Treehugging in Kashmir

Some 20 years ago when I was a bright eyed student, I spent a couple of weeks holed up in a house boat in Srinigar, the Indian capital of Kashmir before trekking in the Himalyan foothills and despite the gunshots heard regularly,  it is truly one of my happiest memories and surely one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on earth where one would wake up to the sights and sounds of golden eagles, kingfishers and mountain mist.

As such, I was particularly moved by a recent article in about the actions of a group of Kashmiri inhabitants determined to put religious and national differences aside to make a stand for their local natural environment.Locals are now becoming concerned that this area which has been the hot topic of ownership and border control for some 50+ years is becoming destroyed by deforestation, including illegal logging, soil erosion and a general  increase in population and human intervention.Community Group, Durawa Development Organisation organised a mass tree-hugging in a remote village, Pak-Kashmir in which over 1000 men, women and children all took part in simultaneously hugging a tree for over a minute.

Whilst still awaiting verification from The Guinness Book of World Records, it is believed that this sets a new world record (previously held by the UK) and heightens awareness of this environmental plight to both locals and the world at large, as these people rely predominantly on the forest for their livelihood.Nature is after all far more important than politics, as without nature, there are no politics.