UAE tree environment
The impact of deforestation will also be discussed by delegates. Artwork used for illustrative purpose. Image Credit: Muhammed Nahas/Gulf News

Dubai : The ‘International Environment Conference’ will be held in Dubai next month, which will, among other topics, highlight 18th century environmentalists who laid down their lives to protect trees.

The two-day conference, scheduled for February 4 and 5, is dedicated to people who died while trying to protect Ghaf trees in India in 1730. Ghaf trees are also found in the UAE, where they are protected from being cut down.

Ramesh Babal, convenor of the conference, said: “Today there are many challenges facing the environment at the global level. Water, forest and land are in danger. The air has got polluted. The ozone layer is becoming porous. Biodiversity is in peril. It is time to act.”

Conference agenda

Next month, over 500 people will be attending the global conference in Dubai, he added. Some key topics of discussion will be on climate change, air, water soil and noise pollution, biodiversity, organic farming, sustainable development, ecological imbalance beside others.

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‘Environmental warriors’

Babal said he is a descendent of the Bishnoi community that championed the cause of environment. “Guru Jambheswar was a great environmentalist of the world. He was a visionary. He had sensed an environmental crisis 500 years back. His followers, the Bishnoi Society, have been working as environmental warriors for over 500 years now. This society has sacrificed its lives many times for the protection of green trees and wildlife.”

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Ramesh Babal, seen here in a file image, is the convenor of the conference Image Credit: Supplied

He recalled one such sacrifice made by 363 Bishnoi men and women for the protection of Ghaf trees in the Khejarli village of Jodhpur district of Rajasthan state of India in 1730. “These men and women hugged hundreds of Ghaf trees that were to be felled. They [died while] trying to protect the trees,” Babal said.