This post is written by Aakriti, a guest blogger for the Geography Awareness Week Blog-A-Thon.
Aakriti is in class nine of The Hyderabad Public School in Hyderabad, state Andhra Pradesh in India. She is thirteen years old and finds joy in dancing, listening to music, swimming, reading, writing and speaking. She is learning the classical form of dance called Bharatanatyam as well as the Kerala martial art called “Kalari”. She finds special interest in the subjects Chemistry and Physics.
It was a lovely afternoon in early November. Mild sunshine, the smell of fresh mud, and a light warm breeze blowing the hair off our faces. The car ride from my house to Uncle Praveen’s farm was an experience in itself. One of those rare days when you feel God’s own palm sheltering our delicate lives from any harm…in short, it was a perfect day for a little exploration.
This was the day following the Indian festival Diwali. Diwali is known as the festival of lights. In India it is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and fervour, not to mention every kind of fire cracker ever invented on this planet would not fail to make an appearance on this festive occasion. This undoubtedly leaves a thick layer of smoke clinging on to our earth in a tight embrace. No… Not here, far away from the buzzing city and its pollution. As we approached the farm all of us rubbed on some mosquito repellent to keep the flies and mosquitoes off our tender delicate urban flesh. Our group compromised of our family friends, Mr. Praveen Kumar (whom we fondly call Uncle Praveen), my parents, and sister and of course the prejudiced narrator, me.
Uncle Praveen’s paddy farm was spread across four acres. The land was primarily used for cultivating rice or paddy. Uncle also cultivated vegetables, like sweet potato, beans, ladies finger, egg plant, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, cucumber, carrot and spinach, as well as cherry tomatoes among others, and a few seasonal fruits. The farm was previously a brick kiln, but that’s not what makes it unique or special. What makes it special is the fact that it is a completely ORGANIC FARM with no trace of chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
Walking around the farm and listening to the various techniques and new methods that go into organic farming while munching on a delicious ripe cucumber, I couldn’t help but wonder about how much of a difference it could make if all farmers all over the globe abandoned chemical farming and took to organic farming. For one the soil and water would be much purer. Our Geography text books and teachers tell us so much about pollution – the causes, the consequences, the sort of impact small things like segregating waste could have! Isn’t it our responsibility to do our bit for this environment? The planet that we all are so proud of, do we really want to see it polluted. Do we really want to see all the birds and animals in the zoo to get extinct? Do we want to see innocent people get killed by natural disasters and climate change? Of course not!! We may not care about everyone and everything in the world but we can and we must do something for this world at least out of concern for ourselves.
At this rate we might be the victims of the next natural disaster or maybe impacted seriously by something similar. The Christopher Columbus’ and Ferdinand Magellan’s of the world have physically explored a lot, but how many ordinary people are thinking about making this a better place to live in? For me that is what exploration is. It may be called invention or discovery when an alternative non polluting fuel is found, but I call it exploration. Exploration that will not find a spot on a world map instead would have a lasting impact on the environment, for generations to come.
The sight of a beautiful butterfly snapped me back to the present. There were so many insects on the farm. I was really shocked that plants could flourish with so many ‘pests’ around. Uncle Praveen explained that not all insects harm the plants. Certain insects actually eat away the pests so they help the farmers. Chemical fertilisers kill even the ‘good’ insects. In fact in a natural organic farm it is good to have some insects because they do not cause any harm and add to the soil fertility. Another new lesson I learnt-don’t just kill anything and everything you find, as they could be helpful. The objective of an organic farm is to have as many living creatures co-existing harmoniously.
After taking a good look at the entire farm we decided to walk back to the gate. We were given fresh coconut water that instantly quenched our thirst. Someday I decided to do a little exploration myself. Uncle Praveen has explored a little more in the realm of organic farming and has done his bit for the environment. Let us support such people with good intentions and reduce our carbon footprint. As I watched the glowing ball of fire sink slowly, in the sky, I saw a ray of hope… Maybe it’s not too late to save the blue planet.