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States » South

Confer Auroville ‘University of Peace’ status: Prof Swaminathan

Chennai, Feb 27 (UNI) From dust and drylands to forests, several
success stories of restoring and helping land rejuvenation, were the
highlights of the talk by Mr Joss Brooks, restoration ecologist at the
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) here today.
The journey of Pitchandikulam, Nadukuppam, Adyar Poonga and
Siruseri were shared through evocative pictures to a rapt audience.
“If what has been done in Siruseri is replicated several times, it will
solve the problems of Chennai, it is as simple as that,” he said.
However, Joss Brooks cautioned that it was the community that was
key and which needs to monitor all activities closely. “It is the community
that should meet and decide how they will restrict buildings etc., not an
outside authority; that is a sustainable model. We have another chance
to make a difference and we should try.”
In his address, MSSRF Founder Prof Swaminathan lauded the unique
approach of Auroville. “This is the concept of human unity, unity with
plants and unity with nature.''
''Just as there was a United Nations University of Peace established in
Costa Rica, Auroville should be declared University of Peace with Nature.
Especially in a situation where we are seeing increasing discord and
disharmony, this is a need of the hour,” he added.
Mr Brooks, who describes himself as ‘an old gardener from Auroville’,
elaborated on the various community-driven initiatives, that basically
helped restore what was already there, without introducing anything
“A great example is how, in 2015 when Chennai was flooded, no water
left the Auroville plateau. It was a sponge”, he noted.
Dr G N Hariharan, Executive Director (in-charge), MSSRF recalled the
visits made by MSSRF scientists to the Pitchandikulam forest both for
the Vacation Training Program as well as to understand more about the
eco-restoration process.
He emphasized the importance of biodiversity restoration, besides
environment education and awareness.
This talk re-emphasized that Auroville is not just a place, but a ‘gesture’.
The call to declare it a ‘University for Peace’ therefore was timely coming
as it does on the eve of the 52nd birthday of Auroville.
UNI GV 1712
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