“The symbolism – and the substantive significance – of planting a tree has universal power in every culture and every society on Earth, and it is a way for individual men, women and children to participate in creating solutions to the environmental crisis.” – Al Gore, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner
Mangaluru: Global warming is something that scientists and environmentalists across the world are warning us about. Experts tell us about the grave changes that could occur in the future unless we protect the environment. The best way to protect it is by keeping it green. The government, City Corporation and other agencies are doing their part in transforming Mangaluru City into a greener city by planting trees. Every individual also has to realise his or her duty to protect the environment for future generations. And there is one person in the city who is very much determined to make Mangaluru a “Green City”, by sacrificing his time and energy for the betterment of the environment- he is 70-year-old environmentalist K Krishnappa, hailing from Chanarayapatna, but presently residing in KHB Colony-Bondel here.
I had the opportunity to meet Krishnappa during the “World Environment Day” celebration at Government ITI for Women, organized by Hotel Taj Gateway and Govt. ITI on 5 June 2015. On this Day-June 5 Every Year, Everywhere, and mostly Everyone celebrates “World Environment Day”. This year United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) made the biggest global call and mobilization for action on “World Environment Day (WED). The theme for 2015 was how the well-being of humanity, the environment and economies ultimately depends on the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. The evidence is building that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet can sustainably provide.
It was indeed a kind gesture of Krishnappa K- a local environmentalist, who after seeing the news in a Daily newspaper that “WED” was being celebrated at ITI, had come to the programme with a bunch of saving the environment signs, and also two jackfruit saplings to be planted in the ITI Campus. For his interest and concern towards the environment, the organizers made him one of the guests of honor for the function. Krishnappa also recited some slogans about awareness on Environment, which was followed by the planting of two jackfruit plants. After the programme, I had a chat with Krishnappa and learned more about his dedication and concern towards making the world more greener. Next day, he stopped by at my house, with four plants (jack-fruit, Mango, Nerale (Jambulu), Chikku) and planted it in our compound.
It is nice to note that World Environment Day (WED) which is United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment is supported by organizations like Hotel Taj Gateway and Govt. ITI for Women. By observing WED, it will like a ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponentially positive impact on the planet. The WED theme this year is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care” is aimed at the well-being of humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy, ultimately depend upon the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. Every Action Counts- Everyone should realize the responsibility to care for the Earth and to become agents of change, just like K Krishnappa.
A retired employee of Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd, Krishnappa after his retirement has taken up many initiatives to preserve greenery in the city. He has taken part in various awareness programmes in connection with environmental issues. Apart from involving in environmental projects, he has also taken part in blood donation camps, Cross Country Walks, Marathons, Yoga programmes, awareness programs on the use of plastic bags etc. On 8 June 2010, he participated in the “Green Run” organized by Yenopoya School- the theme behind this Run was to protect the environment by planting trees. Krishnappa for his active involvement at this old-age in this Run was presented with a memento/award from Minister U T Khader.
Krishnappa had also participated in a programme at the Karnataka Fisheries Development Corp.-Mangaluru on 11-13 July 2010. This programme was regarding how to maintain, care and usefulness of fish to us. He also received a certificate for taking participation in the programme. Yes, Trees are one of the oldest living things in our life. Krishnappa is a tree lover also. He had participated the Vanamahotsava Programme conducted by the Forest Department and Mangalore City Corporation at Nehru Maidan on 17-07-2010, and also the following year-11-07-2011 at the same location.
Krishnappa had taken part in Vanamahotsava programme on the 18-07-2010 at Baikampady Young Star Yuvaka, Yuvathi Mandali. In the same month, he also participated in the Environmental Programme regarding “Environment and demolish plastic bags”, This programme was conducted by the Customer Welfare Association, Surathkal. In 2011, Vanamahotsava Programme was held at Mangala Stadium- he planted a sapling along with athlete P T Usha. In the same year, a popular school at Mulki had invited Salu Marada Thimmakka for planting 1000 sapling in their locality. For this Programme Krishnappa was invited as a guest of honour, where he did some planting of saplings, also had the opportunity of honouring Thimmakka. On 28/08/2014, at the Varashka Parishar programme, Krishnappa had given an oath taking slogan for students and public regarding the importance of planting trees and saving them at the Town Hall, Mangalore. Since 02 years, he has joined Amma group for ‘Swacha Bharath‘ and joins in the cleanliness Drive every 4th Sunday of every month.
Krishnappa is a fond lover of jackfruit trees. All year long he takes good care of these trees and has supplied free jackfruit saplings to various organizations and the general public who promise to grow them. He has planted various types of plants in the Government area near Bondel for the past six years and he is looking after them like his own kids. He nourishes them by manuring and watering them. In summer, he spends his own money and hires a vehicle for the supply of water. People in Bondel area call him as “Salu Marada Thimmakka of Bondel”. Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Science University, Bidar Extension Education Centre, College of Fisheries, Mangalore had awarded him for his contribution towards Krishi Kendra. Krishnappa has been featured in many daily newspapers for his contribution towards environment projects.
Right behind his residence in Bondel, he has cultivated plants of various kinds in the barren land. He along with his wife, Radhamani, Daughter-in-law Sindhu S Kumar, and his son, Santhosh take good care of these plants. He even distributes plants free of cost to people. But now a big problem has been haunting Krishnappa – the barren land in Bondel near his residence, has been occupied by the government to build the District Ranga Mandira, and there are also plans to build a cricket stadium in that area. What worries Krishnappa is that once this project starts coming up, there could be chances the trees that he cared and loved so much could be axed to make way for the Ranga Mandira/cricket stadium.
Speaking to mangalorean.com he said, “Me and my family members have taken good care of these various trees like Jackfruit, Mango, Bamboo and other medicinal plants for the last six years. I am worried that the authorities may force me to transfer all these plants to a different location or they could even axe them down. I took up this responsibility of taking care of all these plants in this barren land after I saw the saplings planted by the district authorities in 2009, either dead or drying up due to lack of care and watering. The district administration had planted these saplings one year before the foundation stone for the Ranga Mandira was laid in the year 2010. I took the initiative to save these plants by taking good care and watering them daily. Along with the help of my family members, I have also set up small nurseries to grow saplings of various trees and medicinal plants, in an area close to one acre. With these two infrastructures coming up, I am worried what would be the fate of these plants/trees that I loved and cared all these years. I need support from the public to save these plants – let’s keep our city green”.
Supporting Krishnappa’s love for trees, I can say that trees are more significant than many of us might imagine. They commemorate births and lives lived. They beautify slums, farms and grand avenues. They provide shade, oxygen, and delight. They cool the Earth. Some of the seedlings we plant will restore springs long dry, prevent soil erosion and create fertilizer to boost harvests. Countless more will provide food for people, in rural areas and cities alike. Some will supply forage for livestock and for insects that pollinate crops. Many will produce wood and natural oils for building and for fuel. Yet others will be used to create medicines to heal the human body and essential oils to ease the soul. All will draw carbon dioxide from the air, leaving us a little less vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change.
Like what Krishnappa says, “Whatever we do to Nature is ultimately something that we are doing to our own deepest selves.”, – We the citizens should appreciate and support Krishnappa’s fight to save trees/plants, so that we can a have a “Greener Mangaluru” rather that a city filled with concrete structures. Long Live Krishnappa K and his work in bringing awareness about the environment.
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