While weekends are the perfect days to laze about, they also consist of key hours during which we, as inhabitants of Earth, can actively engage with issues that matter. Last Sunday, Mumbai-based hip-hop school The Dharavi Dream Project (TDDP — Asia’s largest afterschool of hip-hop), graffiti collective Wicked Broz and civilian welfare initiative MRRWA (Military Road Residents Welfare Association) joined hands for a tree plantation drive, turning hip-hop into a medium of environmental change (#HipHopEkMadhyam — Hip-Hop: A Universal Channel). Christened the Back 2 The Roots Jam, the event riffed on the elements of hip-hop to encourage people to engage with the urgent environmental crisis.
As climate change threatens the lives of every species on the planet, the organizers honoured hip-hop’s spirit of awareness and education through a breaking workshop organized by TDDP. This class, led by the b-boys and b-girls of TDDP, highlighted the causes and effects of climate change through dance.
The breaking workshop was followed by a graffiti and street art workshop by Wicked Broz (that also runs the vibrant Marol Art Village). This class helped participants learn more about the high stakes of saving an ailing planet as well as portray their ideas for a better future. These activities were preceded by a tree plantation drive spearheaded by the city-based collectives who gathered in Marol’s Bharatvan park, an eco-haven nurtured by the MRRWA since the late 1990s.
The trailblazing artists and brilliant students of TDDP planted 100 tree saplings in Bharatvan before using #HipHopEkMadhyam to advocate and spread knowledge about how we, as individuals, can save our environment.
The created graffiti stands colourful and resplendent, encased on a wall at Bharatvan, harbouring the hope for a bright future for the Earth and its inhabitants. Decked in environment-friendly messaging such as ‘SAVE TREES,’ the mural showcases a Mumbai wherein lush greenery stands alongside cutting-edge infrastructure, one built bearing in mind the conscious effect on the other, marking a way forward for the city.
Says Dolly Rateshwar (Co-founder, The Dharavi Dream Project): “Graffiti and Street Art can be controversial for many. But for some, it is a medium for voices, a channel for social change and saving our environment. Through the Back 2 The Roots Jam, we at TDDP endeavoured to engage with the urgent consequences of deforestation and land conflict, as well as advocate for planting more trees to save our ecology and sustain life on the planet. The street art crew of TDDP alongside Wicked Broz and MRRWA collectively created awareness about the damage caused by unregulated construction and reduction in Earth’s green cover through hip-hop’s sub-elements of Graffiti and Breaking. We couldn’t have partnered with better organizations than MRRWA and Wicked Broz for this initiative and we hope it makes a difference.”
Says Suresh Nair (Head, MRRWA): “Over the years, MRRWA has stood for all things positive for society, be it garden development or waste management. MRRWA has also engaged with civic issues, interacted with the Police, BMC and elected representatives; sometimes even confronting various authorities and individuals to resolve pressing social issues. Bharatvan is a shining example of public participation. In the late 90s, MRRWA converted a barren, abandoned quarry into a 6-acres wide mini rain forest. Today, that area is Bharatvan which boasts more than 850 trees and shrubs, as well as scores of birds, butterflies and several species of reptiles. We are glad to have joined hands with The Dharavi Dream Project and Wicked Broz to give back to the environment during Diwali by planting 100 more trees,”
Says Omkar Dhareshwar (Co-founder, Wicked Broz and Creator, Marol Art Village): “We are working towards creating an ecosystem where any artist can come and learn, nurture their skills and find a platform to showcase their talents. The perfect synergy between the artist and resident community found at the Marol Art Village is what makes Marol the perfect center for this movement. We are thrilled to have worked with TDDP and MRRWA to do our bit to save the planet. We plan to make this activity a recurring one; teaching kids the value of nature while having some fun!”
Humanity might be facing its biggest extinction event yet, but it’s not too late to save our world as we know it. As climate change becomes an immediate reality, it’s imperative that every person does their part. The good news is that the climate effort can be shouldered by one and all, in ways big and small. Whether one spends their weekend planting trees or advocating for climate change awareness through art, every human being forms the one drop in the ocean that makes it all count. Join and engage with TDDP, Wicked Broz and MRRWA to be the changemakers today so that humanity may usher in a fruitful tomorrow.
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