Plantation Program – 10th August 2019
Cyclones are very common in Odisha. We are on an average hit by 2 cyclones annually. The last names Cyclone Fani caused us great loss. We were geographically hit at one of the populated districts of Odisha -Puri, famous for Lord Jagannatha Temple. We lost many souls (humans, animals, birds and trees). Cyclone Fani was a great set back for us, financially, economically, and socially. Huge number of trees were uprooted, broken and destroyed. The city looked mundane, devastated and lost.
It rains the entire August in Odisha and it was the best time for us to go for our plantation program. We decided to start with 100 trees and picked up a government school in nearby village. We chose the school as the school had boundaries and the school committee assured us that they would care for the plants post plantation program. Although, we fenced the plants with tree guards after the plantation to ensure protection of the plants from playing kids, stray dogs, cattle or cows, if any.
Picture this – Standing in your backyard admiring your landscaping and being surrounded by the buzz of bees, the hum of hummingbirds and watching the color of butterflies bounce from one flower to the next. This scene, although beautiful, is becoming rare. We can combat this loss in our own backyards, and front yards, by planting native plants. There are so many species of plants that we can add to our landscaping regardless of the size of our property.
Deforestation has led to great climatic changes. Our city is getting hot, hotter day by day. In order to battle climate change, we would need to plant 1 trillion trees globally. Is that even feasible? Yes, I think it probably is; however, there has to be some thought and planning that goes into it—not just haphazardly planting trees where there is space.
Imagine your normal day: working, going to school, running errands, and coming home only to find that your home has been broken into or destroyed! This is the reality for wildlife all around the globe. Many people focus their attention on faraway places like the Amazon forests and they do not realize that it may be happening right now—in their own backyards! Most homeowners are not aware of all of the wildlife who also call their property home.
We want to restore our natural ecosystems, not reforest the entire world. In countries that have had massive deforestation, planting millions of trees to reforest those countries is economically, socially and culturally necessary for the country to become sustainable. Just this week it was reported in the national news, Ethiopia had broken a world record and planted 353 million tree seedlings in 12 hours to help farmers get out of poverty, as well as mitigate the effects of drought, flood, soil erosion, land degradation and climate change.
Planting trees larger than seedlings and having a maintenance plan in place ensures that trees have a better chance at reaching maturity to provide those numerous environmental benefits.
Over the years, we’ve planted many other native trees and shrubs to add beauty and diversity. We regularly enjoy picnics in the shade of the oaks, take pictures of the butterflies and climb the beautiful trees. Even so, it seems we often fail to appreciate just how much trees add to our everyday lives.
These are not ‘just trees’. They are living treasures that we are leaving behind for the next generations.