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Captain Planet: 104-year-old Thimmakka’s Quest from Karnataka to save Mother Earth

Thimmakka received National Citizens Award in 1996 and Godfrey Philips Award in 2006 and the US's Thimmakka's Resources for Environmental Education has been named after her

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Salamarada Thimmakka. Image source: www.mastersconnection.com
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  • Born in Hulikal village in Bangalore’s rural area, she was born to a family of labour workers and worked through her childhood instead of acquiring any education
  • And after failing to conceive for 25 years, the couple gave up the desire of a child and decided to raise trees instead
  • With total 384 trees sown as saplings in over 50 years, the sweet reaping is brought to the entire world as a contribution towards afforestation

Not all heroes wear capes, some just have a handful of hope with them and they start doing their bit to change the world. And Thimmakka was one such woman, who was illiterate yet self-taught; she sustained her living and made the state of Karnataka a greener and better place to live in. This story is of Thimmakka, who has grown 384 trees in Karnataka.

Thimmakka, who turned 104, this year in 2016, led a life of poverty. Born in Hulikal village in Bangalore’s rural area, she was born to a family of labour workers and worked through her childhood instead of acquiring any education. Soon she was married to a cattle rearer, Bekal Chikkayya. They earned a little living by cutting stones and by tilling land. And after failing to conceive for 25 years, the couple gave up the desire of a child and decided to raise trees instead, reported IndiaToday.

Thimmakka with the trees she has planted. Source: alchetron.com
Thimmakka with the trees she has planted.
Source: alchetron.com

Thimmakka, along with her husband began sowing Banyan seeds decades ago. Beginning with only ten saplings in the first year at a stretch of 4 kilometres, they increased the number of seedlings each year. The couple not only planted them but also took pains to watered them regularly and protected them from cattle graze.

Thimmakka with one of her recognitions. Source: Wikipedia
Thimmakka with one of her recognitions. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Thimmakka has been conferred with many awards for her environmentalist social work like the National Citizens Award in 1996 and Godfrey Philips Award in 2006. The United State’s Thimmakka’s Resources for Environmental Education has been named after her. And a film has been made on her too. But it is bothering to know that despite all her effort and contribution, Thimmakka has only received awards and certificates over the years, but no money to enhance her work. She also dreams of establishing a hospital, but she lacks funds.

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After Chikkayya’s demise in 1991, the trees he planted continue to flourish even today. With total 384 trees sown as saplings in over 50 years, the sweet reaping is brought to the entire world as a contribution towards afforestation. These trees have been planted from Kudur to Hulikal. The locals of the village call her ‘Saalumurada’, which in Kannada means ‘row of trees.’

– prepared by Chetna Karnani at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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Climate Change Not A Hoax: Trump

President Trump signed a declaration Sunday saying the federal government will, for now, pay for 100 percent of the cleanup in Florida

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President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump is backing off his claim that climate change is a hoax.

In an interview broadcast Sunday, Trump told CBS-TV’s 60 Minutes “I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again…I’m not denying climate change, but it could very well go back. You know, we’re talking about over millions of years.”

Trump has over the years called global warming a hoax and had once called it a Chinese plot aimed at wrecking the U.S. economy.

climate change
People clean up their house that was destro. yed by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach. VOA

Trump told 60 Minutes he does not know if global waning is manmade, despite the scientific research showing that pollution and human activity is the major contributor. He said he does not want to give “trillions and trillions of dollars” and lose “millions and millions of jobs” to prevent it.

Most scientists link a warming planet with storms that are more intense. Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle last week as the strongest storm to strike the continental United States in nearly 50 years.

Trump said there have been hurricanes that were “far worse” than Michael and said scientists calling for action on climate change have a “very big political agenda.”

Meanwhile, the town of Mexico Beach, Florida was just about wiped off the face of the earth by Hurricane Michael.

“Mexico Beach is devastated,” Florida Governor Rick Scott says. “It’s like a war zone.”

Climate Change
Scenes of devastation in Mexico Beach, Florida in the aftermath for Hurricane Michael. VOA

Michael’s 250 kilometer per hour winds left only a handful of buildings standing. Concrete slabs are left where houses and stores thrived. Only a few trees are left. The main U.S. highway that goes through the town is not drivable.

Mexico Beach police chief Anthony Kelly told VOA’s Spanish Service, “When you come here and see the devastation, it’s hard, it’s emotionally hard.”

“We know each person in the majority of the houses. They know us,” Kelly said. “All these people are close to us. And now we’re going around the neighborhoods making sure that they’re not in any of these houses that are so extremely damaged.”

“Looking in the debris, seeing photos of grandkids, people that we know that have come back here year after year, that’s the emotional side,” he said. “I’ve got officers that this is their first catastrophic event, and it’s hard to explain to them, you know, it’s going to get better, because they’re seeing reality.”

The town’s medical manager, Patricia Cantwell, said, “It’s extremely sad that the devastation has been so rampant throughout the Panhandle” of the state.

“Having lived through Hurricane Andrew in south Florida (in 1992), it’s going to take a while,” she told VOA. “It’s one day at a time. It looks overwhelming to start, but, you know, one day at a time. It’s going to take years to get things back up and running.”

Climate Change
Scenes of devastation in Mexico Beach, Florida in the aftermath for Hurricane Michael.. VOA

Brock Long, the head Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the death toll in Mexico Beach could rise, as rescue workers continue to search the rubble left behind by the storm. It could take another 10 days to compile a damage estimate.

Some physical structures in the town were lifted off their moorings and moved hundreds of meters away by the winds and storm surge from the storm. Other buildings were left in masses of debris, demolished beyond recognition.

Also Read: US First Lady Melania Trump Starts The Final Leg of Her Africa Trip

President Trump signed a declaration Sunday saying the federal government will, for now, pay for 100 percent of the cleanup in Florida, temporarily easing the financial burden from the state. (VOA)