‘We often take convenient view to suit personal greed and quick economic gain when development in the form of urban growth is confronted with nature as trees or forest. We often take solace and in fact-cheat the systems by selling the concept that we would plant more number of trees than the ones we remove. Guilt cannot be wiped out by such posthumous rituals’, says Yatin Pandya, FOOTPRINTS E.A.R.T.H.
Tell us on Ecological balance of the nation.
Forest cover of one third of the landmass is absolutely essential for the ecological balance of the nation. It is of utmost concern that these areas are always under the eyes of the land sharks and with the connivance with the authorities, it then gets sanctioned under the pretext of urban growth and development. The worst part with laws in India is that they can be conveniently manipulated. Growth is misconstrued as development with most political mindsets. As a result it becomes very easy to justify denuding of forests under the self created definition of the development. Array colony area development is the example in case.
Slash and burn has been the age old method to fertilize forest and rejuvenate life. But the micro scale and the legitimate intent ensured that it did not turn into destruction or devastation. Unfortunate part in the present context is the intent. Annual recurrence of the forest fires in Australia has left a big question mark of it being a natural disaster or the manmade phenomenon of reckless campaigners or the careless picnickers. The forest fires of Amazon jungles have pointed fingers to the actions of land development Mafias and Industrial tycoons to consume land and the land produces as primary intent. This is alarming and criminal. We make stringent laws for the tribes living in jungle about environmental protections but the likes of “Veerappan” would scot free.
A call for an ecological transition – what will happen if there is more extinction and disappearance of plants, animals and others species; its connect to the climate emergency.
We often take convenient view to suit personal greed and quick economic gain when development in the form of urban growth is confronted with nature as trees or forest. We often take solace and in fact-cheat the systems by selling the concept that we would plant more number of trees than the ones we remove. Guilt cannot be wiped out by such posthumous rituals.
Tree is not a singular object standing in isolation. It is apart and as such in itself a total eco system. Roots have their role to play in binding the soil as well as nitrogen fixing bacteria in the roots help with composting waste and fertilizing the soil. Not only the release of humidity in atmosphere and providing shade from the heat and warmth; trees also absorb carbon dioxide and remain the lungs of planet to maintain oxygen levels. Least understood dimension of presence of the flora is the other life systems that sustain through them. May it be butterfly, insects, birds or animals? Trees existing for longer time have created its own microcosm- its own ecology and it would have harmonised for the given context. Each type of flower attracts specific forms of insects and butterfly which help in pollination and thereby propagation of the specie. Butterflies, honeybees etc harbour only on specific kind of plant species. Similarly fruit pecking birds and animals help widely spread the seeds. Thus felling these full grown trees is huge destruction to the local ecology and affects many other allied sub systems.
So to take solace in planting some new trees after felling the existing is almost like: ‘so chuhe maarke billi hajj ko chali”; because it takes so much more time for the ecosystem to re-establish itself. Some which remains even irreversible. This is why, as agrarian society in India trees are revered as Gods. We have been nature worshipper and believe that trees are the living being and felling it is like committing murder. We garland trees and nurture them as integral to our own existence.
What is sustainable architecture: for you?
Sustainable design or the green architecture is not the choice. It is integral to any professional obligation. For example, being cured without side effects is what you expect of a doctor. Sustainability is also not the formulae to be applied similarly universally. It is a phenomenon integral to any responsible and contextually appropriate resolution. Sustainability is not to be only conceived from the point of view of climatic comfort or environmental management but needs to be all inclusive of timeless aesthetics, socio-cultural appropriateness, economic viability and structural strength in addition to environmental management.
What about Safety in buildings? What’s so bad about buildings either crumbling away or caught in fire?
Building was supposed to be generation long possession and was built keeping such lifespan in mind. Now the mindset is different. Buildings are designed for relatively much shorter life span, even by expectation. Especially the interiors where like fashion it is expected to be changed every five years. With such mindset, so many construction materials or products are compromisingly chosen for their immediate use rather than long term convenience. This mindset also changes the priority.
Longevity of structure and safety are compromised for economy and glamour. Another factor is that rather than institutional patron the development patron are from market economy and hence profitability supersedes the performance. Even professionals have connived with ulterior motives of the patron and subjugated themselves to unethical practices or irresponsible professionalism. We architects as professionals are to blame for the very primitive formats of construction and training of allied agencies like plumbing and electrification. Most leakages and fires respectively are due to faulty construction details or the practices by these agencies. Higher dependence on mechanised services rather than natural systems has also added to the probabilities of failure much more.