Nature warriors who have planted millions of trees to make India greener, healthier
On World Nature Conservation Day, join this social organisation to Greet with Trees®
New Delhi: World Nature Conservation Day is observed on July 28th, annually, to underscore the importance of a healthy environment. The day also brings the collective focus back on the conservation of Earth’s natural resources such as air, minerals, plants, soil, water, and wildlife. Among the many nature warriors working to restore the planet’s health is the social organisation Grow-Trees.com which uses a holistic approach to protect eco-fragility, enrich biodiversity and replenish natural resources for the benefit of communities and wildlife.
Their work is particularly important because it does not exist in isolation but engages local communities, individuals and even corporate entities in afforestation drives. Environment expert Bikrant Tiwary, CEO of Grow-Trees.com believes that on World Nature Conservation Day, we must individually and collectively resolve to do better as the citizens of this planet because to consume the earth’s resources like there is no tomorrow, is no longer an option. The writing on the wall, he says, is clear and only when individuals and companies recognize the impact of their actions on the environment, can there be sustainable and lasting change. That is why every afforestation drive helmed by Grow-Trees.com is about engagement and outreach. In every plantation initiative, the green warriors of the rural and tribal communities also play a critical role.
Says Bikrant, “Trees form an integral part of the routine health care system of the tribals and local communities and they cannot be left out of plantation processes. We also make sure that we fully understand local topography, species adaptability, climatic factors, etc before planting trees. The tree plantation initiatives are also aimed at alleviating man-animal conflict, health disorders, soil erosion, and natural disasters that have been spiralling due to habitat fragmentation and inadequate use of natural resources.”
In the process, Grow-Trees.com has also generated approximately over 740,000 days of employment for rural communities that can earn a livelihood by helping to plant and nurture the saplings. In 2020 alone, Grow-Trees.com planted over 2.6 million trees with the help of locals to mitigate the effects of reverse migration during the pandemic and also trained communities in bee-keeping, fishery techniques and processes to rejuvenate water bodies. Locals also benefit from the forest produce when trees mature. Many members of plantation teams like Guru Sudama Waghe and Devi, a nursery worker from the afforestation project in Villupuram say that such initiatives have helped them to earn their livelihood with dignity and a sense of purpose.
Says Bikrant Tiwary, “We have also been working to improve the green cover in our cities as they are turning into oxygen-deprived concrete jungles. Not too long ago, oxygen bars were set up in Delhi and I wonder if this will be our future. The irony is that more and more people are willing to invest in purifiers or oxygen bars instead of redirecting their energy, time, and money towards planting trees. We fail to realize that trees are the ultimate air purifiers cities need more of. By filtering particulate matter and pollutants, and sequestering tons of atmospheric carbon, trees act as natural air filters. If we make no changes in our lifestyle and habits and our indifference towards the environment remains the same, our future generations will never know what a breath of fresh air feels like.”