Established in 2009 by the United Nations General Assembly, International Mother Earth Day is celebrated annually on the 22nd of April. The goal is to shift to a more sustainable economy that will benefit both the people and the planet.
The man-made destruction of nature like deforestation, excessive land use and the disruption of biodiversity are some of the factors that contribute to the acceleration of climate change on the planet. Observing these effects on the environment, countries around the world have begun to take it upon themselves to limit their impact on nature and minimise their carbon footprint.
Meghalaya has been effectively working towards this goal and the people’s efforts are reflected in the State’s thriving eco-tourism. The people’s way of life, their respect for nature and how they have efficiently utilised their surroundings have greatly contributed to the growth of a sustainable economy in Meghalaya.
A prominent example of this is the living root bridges. They can be found in almost every forest in Meghalaya. These bridges are a perfect representation of the way the local residents have successfully employed nature for their benefit without destroying the biodiversity of the area. The living root bridges are preserved by the people and are used by them to conveniently travel to their destination. The bridges have also become a popular tourist attraction because of their history, natural beauty and majestic architecture.
Silk is another natural resource that has been successfully utilized by the people in Meghalaya. Eri silk specifically has been used to make a wide variety of hand-woven textiles like shawls and stoles. This type of silk can be found primarily in Umden Village. People can purchase these beautiful silk products and take back a piece of Meghalaya with them.
Another example of the people’s efforts to maintain a sustainable economy is the State’s conservation efforts. Meghalaya’s rugged terrain has made it a palace for wildlife species to inhabit and thrive. There are a handful of rare and endangered species, deer species, birds, jackals and leopards. Observing this, the State has established several wildlife reserves across the State. One of these reserves is in West Garo Hills called the Nokrek Biosphere Reserve. Travellers can visit this reserve and catch a glimpse of the Hoolock Gibbon, a rare primate found mostly in this region. These efforts to protect and preserve these endangered species of nature are bearing fruits as we see an increase in the wildlife population.
The push for the protection and preservation of ecosystems from a legal standpoint is an ongoing process. The Forest and Environment Department of the State government continues to implement acts and rules to establish strong protection of the State forests. One of these acts is the Meghalaya Forest Regulation Act. This lays down the guidelines and rules that help the State protect the environment and maintain its biodiversity.
On this International Mother Earth Day, Meghalaya is showcasing its love and respect for mother nature. The people’s efforts to preserve their natural surroundings have had a positive effect on the ecosystem, allowing the beauty of nature to flourish. Meghalaya continues to forge a path of sustainability, not just economically, but culturally and socially as well. The way mother nature is treated and nurtured is a testament to how people will continue to grow and develop as a society. The production and economic distribution of these products are a reflection of the State’s efforts to establish and grow a more sustainable economy in the region.