Kerala’s environment going through best days of 100 years: Muralee Thummarukudi

Muralee Thummarukudi speaks at the Peruvanam International Village Festival (PIVF) at Sreelakam Convention Centre, Peruvanam, on Sunday. Photo: Special arrangement

Thrissur: The public perception that Kerala's environment is in shambles is wrong, disaster management expert Muralee Thummarukudi said here on Sunday. He said the state’s environment at present has been going through its best days in the past 100 years.

The former UN official cited the dip in deforestation, decrease in the use of firewood and return of wildlife to abandoned estates as signs of a stronger environment. He, however, flagged the growing disconnect between the people and nature.

He was speaking at a session of the second edition of the Peruvanam International Village Festival (PIVF) at Sreelakam Convention Centre in Peruvanam. The three-day cultural fest concluded on Sunday.

"People like to hear and say that the environment is getting worse. If you look into the last hundred years, this is the most progressive period for Kerala's environment, according to all parameters,” he said.

He was also critical of the common perspective that the environment of the Kuttanad region is degenerating. Comparing the state of paddy cultivation with the situation in the 1960s he said it has come down to just 2 lakh hectares from 8 lakh hectares. “Even if we assume that one lakh hectares of paddy fields have been filled, the remaining five lakh will return to its natural state,” he said.

However, he said people have lost their organic relationship with nature and it needs to be restored. "The organic relationship with nature has changed with just one generation. It created a notion that even if nature is destroyed, it does not affect us personally,” he said.

He said that art and literature played a major role in creating environmental awareness in Kerala, like all over the world, but today such involvement is not enough.

New-gen lost hope in Kerala
Thummarukudi said Kerala should accept the reality that the new generation has lost hope in Kerala.

“Youth are not taking forward the cultural life of Kerala. All those who can go abroad are leaving the state. Within five years, one-fourth of Kerala's children will go abroad. We need to think about who will be left when the best and brightest are gone and what kind of policies will be formulated by the leaders emerging from them,” Thummarukudi said.

Curtains come down on PIVF 24
The second edition of PIVF, which witnessed thought-provoking sessions over three days, came to a close on Sunday with famous dancers Mallika Sarabhai and Maythil Renuka, renowned dalit writer Laxman Gaikwad, cine director Sathyan Anthikad, Adv S Jayasankar, Muralee Thummarukudi, Riyas Komu and G R Indugopan among others attending various sessions followed by leather shadow puppetry by Sindh Chithambra Rao & Group, Dharamavaram, Andhra.

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