2019:Vol 4, No: 1

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Harvest is in its 4th year of publication and we are 7 issues old. We thank every reader, contributor and well –wisher. The Young Brigade has undeniably responded to my wake-up call and contributed generously to this volume. But the Literature segment remains isolated. A pity indeed!

While the menace of Climate Change looms large over our Planet, with an indifferent monsoon in South Bengal but floods in North Bengal and Assam, with animals struggling to survive in Kaziranga, with human destruction of the living world causing a ‘terrifying’ number of plant extinctions, we still strive for a rich and prosperous ‘Harvest’.

The facts and figures are scary. According to scientists who have completed the first global analysis of the issue, (published in the The Guardian, 10th June 2019) the number of plants that have disappeared from the wild is more than twice the number of extinct birds, mammals and amphibians combined. The new figure is also four times the number of extinct plants recorded in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. In an article published in the journal Nature, Ecology and Evolution there are thousands of ‘living dead’ plant species, where the last survivors have no chance of reproducing because, only one sex remains or the animals needed to spread their seeds are wiped out. And some plant species may have gone extinct even before being discovered. A sixth mass extinction of life on Earth is perhaps well under way, according to a landmark report in May which said human society was in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems, with one million species of plants and animals at risk of extinction.

But positive efforts exist despite everything. Stories of locals who sow and plant for a lush Chetla-Alipore forest in our own metropolis, people who fight for protecting trees in Jessore Road, women who with or without knowledge of the Chipko Movement stake their all for the environment, the youngsters who with their teachers not only observe Van Mahotsav but remain true to its spirit, farmers and the ‘ordinary’ citizens who toil and nurture to convert barren lands into verdant greens, the highly flourishing who give up their lucrative jobs for indigenous farming, ‘commoners’ who collect and conserve thousands of native seed varieties, parents who choose Nature over formal schooling for their children, the ‘poor’, ‘uneducated’ unemployed who demand legal assistance to conserve their forest heritage over industry and ‘development,’ the foresters who ceaselessly serve to ensure the flood affected animals to safety and life, the warriors who fight relentlessly against animal cruelty and slaughter and the children who build homes and shelters for abandoned and stray animals….truly unbelievable !

All these are perhaps seeds of a larger movement, a Movement for peace and humanity, for justice and respectful co-existence. Let us then sow such seeds for that fruitful and rewarding ‘Harvest’, for which we have waited since eternity!

Dr. Supatra Sen

Chief Editor