In an era marked by rapid urbanization and expanding human settlements, the delicate balance between nature and development is often disrupted. The encroachment of streets, rivers, and water bodies not only raises concerns about ecological sustainability but also exposes communities to the devastating consequences of their actions. When torrential rains strike, these encroachments can lead to severe property damage and loss of life. Paradoxically, amidst the wreckage, some individuals attribute the destruction to a “trial of faith,” failing to acknowledge the root cause – their own negligence in disregarding the natural environment.
As cities grow, the demand for space inevitably increases, resulting in the encroachment of areas that should remain open for the sake of environmental stability. Streets that were once pathways for pedestrians and vehicles are gradually taken over by commercial establishments and illegal settlements. Rivers and water bodies, vital for the balance of local ecosystems, are encroached upon for construction, agriculture, and waste disposal. The short-term gains of these actions often blind communities to the long-term risks they are taking.
The consequences of these encroachments are made painfully evident during periods of heavy rainfall. Overloaded stormwater drains and blocked waterways can no longer handle the excessive volume of water, resulting in flooding that engulfs streets and homes. The destruction of properties, loss of livelihoods, and even loss of lives that follow are a direct result of the compromised landscape. Yet, amidst the devastation, some individuals tend to interpret these events as a “test of faith,” deflecting responsibility from their actions.
The “trial of faith” perspective, while an important coping mechanism for many, should not obscure the realities of human responsibility. This perspective is rooted in a belief that the trials faced are intended to test one’s faith and resilience. While resilience is crucial, attributing all destruction to this reasoning overlooks the significance of human actions in contributing to the disaster. Neglecting the root cause can perpetuate a cycle of environmental degradation and repeated devastation.
To break free from this cycle, communities must recognize the undeniable connection between encroachment and destruction. Raising awareness about the repercussions of encroachment through education and advocacy is paramount. Governments, urban planners, and policymakers must work together to enforce regulations that protect natural spaces and ensure sustainable development. Infrastructure improvements, such as robust stormwater drainage systems, can mitigate the impact of heavy rains.
The destruction caused by fast rains is not merely a “trial of faith,” but a harsh reminder of the consequences of human neglect and encroachment. It is time to shift the narrative from an external “test” to an internal call for responsibility. Only by acknowledging and addressing the root cause of destruction can societies hope to build resilience against the ever-increasing threat of natural disasters exacerbated by human actions. It is in our hands to rewrite the story, turning the page from negligence to conscientious stewardship of the environment.
The writer is teacher by profession
He teaches in GHSS SOGAM LOLAB
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org