May 2018: Editorial

Biodiversity… the running thread of life!

A group of tourists were meeting and interacting with some tribal elders in a dense forest region. When it was time for them to leave, the group asked the elders the reason for building small homes when there was enough land in the forest. The response of the tribal elders stunned them. They said that the home structure was just a ‘rein basera’ (shelter for the night) and it was the vast, deep forest which was their real home!

Experiencing the feeling of being embedded in the larger web of life, on a day to day basis, may seem and feel alien to many of us located squarely in an industrial/ development paradigm. This paradigm tends to view Earth in a mechanistic manner; as a static collection of parts, some living and some non living. And hence quite often many of us feel no compunction in exploiting or extracting and disrupting the threads that weave the web of life.

The reality however is that our planet, our home is a miracle!  A dynamic self regulating, living entity with intricate, complex patterns of co existence evolved over millions of years. Thus life, small and big, visible and invisible, supports life. Any loss in the thread disconnects the web and makes it less stable and less resilient. Climate change has begun to awaken people to this reality and also to the fact that protection of biodiversity is a powerful way to address this issue. It has also made us realize that we are just one of the many millions of species and the other species have as much right to thrive and flourish as we do. It is also humbling to know that the well being of our species depends on the well being of many others in the web of life!

The loss of biodiversity is also an issue of social inequity. Studies and statistics have proven that loss of biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides affects the most vulnerable sections of the society the most. Thus protection of biodiversity is also a way to work towards equity and social justice.

This month’s Eternal Bhoomi magazine celebrates biodiversity!

Dr Harini Nagendra writes about biodiversity in urban spaces and how to conserve and treat with respect this oft ignored and neglected realm.

Sheeba Sen shares her journey of committing to bring back native forests to the Himalayas through the grassroots organization Alaap that she has founded.

We bring to you the book review of Pranay Lal’s Indica, a natural history book about the Indian subcontinent. A story, which is written with much so love, that it inspires awe and wonder and stirs reverence for our beautiful animate earth.

There are many ways one can recognize, celebrate and revere the web that supports all life, not just for spiritual or esoteric reasons but because our life depends on it!


Rema Kumar

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