A tree is a large, sprawling, stationary magnificence, a generous gift to us from nature. There are all kinds of trees like there are all sorts of humans – gigantic banyan, minuscule tender-green tulasi, flaming gulmohars, spindly cashew, gnarled mango trunks, satin-smooth vazha, the list is endless, of these beings which lift themselves to the sky. However, tress unlike humans, don’t waste water or use plastic.
An average Indian uses 150 to 200 litres of water per day. Doesn’t that sound like a lot? Often, this water is not used but is wasted through various acts of carelessness and selfishness (the horror). When leaky taps are unattended, drip, drip, drip, they drain away one of the most precious resources we have. Or when we take that half-hour shower to wash away our tiredness. Or when the tap is left on, gurgling forth a spring while we brush our teeth. A tree doesn’t have to brush its teeth or use a shower or even open a tap, so it never wastes water. It just drinks what it needs to survive and any excess water drains deep into the mud, mingling with the earth’s groundwater to be reused again another day.
The other good habit these gorgeous green forces of nature have is that they never use plastic. They never ask the neighbourhood kiranawalla for a plastic bag to take the milk and bread back home. They refuse to shop in large malls where shoes and clothes are packed in cardboard boxes and encased in non-recyclable plastic bags. They don’t buy bottled water, which after a single moment of quenching our thirst is thrown away to finally land-up in landfills where they will slowly poison the earth for another 450 years.
It is unfortunate that we all can’t turn into trees but we can be inspired by them. We can stop wasting water, using plastic and tree-t our earth with care.
Arathi Menon is an author based in London. Her latest book is a children’s middle-grade novel called A Thud In the Middle Of The Night published by Mango books in April 2019. She tweets at @unopenedbottle
To know more about books written by the author, visit mangobooks.dcbooks.com.