Year that was …….

I completed one-year course at Ecological Society, Pune. My feelings are as Charles Dickens said in his epic Tale of two cities, “It was best of the times, it was worst of the times”

Here are my musings about the year that was in company of Gole sir, Gole Madam, Mahajan sir and many others

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Life was easy, wasn’t it? When being ecologically conscious, responsible citizen meant just doing a few things like not asking for a plastic bag at the grocery shop, separating wet garbage from the dry and carrying your own water bottle on picnic instead of buying a Bisleri.

What more is really required? Isn’t that enough?

Yes, there used to be some disturbing news articles from time to time, but why really bother, human brain is capable of finding solutions, we surely will find one more energy source before we run out of fossil fuels. From millions of life forms around, we lose some unseen/unknown species in some part of the world. So what? How that is really going to affect the way I live and of course loss of mangroves is something people in coastal areas should bother about, right?

So, in all life was really comfortable till the day, 7th July 2012………….

All our good habits that we had worked on so meticulously since our school days like obedience, not asking questions, keeping our doubts, if at all any, to ourselves, - It all started crumbling….

The most disturbing thing was that we started to THINK!!!! We were being taught to question the conventional wisdom

And let me tell you what a painful thing that is……

As they say “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.”

Increasing species extinction rates and biodiversity loss are no longer just a piece of news for me, depleting groundwater resources and climate vagaries are not merely topics of casual coffee table discussions. It is just impossible to look at anything in isolation now!!! Everywhere there are linkages, there are inter-connections, and there are cause and effects!!

Lectures by Gole Sir, Gole Madam, Mahajan Sir and all others and various discussions I had with my classmates, who came from different walks of life, with varied experiences and perspectives, not only gave me knowledge and information about ecology but with each passing week, I was forced to think more, to question very fundamental things I had believed in so far. I felt the need to redefine terms like progress since what I assumed to be progress no longer seemed so. What I thought development was proving to be self-destructive. Oh, and yes, the technology that I always thought was answer to almost every problem, no longer assured me answers rather posed new questions.

During these depressing musings, I was again and again reminded of the quote by Valentine from Arcadia who says “. It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong”.

What Gole sir, Gole madam, Mahajan Sir, through their dedication and tireless efforts have given us in addition to ecological knowledge and awareness is the perspective and passion to actually do something.