Caught in the crossfire of forest destruction and poaching, the tiger is fast slipping towards extinction. The tiger's slide is being mirrored by a rising tide of climate-related problems facing every country in the world, particularly India.
The voice of the tiger says: "Leave Me Alone". All it needs to survive is sufficient forested space, plus isolation and protection from humans. In return its regenerated forests offer humans their only real hope to counter the worst impacts of climate change, by turning nature's self-repairing systems over to the task of sequestering and storing carbon, moderating floods and droughts and ensuring both water and food security. Community-owned Nature Conservancies could also offer employment to millions of people on the Indian subcontinent.
- Prime Minister of India
Mr. Narendra Modi
Dear Prime Minister,
Sub: "Leave Me Alone" Save the Tiger Petition
We citizens of India and of countries all over the world want to save the tiger. We know, too, that the fate of the tiger, the climate, and human populations across Asia are intertwined. We are a small, interdependent world. Humans are as dependent on a healthy biosphere as the biosphere is now dependent upon our wise actions. The tiger, a metaphor for all of nature, is an indicator species, its well-being signifying that undisturbed forests are sequestering carbon dioxide in their biomass and soils, protecting and moderating the flow of clean water, and securing the future of biodiversity.
Tigers and humans need the services that undisturbed forests provide. This is not merely a sentimental wish. It is a material, physical imperative, bound up with the happiness, well-being, and security of our own species. India has much to be proud of – despite, or perhaps because of the pressures of supporting a vast human population, it has understood the wisdom of protecting the natural environment without which that population cannot survive. But India’s natural environment and her national animal have never been more threatened than they are as you read this letter. Experts agree that there are about 1,800 wild tigers alive in India today, living in disconnected forests. Each week, India loses still more tigers to poachers, thoughtless development and illegal encroachments that threaten the natural foundations on which our own and our children’s futures depend.
We charge you and your government to redouble your efforts to guarantee a secure future for your people by protecting the tiger and its forests. Use the tiger. Use it as a powerful, globally-revered symbol of the natural world, and of the ecosystem services on which our own species depends. The tiger will do most of the work for you – this is an animal in its evolutionary prime, threatened only by humans. Stop the killing of tigers, stop the destruction of their forests, all forests, and nature's self-repairing systems will do the rest.
The tiger’s “Leave Me Alone” call is being echoed by each of us individually, as world citizens who understand that all the tiger needs from us is forested space, isolation and protection from humans. We also know that all human aspirations and endeavours are dependent on the survival of the natural planetary processes that we are relentlessly destabilising.
We ask, no, we respectfully demand, that you take immediate steps to save the tiger and its forests, in the recognition that if we lose the tiger, we will lose our own futures.
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