Campaign to save trees

Rapid urbanisation and technology have taken a toll on trees, as people have stopped planting them.

By Anwsha Ambaly
  • Published 20.07.18
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A youngster at the My Tree campaign in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar: Rapid urbanisation and technology have taken a toll on trees, as people have stopped planting them.

An initiative by a group of youngsters to create awareness about trees has garnered appreciation from various quarters.

Bakul Foundation launched its 10th edition of My Tree campaign with ambitious plans and announcements at the Bakul Library in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

The event was attended by 100 volunteers. Educator Debi Prasanna Pattanayak, secretary of state sports and youth affairs Vishal Dev, dancer Aruna Mohanty, sportsperson Padmini Rout and young entrepreneurs attended the event.

Sujit Mahapatra, who started the initiative, said back in 2009 when the campaign was started volunteers wanted to do something to stop the rapid felling of trees.

"It was realised that even through many trees were planted most of them couldn't survive due to lack of care after the plantation. Moreover, efforts to plant trees and save the planet had no impact," he said.

So, the volunteers came up with the idea of promoting planting and gifting trees.

"The campaign aims to establish a personal relationship with plants which happens when one plants or gifts trees on occasions such as child birth, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. Once, there is a personal association with plants and one sees the plants having new leaves and flowers, a person is attached to it. Moreover, while gifting a plant a powerful message on the importance of trees is send across," he said.

The campaign has innovative activities such as celebrations of fake birthdays in which volunteers hang out with friends in cafes to celebrate someone's fake birthday and gift a plant on the occasion so that all others in the café notice that a tree was gifted at a birthday celebration.

Similarly, volunteers have conducted road shows on bullock carts gifting trees. The sight of young volunteers on a bullock cart in the city attracts attention and the volunteers use it as an excuse to talk to people about gifting plants.

"There is plan to come up with a system of gifting plants to newborn babies and to owners of new houses and vehicles. A comic strip is also being planned," Mahapatra said.