Kashmir’s Ecological Crisis

Our states ecology or in other words natural environment is so diverse and fragile that at occasions we as human beings feel lost within the diverse flora, fauna and other features of biosphere. Our dense forests, snow covered mountains, beautiful valleys, fresh and sweet water lakes, gushing streams and lush green pastures make any stranger to feel of being in the middle of heaven. We privileged inhabitants of this beautiful place have been honored to explore and utilize this heavenly abode and its eco-system for our survival and subsistence. Very few tribes and communities are bestowed with such a great honor and we are really the privileged ones.

As we know the basic principle of ecology is that each living organism has a relationship with every other element that makes up its environment and ecosystem is a continous interaction between organisms and their environment. So mentaining a balance in our ecosystem is  directly related to survival of mankind and other organisms and the quality of life and habitate. Ecosystem is an integrated network where organisms are connected by a food chain or foodweb.So any tampering with this fragile system will lead to disasterd commonly know as eco-crisis among scientific faternity.

In the whole subcontinent for last many decades we are on the war path of development bothering least about our atmosphere, environment and eco-system. And our state is no difference. We have explored and exposed our natural resources and reserves to its maximum; rather we have over exposed them. The whole canvas of our ecology is getting more and more defaced with every passing day. The concept of development we are following through mechanization and industrialization has proved counter productive and is lacking essence of sustainability. Development is a key to economic health but development by over stressing ecosystem leads to disaster. We have every right to be on the path of development but averting disasters is our foremost duty.

State of Jammu and Kashmir has to be on the path of development to have a viable economy but we have to be choosy while pursuing our agenda of healthy economy.

Our state being ecologically sensitive has to encourage only few sectors of economic growth which are eco-friendly and we have to walk a tight rope of ecological balance.

Tourism, horticulture and handicrafts are few sectors which can be explored and taped to have a sustainable economy in our state. Tourism has been the backbone of our economy since long and has a long history of evolution. Our beautiful state has been attracting people from far off places for centuries and thus an industry was evolved, providing bread and butter to a good number of people. The recent economic growth and boom in our vicinity has shown a phenomenal growth in over all tourist traffic over the period of time. We were also able to upgrade our infrastructure to have our share but lot more needs to be done on this front. The real contribution to make more and sustainable harvest out of this vital sector will be to conserve our ecological setup in its shape and form. Our main tourist attractions need an eco-friendly approach for the long term survival of this industry. We can showcase the eco-tourism products where we have complete monopoly, but we have to be honest and show zero tolerance while handling our ecology. A good number of high-end tourists, domestic as well as foreign have shown keen interest in our concept of eco-tourism, enriching themselves spirituality with pilgrim tourism, rejuvenating on our golfing destinations amid lush green meadows in the vicinity of hills and lakes , enjoying adventure tourism, and the serine beauty of our valleys, pastures and lakes. But this all needs harmony; Harmony with our ecology. We as inhabitants have to safeguard our eco-tourism potential from the cruel hands of selfish people and save our water bodies, forests, streams and pastures, which will guarantee our survival and a sustainable economic opportunity. The over enthusiasm and greed has endangered and degraded several jewels in the crown of our tourist destinations, but the loss is not irrevocable yet. We should stand as a community and thwart all nefarious designs of people with myopic vision of development through short cuts. Our water bodies and other water resources can lead us to sustainable prosperity. Frankly speaking we have to be clean, honest and sincere with tourist industry and make it a forceful industry where ecology can be made to lead us to prosperity and self reliance.

The horticulture sector in our state has its own history and its evolution has a relation with tourism. The commercial horticulture was initiated by foreigners while touring this place. And if really we study the horticulture scenario in this region our monopoly in certain products of this sector is quite evident. I need not to remind learned audience over here about the role of plants in food chain within the ecosystem as you are all aware of harvesting solar energy by plants through photosynthesis, incorporation of matter into organisms, decomposition and biogeochemical cycles. So this sector is working as an important link between ecological balance and contribution to sustainable economy.  Horticulture has been providing a good support to our employment generation program since long and contributing a lot to our economy; encouraging this sector will lead economic revolution through the path of ecologic stability. Our climatic conditions does not provide ideal atmosphere for industrial growth but give a congenial atmosphere to certain horticulture crops. We need to explore this ecological bestowment in favor of our sustainable economic march towards prosperity. The commercial floriculture, medicinal and aromatic plant cultivations are some other sectors which can give boost to our economy and strengthen our ecosystem. This sector needs a face lift on modern but eco-friendly lines and then our people can harvest the crop of sustainable economy.

The handicraft sector involves least intervention with ecosystem and contributes to our economic growth significantly. This sector if explored properly on judicious lines by infusing a sense of honor and pride within the artisans will have a great impact on concept of sustained economic march with negligible ecological intervention.

Dear friends,

We have a road map of our prosperity and economic well being laid down by Almighty. We had been placed in a climatic zone, atmospheric conditions and ecological shape which are quite unique and different. We had been given a place on earth were only eco-friendly economic jumps can be made completely in agreement with nature and any deviation will lead to ecological crisis and endanger our whole ecosystem.

There can be many more ecological explorations and expeditions for economic wellbeing of our state other than what I deliberated upon but let me remind you of the road map laid by nature and our foremost duties.

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