Botanical Gardens And Life on Earth
On this Earth Day (April 22), we should recognise the Tamil Nadu government’s recent decision to create a big botanical garden (the Chengalpattu Botanical Garden) in the state as an important and welcome development. Plants are the foundation of civilisation. Gardening has had a long link with humanity since man discovered how to nurture plants more than 11,000 years ago, marking the beginning of agriculture. Home gardens, which are organised spaces surrounding homes to produce food and medicinal plants, have been mentioned in ancient books and portrayed in cave paintings, demonstrating the antiquity of gardening.
Points to Ponder:
- On Earth Day, the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to create the Chengalpattu Botanical Garden is a significant and welcome development.
- Plants have been the foundation of civilisation for almost 11,000 years, and humanity has had a long affinity with gardens.
- Botanical gardens have been owned by rulers from ancient civilizations to current ones as a symbol of riches and varied government.
- Between the 15th and 17th centuries, European travels resulted in the development of several academic botanical gardens, which are now major centres of plant research and teaching as well as popular tourist destinations.
- The AJC Bose Indian Botanic Garden in Kolkata, established in 1787, is the oldest Indian academic garden, and several others focus on plant exploration and education programmes.
- With an estimated 18,000 to 20,000 plant species, India offers a diverse range of plants and animals. Our knowledge of our plant heritage, on the other hand, is extremely limited.
- The 300 crore Chengalpattu Botanical Garden, which will span 138 hectares, would be India’s largest botanical garden, with the potential to become a major centre for plant biodiversity exploration and discovery, research, education, citizen science, and outreach.
- Botanical gardens are now a barometer of national achievement in terms of research, technology, and outreach, much as they were in the region’s golden ages when a botanical garden was a display of prosperity, scientific attitudes, and varied administration.
- In an era of climate change and dwindling biodiversity, every inch of our backyards and everywhere must be devoted to the cultivation of native plants and associated living beings to heal our planet through the power of plants.