiches;
finally forming a beautiful embroidery. The moss covered stones, the
water, the fallen leaves, the soil all listen quietly. The mosaic leaf
ceiling shades the forest, as it silently sings on,”
—Anonymous Marudam School Girl