Sustainable Ecological Solutions
These immense footbridges, sometimes suspended from tens of meters high, were created from living tree roots simply moved to shape them. The trees that the villagers use are ficus elastica, rubber trees. Their roots grow in the open air and with heavy rains they become very malleable. This is how the people of this jungle build bridges. Trees took root on both sides of the shore in the 19th century. Then, it took decades for the lianas to thicken. It takes at least twenty years for the roots to grow and turn into real bridges.
The subtropical forest of Meghalaya is among the wettest on the planet and therefore among the most lush. It stretches over thousands of square kilometers, a green lung. This beautiful Indian forest, however, is different from so many others.
Indeed, the particularity of Meghalaya: its natural root bridges!
SDG Plus, a Swiss-based SLX Learning e-learning community dedicated to sustainability, recently posted a video about this beautiful forest and its people, which you can check out below
Meghalaya’s Living Root Bridges
Don’t hesitate … follow our YouTube channel and click the bell!
If you want to explore and learn more about sustainability now, the SDG Plus community gives you access to educational videos and blogs on the topic, in English, French and German.
Sustainability written into the genes
These bridges are 76 meters long on average and last 250 years. To maintain them, everyone must get involved, generation after generation. The techniques applied, unique in the world, are not taught in a formal setting. These villagers say it’s their hands that start moving, and their brains figure out how to improve the structure. The roots live in their hearts, in their bodies… they rely on what they feel inside to create these bridges.
These bridges are not just for decoration. Far from there. They are used every day by hundreds of members of the Khasi tribe, who live in this forest, in the heart of mountainous plateaus. These bridges are essential to connect them to other villages. They allow them to go to work when it is the monsoon and the rivers are full. This tribe lives in harmony with the forest. It has passed through the ages and saved its traditional way of life.
Community learning to fight plastic pollution
An association was created to educate residents to take care of and repair these root bridges. Modern pollution is also starting to be a problem; the waste management has not been formally established. The bridges are polluted because of plastic waste. Classes have started so that the plastic disappears and the bridges become clean again.
If you are interested in learning more about the topic of sustainability, visit hub.slxlearning.com where many multilingual courses are available.
These living structures have also become tourist attractions. Every day between 500 and 2000 people visit this place. In a way, these bridges bond. People from north to south India come to discover them. This unites the local community with their colleagues.
The natural bridges of Meghalaya are a fine example of a sustainable project dating back several centuries, harmonizing nature and human way of life. The local government wishes to register these living bridges as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This recognition would crown the architectural genius of these works which have continued to grow and strengthen for hundreds of years.
Let us be inspired by ancient peoples and their cultures in order to find lasting solutions to our current planetary problems by learning online on hub.slxlearning.com multilingual site, whether you are in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland online learning by your side!