In this very turbulent century, 14 species have gone extinct, according to the Christian Science Monitor. These range from big cats, to birds, micro-bats and fish. No species should be assumed to be so adaptable, that it will survive habitat decline, climate change, disease and urbanization. Infact, the need for letting areas rich with wildlife be, is key to everyone’s survival today.
Sattal-one of the many lakes in the Nainital cluster, in Uttarakhand, is in danger of ignoring such science. The Sattal ecosystem is extremely rich in biodiversity. Now, there’s a recreational plan that includes a children’s park and a viewing point. This will obviously need development, including re-designing some current land reuse. Such a plan forces us to ask if children ought to be removed from natural wilderness and placed in an infotainment zone? Second, why is the ecosystem not being preserved so that tourists are able to enjoy its unique gifts?
We curse the heavy tourism in popular national parks, but we don’t allow for other nature-hotspots to flourish.
Infact, the existing tourism should be ‘greened.’ The carrying capacity of any area is limited before it collapses. Why is Sattal being fattened for the slaughter?
The Himalayas have seen their own recent crises too. Today, every small, forested patch on the planet must be kept intact in this battle for human survival. Let’s re-think meddling with Sattal. Why fix something that’s not broke?
The writer is the founder and director of Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group