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By the age of five, I knew a lot about nature. I grew up in a small village bordering the forest. I was used to a myriad of sounds and calls, especially at dusk and dawn; birds and insects chirping, monkeys chattering, forest elephants trumpeting, wild dogs screaming, and even male porcupines howling as they fought over a mate. I could identify almost every tree and its fruits. Life was good, it was bliss.
One day, the whole village was startled by the sound of posh vehicles. It was a motorcade. What were these large, foreign vehicles doing in a small village, you may ask. It was a sign of an unprecedented revolution - the kind that turns everything upside down, like a volcanic eruption.
That was the day everything changed. The village, that was once so encompassed by nature, transformed into a shadow of its former self, because powerful people in society had decided to encroach the forest. A huge stretch of the forest was moulded into agricultural fields as the villagers watched in despair. As you can imagine, this had detrimental effects on the surrounding nature, which are highlighted below.
There was a loss of biodiversity. The trumpets, screams, howls, and chirps that once filled the air, dwindled with time and came to a halt. The frogs no longer croaked. There were no more elephants and wild dogs in the village. Even the trees that had been standing there for decades were gone.
The streams dried up. Flowing streams that provided clean water to the village went dry, which was one more problem for the villagers to worry about.
Poor nutrition became the norm. The villagers depended on fish for protein, but they could no longer fish from the dried up streams. That being said, the fish died of polluted water long before the streams gave up. Malnourishment and poor health became the norm for the villagers.
Were the villagers going to watch their lives deteriorate? Were they going to let the strangers take away their heritage? No, they had to act. Peaceful protests, community awareness, educational programs, and legal assistance was all it took to reclaim their village. Now, life has started returning back to the way it was. The birds are chirping, the stream is flowing, and fingerlings can be seen enjoying a swim in it. The village is giving nature a second chance.
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