BENGALURU: While the city may have earned the tag of the IT capital in the country, the effects have been detrimental. According to Harini Nagendra, professor of sustainability at Azim Premji University, who, along with colleague Seema Mundoli recently launched their book Cities and Canopies, Bengaluru’s green cover has decreased from 70 per cent in the 1970’s to 12 per cent at present.
Nagendra, who has also authored the book Nature in the City; Bengaluru in the Past, Present and Future in 2016, observed this alarming trend during her 15-year research for the book. It documents the intersection of history, culture and ecology in urban India through trees. Speaking about the research that went into the book, Nagendra said, “Our research has been on going for the last 15 years. We’ve collected bits and pieces along the way, which we set aside and were able to use in the book. In 2017, Seema and I decided to write the book after a couple of conversations on the topic.”
Mundoli says her love for nature has been on ongoing affair. “I grew up in a university campus which got me interested in these topics,” she added.
The books deal with the ongoing tussle between development and the resulting impact on trees. “Development goals cannot be met by just cutting down trees. An alternate approach has to be undertaken where right from the conception of the plan, the impact on trees is considered. For every tree that is cut, at least five saplings should be planted,” Nagendra said.
The authors call for an aggressive tree plantation drive and protection policy, which they point out are
vital in reducing air pollution and cooling the city’s temperature. “The support of the community is required. Do a tree mapping of roads, find out where it can be planted,get authorities to support and be proactive in plating trees,” said Nagendra.