It's time to join the fight for Aarey

The Save Aarey movement is gathering steam with a number of NGOs now coming together to save the verdant land with incredible diversity from being taken over for a Metro car shed. There are various initiatives planned; a protest on the lines of the Chipko movement takes place on Sunday and activists working with the movement have vowed to carry on agitations to save Aarey.

Mumbai citizens are being urged to contribute time and effort to see that the land is saved. This means taking part in demonstrations, holding placards, speaking out and generally doing whatever it takes, but most importantly, lending a voice to the movement.

It is important to save Aarey, given the beautiful biodiversity and ecological balance it provides to the city. Citizens have to think that they have a stake in the city’s environment instead of believing it is somebody else’s duty to save it. The current attitude is that it is a worthy cause, but remote close to their hearts but distant somehow.

Very often, we see that activism or saving the environment is left to a clutch of people called environmentalists. They are supposed to be our green warriors. It is up to them to fight to save open spaces, or green spaces and the rest of ordinary citizens or laymen actually do not spare the time or the effort to do anything about it.

While environmentalists may certainly know how to take the fight ahead or initiate it, Mumbaikars must remember that this is a long and often unequal battle, with people up against massive corporations or politicians with tremendous clout. It needs sustained effort. So, every citizen has to pitch in, as the onus is not just on activists who often risk limb and life for the cause.

After all, all citizens will benefit from a healthy environment and bio-diversity, so why should just a few individuals be involved in saving it? There must be a sense of belonging and shared responsibility. There is strength in numbers and it is only when taking a united stand, that people will wear down the opposition and win the fight. Each and all is the call.

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