Required: A Fine Balance
I studied under the Maharashtra State Board (SSC). We studied about the yurts used by the kirghiz and the kraals used by zulus. But the 'geography' lesson on Mumbai was missing. It's made up of 7 islands and a few lakes, is all I can remember.
I think it's important for us to be aware of the environment we live in. Only then can we be concerned when it comes under attack. The Mahim 'nature park' for example was inaugurated by Prince Charles some years ago. It is some kind of 'secret'even to Mumbai residents. One needs a permit to enter it.
Coming to the environmentalists saying "I told you so." While Bittu Sahgal may have raised genuine apprehensions in the case of the Bandra-Kurla complex development, it's also true that environmentalists have kind of lost credibility for opposing everything.
When the Pune expressway was being built environmentalists were concerned that some species of rabbits and butterflies would be affected, if I remember correctly. I think the Expressway has done much good for the environment simply in terms of fuel conserved.
Environmentalists successfully stalled the building of a badly needed second airport in Mandwa. Perhaps their objections were valid - but some kind of alternate plan B needs to be suggested instead of a blanket "do not go ahead".
Environmental protection cannot be only about protecting crows. It has to explain why protecting crows is beneficial to human beings. And giving human beings a better environment than the vast slum Mumbai has become also needs to be included on the agenda of the 'environmentalist'.
And the same goes for conservationists - not all old buildings deserve to be saved. Let us strive to achieve the fine and necessary balance between past and future. Protest is welcome, but so is progress. And the twain has met in other nations. If we apply ourselves, we can do it too.