Kerala’s environment sees its best days in 100 years: Murali Tunmarkudi

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Thrissur: The public perception that Kerala’s environment is in disarray is wrong, disaster management expert Murali Tummalkudi said here on Sunday. He said the state’s current environment is at its best in 100 years.

Former U.N. officials cited reduced deforestation, reduced use of firewood and the return of wildlife to abandoned lands as signs of a stronger environment. But he warned of a growing disconnect between people and nature.

He was speaking at a session at the 2nd Peruvanam International Village Festival (PIVF) held at Srirakham Convention Center in Peruvanam. The three-day cultural festival concluded on Sunday.

“People like to hear that the environment is deteriorating. If you look back over the past 100 years, by any standard, this is the most progressive period for the environment in Kerala,” he said.

He was also critical of the prevailing view that the Kuttanad region’s environment is deteriorating. Comparing the situation of paddy cultivation in the 1960s, he said that it had decreased from 8 hectares to just 2 hectares. “Even if we assume that 100,000 hectares of rice fields are reclaimed, the remaining 500,000 hectares will return to their natural state,” he says.

But people have lost their organic relationship with nature and need to restore it, he said. “Our organic relationship with nature has changed in just one generation,” he says. “The idea that even if nature is destroyed, it doesn’t affect us as individuals.”

He said that in Kerala, as in other countries, art and literature played a major role in creating environmental awareness, but today such involvement alone is not enough.

A new generation loses hope in Kerala
Mr. Tunmarkudi said that the new generation in Kerala should accept the reality that they are losing hope.

“Young people are not driving the cultural life of Kerala. All those who can go abroad have left the state. Within five years, a quarter of the children in Kerala will go abroad. We need to think about who will remain when these people are gone, and what kind of policies will be developed by the leaders who will emerge from among them,” said Tunmarkudi.

The curtain falls on PIVF 24
Witnessing thought-provoking sessions over three days, the 2nd edition of PIVF featured renowned dancers Mallika Sarabhai and Maythil Renuka, renowned Dalit writer Lakshman Gaikwad, filmmaker Sathyan Anthikad, Adv S. -It concluded on Sunday with Jayasankar, Murali Tunmarkudi, Riyas and others. Komu, GR Indugopan and others participated in various sessions followed by a leather shadow puppet show by Sindhi Chitambura Rao & Group from Dharamavaram, Andhra.

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