Much has been said about the need to conserve our forests (see: Trees are vital). The campaign to keep the earth green seems to be getting the message across to millions of people. But there is another vital area of ecology that is, unfortunately, not receiving the attention that it deserves.
I am talking about the hills. All over
, hills are being flattened for for building construction, cutting stones, for obtaining earth for filling low or water logged areas and so on. Laws to prevent this may or may not exist but the indiscriminate mining carries on nevertheless. Nobody seems to bother except some activists. India
What is the damage if the hills are flattened? Water covers about 70% of the Earth. I saw an estimate that water level would rise by more than 8000 feet (about 2500m) if the earth surface were evened out. That means there would not be any land-sea ratio. The planet would be a mass covered by water. That of course is an unlikely eventuality.
But there are several other adverse impacts of leveling the hills. The surface area of the earth decreases when a hill is flattened. The trees and plants (some of them medicinal) and life forms that thrived there disappear. I think all the major rivers of the world originate from and are sustained by the mountains. The hills attract rains. They provide water to more than half the world’s population. Terrains like laterite formations retain water. If we do not protect the hills, the result would be acute water problems.
There could be an argument that habitats are among the basic requirements of humanity and that construction activities provide employment to many people. True. But can’t we build without flattening the hills? Contour architecture, I think, is the answer. Two examples of this I can immediately recall are the residential area of the HMT complex near
Cochin, and the Kovalam Resort near . Trivandrum
Certainly, our architects are capable of coming out with eco-friendly designs.
Also see: Komana Kadu.
Articles By Abraham Tharakan
Cross posted to:
EARTH SAVE - Abraham Tharakan's Blog