Forests

Earth Day 2021: Why we need to pledge to save our forests

The last few years have seen us sabotage our own future by degrading our forests. It’s time we learn from our lessons and treat Mother Nature with love and kindness

 
By Bikrant Tiwary
Published: Thursday 22 April 2021

As we gear up to celebrate Earth Day, this period might be a good time to pause and reflect on the health and well-being of our planet. The theme for this year’s Earth Day focuses on practices and initiatives that can ‘Restore Our Earth’.

Come to think of it, restoration of Earth does not necessarily mean extravagant movements or big budgets; it’s all about understanding the current state of our environment and taking small steps to restore its lost beauty.

Planting trees, managing our waste, using our natural resources mindfully and generating awareness about environmental conservation are a few ways to embark on the journey of restoring our planet.

Environment degradation and climate crisis are the outcomes of the combined effect of a variety of factors. These include depletion of resources like air, water, and soil, overpopulation, destruction of natural habitats and ecosystems, pollution and deforestation. When it comes to India, the ever-increasing population has led to a rampant rise in advancement and urbanisation.

In the midst of urbanisation, we seemed to forget that a healthy planet is necessary to support our work and livelihood as well as health and happiness. Humanity started encroaching forests for commercial purposes, failing to understand that development cannot take place at the cost of environmental degradation.

As forests were being sabotaged, our environment and wildlife suffered tremendously. Needless to say, the felling of trees is one of the primary causes of climate change, loss of biodiversity, increase in greenhouse gases, loss of homeland and natural disasters.

When we harm forests for our selfish needs, we fail to understand that our reckless activities have a significant impact on the wildlife and rural communities. Animals rely on forests for food, shelter, perching, nesting, sites of reproduction and hunting. When their natural habitats are tampered with, they are compelled to invade human settlements in search of food and shelter.

Nearly 25 per cent of India’s total land area is under forest cover today, however, the target of having over 33 per cent of its area under forest cover still stands at a distance. I believe that planting trees has the power and potential to transform our environmental condition by leaps and bounds.

Grow-Trees.com is established on the same belief. Our organisation offers an opportunity to greet your family, friends, employees, or colleagues with a gift that will continue to nourish and provide for our needs for years to come.

When you greet someone with a tree, you’re not only benefitting the environment and wildlife but also the tribals and rural communities that depend on forests for food and livelihood.

In order to achieve our green cover target, more and more forest land needs to be brought under government protection. Public organisations that allow people to contribute towards the betterment of our environment and the Earth, at large need to be set up to bridge the gap between humans and the environment.

We will be able to protect our biodiversity and save our planet if we support, encourage and spread awareness regarding all practices and organisations that have set out to rehabilitate our ecosystems through consistent efforts.

With the help of a large number of people and organizations, Grow-Trees.com has been successful in planting over seven million trees across 23 Indian states which have created approximately over 700,000 days of employment for rural communities.

These trees are also expected to sequester over 150 million kilograms of atmospheric carbon every year, upon maturity. It is important to note that the support of individuals and organizations is extremely crucial for any organisation that works towards environmental concerns.

The ongoing battle with the novel coronavirus has brought our relationship with the environment to the forefront. If we continue to exploit the environment without making any efforts for its restoration and repair, intense heat waves, infectious diseases, changes in ecosystems and loss of biodiversity are inevitable. As a society, we need to be cognizant of our actions to prevent the onset of the consequences of global warming.

We do not need an impulsive or hasty action towards the environment. Individuals and corporations need to understand that our environment can recuperate only when we indulge in a sustained enhancement of our planet’s health.

Our commitment towards the restoration of our planet aims to inspire and encourage people from far and wide in planting more and more trees. We aim to plant seven million trees in the coming monsoon season with the help of more individuals, organizations and local communities.

The last few years have seen us sabotage our own future by degrading our forests. It’s time we learn from our lessons and treat Mother Nature with love and kindness. The impending disasters of climate change can be avoided only if we adopt sustainable habits and collectively work towards saving our planet.

Together, we can save our planet’s glorious beauty for future generations.

Here are a few lines by the former Secretary-General of The United Nations, Ban Ki-moon that resonate with me even today:

Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.

Bikrant Tiwary is CEO of Grow-Trees.com

Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Down To Earth

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