more than immense.
From cradles for babies made of bamboo, to mats and beds to sleep on – made of paddy sticks, plates made of Sal leaves and about 300 kilograms of wood used to cremate a single body, the earth and all it can give is an integral part of their survival … and death.
Just as it is in almost every other developing city in the world, it is in Kathmandu as well, that people here seem to be removed from the environment. Case in point: in one of the biggest stupas in the country, Swayambhunath, it is not uncommon to see the cleaning staff set fire to plastic bottles and bags along with paper and food wastes.
But on the other hand, villages seem to have their own issues. In the little village of Syangja, a religious festival celebrated once a year, Panchami, calls for the sacrifice of animals when wishes are granted. While most of the villagers partake in this ritual, one of the oldest families here in Syangja, a family who owns one of the largest temples doesn’t believe in this animal sacrifice. Instead, they offer coconuts and fruit to appease the goddess, Devi. They have failed to convince villagers to follow suit, they say, this in spite of the fact that the livestock could have supported their food needs for months to come.
One cannot help but wonder, although it might be a slow and uphill battle, can religion be used to help save the environment? Can older generations and holy men and women be asked to give the environment a hand? Can temples and stupas lead the way in conserving natural resources? Will Ents rule the day once again?