Bengaluru: "We must commit on this day to “remove the term ‘forest produce’ from our vocabulary,” said Sadhguru today speaking at an event to mark the International Day of Forests. All wood needs must be met by growing wood for economic gain on private farmlands. He said the way forward was for wood-based industries to contract with farmers for their requirement so that the 70,000 crore import of timber may be stopped and the revenue given to our farmers.
Shri. B.S. Yediyurappa, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka; Shri. Prakash Javadekar, serving as Union Minister for Environment, Forests & Climate change as well as Information and Broadcasting and Dr. Sudhakar, State Minister for Health also attended the “Forest to Farm – the Way Forward” event at the White Petals auditorium in Palace Grounds, Bengaluru, along with Sadhguru. They felicitated farmers at the White Petals auditorium in Palace Grounds, Bengaluru.
Farmers from the Cauvery river basin districts of Karnataka who have adopted tree-based farming, the farming model promoted by Cauvery Calling were present at the event. They have been associated with the movement launched by Sadhguru with farmer welfare as a key component of the mission. They were felicitated with the presentation of saplings by the Ministers and Sadhguru.
“We need to change the perception of forests in people’s minds,” said Sadhguru in his address. He said the word “jungle” is usually associated with something disorderly and uncivilized. “A forest means it’s a super well managed system, beyond our understanding of how it is managed.” Sadhguru said that in the last 74 years of Independent India, the issue of increasing forest cover has not been addressed with the kind of significance and importance as in the past few years. Asserting that “soil is the largest reservoir of water,” he described its regenerative and life-giving capacity. “87% of all life on the planet thrives on 39 inches of topsoil,” he said.
Chief Minister Shri. B.S. Yediyurappa acknowledged and congratulated farmers, environmentalists and citizens who have contributed to increasing Karnataka’s green cover by more than 1000 sq km, the highest increase in the country. He spoke about the Krushi Aranya Protsaha Yojane (KAPY) which incentivizes tree-based farming for farmer prosperity and to revitalize soil and water bodies. “I would like to congratulate Sadhguru ji and Isha Outreach on the Cauvery Calling movement and assure that the government will support it in every way,” the Chief Minister said.
“Our job is to ensure that people live better, to ensure physical progress is the job of politicians,” said Shri. Javadekar. “But Sadhguru’s work begins where our work ends; he tells us how to live.” He recalled the old Bengaluru from his earlier stay in the city which was famed for its gardens and trees. The Minister said that in this culture, we worship water and all forms of life including trees and animals. He said rivers have nurtured this civilization for thousands of years. “So our first job is to ensure that we preserve every drop of water that rain brings. We have no right to abuse water.” The minister also addressed the growing incidents of man-animal conflict in which 500 people are killed every year. He said the central government has launched a project to augment fodder and water in forests to reduce these incidents with the help of cutting edge technology to identify forest areas for augmentation.
Dr. Sudhakar said that of the increase by over 5000 sq. km. of forest area in the country, Karnataka has contributed 20% to the increase. He said it was remarkable that the Cauvery Calling movement had facilitated the planting of over 1 crore trees in private farmlands during the planting season last year. “In the name of development and urbanization, we are creating concrete jungles. If we have to live, the water bodies and environment have to be protected. This is not important only on World Forest Day,” the minister said, adding that this has to be a sustainable movement and called Cauvery Calling the “largest global movement” towards this effort.
The event was followed by a press briefing where Sadhguru took questions for the media.
Cauvery Calling is a 12-year mission to revitalize river Cauvery, recharge groundwater tables, restore soil health and make farming an economically prosperous proposition for farmers. It will encourage farmers to plant 242 crore high-value timber trees on their own farmlands for economic gain. Isha has proven the economic and ecological benefits of this model over nearly two decades which has seen farmer income rising between 3 and 8 times.