The programme was inaugurated by the Governor of Tamil Nadu K. Rosaiah. In his address, he appreciated the efforts made by GRACE to protect Eastern Ghats which is a rich repository of biodiversity and a lifeline for many tribal communities. He emphasised that nature or the ecosystem has to be left intact for the posterity and each individual has the responsibility to preserve the system. The guest of honour, C.V. Shankar, Principal Secretary, Department of Environment and Forests, said that any development should not drain the natural resources of a nation and it has to be a sustainable one. He mentioned about the State’s plan to plant 10 crore saplings under a 600-crore project funded by Japanese International Cooperation Agency.
Tamil Nadu Governor Dr K Rosaiah said environmental degradation has become a serious global concern.Inaugurating the Regional Convention on Eastern Ghats, jointly organised by the Hyderabad-based Greens Alliance for Conservation of Eastern Ghats (GRACE) and the SRM University, he said the year 2005-14 was marked as United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and 2010-20 as United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.
"This exemplifies the concern and need for a global commitment for environment and sustainable development", he said, adding, today environmental degradation has become a major and serious global concern. "For our nation, with 17 percent of global population crammed into two per cent of land area, it's a great challenge to strike a balance between natural heritage and population and its development goals", he said.
Dr Rosaiah said eastern ghats, which have a great impression andinfluence on regional ecology, economy, culture, spiritual spheres deserve a special mention. "Its entire stretch of 1,700 km is a complex of varied ecological riches, home to tribal groups, amazing endemic species, the Red Sanders, the world's costliest wood, and the world's second largest tiger reserve at Nallamala", he pointed out.
Noting that the effects of global warming add a catastrophic threat towards a mass extinction of global biological diversity, the Governor said statistics reveal that the extinction threat was estimated to be about 15 to 37 percent by 2050. "Some of the most significant and insidious threats to biodiversity and ecosystem processes include climate change, deforestation and urban development. Habitat fragmentation poses one of the threat", he said. Observing that nearly 25 percent of Eastern Ghats fall in Tamil Nadu, he said the rich environmental heritage was under tremendous pressure due to growing population and development interventions. "It is high time that we analyze in depth the causes which pose a threat to nature and also develop strategies to address these issues", Dr Rosaiah said.
He said everybody has the responsbility to preserve the nature in its pristine form. 'We have been enjoying the fruits of nature and the resources from this planet. We have to hand over this precious heritage intact to the future generation". In this context, he said creating more awareness among the people, especially the youth on the preservation of nature and on conservation of the forests, was the need of the hour. "Plans should be formulated to inculcate in the youth the spirit of living in consonance with nature", he added.
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