Create holistic changes in society with transformations from the plant ecology level, working upstream to transcend social, economic and political hurdles towards sustainable solutions.
All layers — social, economic and political, are linked to an ecological foundation. The concept of 'Upstream Ecology' believes that holistic change is possible across all layers, only if it allows regeneration to happen in the basal layer.
Upstream Ecology is the action of working with all the layers (in a bottom-up approach - upstream) for effective change. The change envisioned needs to manifests at the ground level with the regeneration of plant ecology across the surface of the earth – from deltas to peaks.
All land on the terrestrial surface of earth is part of a watershed. For instance, looking at habitats in South India: A montane forest ecology is upstream to deciduous forest ecology lower down in the hills. In the same way a deciduous forest ecology will be upstream to tropical dry evergreen forest that once covered most of the eastern coastal plains. This forest type can also be upstream to another type of vegetation, such as the mangrove forest, which occurs right at the edge of a coast or in a delta. The mangrove forest itself will be upstream to the sea (gradient-wise). Hence, restoring any patch of land on terrestrial surface of the earth, will be an upstream action.
Photo by Waranont (Joe) on Unsplash
Upstream stands for going `cross-current’ to revive systems that are moving in a `down-hill’ plunge. The ecology of 'reconnecting' uses the metaphor of how fish like salmon swim upstream to reach the source of their life-cycle
Robert W. Hines, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain]
Upstream solutions are about identifying the root of a problem, and moving up to fix issues from the source, rather than just addressing the symptoms
Godwin Vasanth Bosco is the lead conservation gardener and researcher with Upstream Ecology (UE). Growing up in the vast Theosophical Society campus, attending The School KFI in Chennai, nurtured the naturalist in him. It was a sprawling lush campus in the middle of a populated urban center. Replete with an ancient Banyan tree, a luring mango tree, a pond, snakes, deer and every other fascinating twine, branch, bush or sandpit an adventurous young child could explore. If that was not fascinating enough; on vacations Vasanth traveled with his family to the Nilgiri highlands, his home town and birthplace. Here he traveled through the jungle, past elephants, gaur, deer, through the smell of pristine forests, and up to the mist clad mountains. This strengthened his endearing bond the landscape. A landscape he often refers to as "one of the greatest teachers he has come to know". His journey after school took him to Finland and study Environmental Engineering, where as an inventor, he holds two patents in alternative technology. Unable to resist the call, he returned to his native landscape. He then attended a Program at the Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary to study ecology of mountainous landscapes. Here, his deep bond for this form of learning took form. Returning to the Nilgiris, the destruction of native ecology he decided to work against this all consuming force. Yet the more he tried to tackle this problem, the more complex the questions and challenges became. Thus began the journey to find solutions at the grass root level and work for the change needed.
An analysis op-ed written by Godwin Vasanth Bosco, on the dangers of Green Technology as climate solutions
A review of the book 'Voice of a Sentient Highland' by Suprabha Seshan published in Scroll.in
An article by Rohan Premkumar about the shola - grassland nursery, which was published in the Hindu
An Article about the collaborative efforts at Lawrence School Lovedale, Niligirs
An article in The Ecologist written by Finish Journalist Heidi Hendersson featuring some of the restoration work in the Nilgiris, and about what the world can learn from the Nilgiris' Ecology
A detailed piece by Sibi Arasu on the importance and need of cloud-forest restoration, covering our efforts