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These 10 Green Warriors Are Helping the World Breathe Easy by Planting as Many Trees as They Can

The pure love for trees and the environment led these extraordinary individuals into taking the concept of tree plantation to another level!

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Trees are a link between the past, present and future. With exponential decrease in forest cover worldwide, the only way we can save trees is by consciously acting towards environment conservation.

Disturbed by the perilous impact that rampant deforestation, fuelled by development and infrastructure projects, has over the environment, many individuals have turned into green crusaders over the years.

Here are 10 extraordinary Indians, who took it upon themselves in caring for the environment and planting as many trees as they could.

1. To thank the planet for being our home

The seven-year-old green warrior. Source: Facebook.

A 7-year-old girl travelled all the way to India from New Jersey with her family, with a mission of planting 750 trees – the number being a total of the years each member of the family had spent living on Earth. Worried by the repercussions of climate change and global warming, Isha Blokhra requested her father’s birthday be celebrated in a different way!

Through the Daler Mehndi Green Drive, the Blokhra family managed to plant 250 trees in Delhi last month.

You can read more about the amazing initiative here.

2. The forest man from Assam

The forest man of India. Source: Foopers.

In 1979, when a young man from Assam noticed a large number of snakes dying due to a lack of tree cover, he set out on a mission with 50 seeds and 25 bamboo plants.

Jadav ‘Molai’ Payeng, who was 16 at the time, was disturbed by the decline in forest cover and subsequent death of animals.

Today, a thriving dense forest, stretching over 1,360 acres stands in its place, thanks to Jadav, also known as the forest man of India. It is home to Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, over 100 deer and rabbits, apes, several varieties of birds including a large number of vultures and snakes.

You can read Jadav’s complete story here.

3. Painting Rajasthan Green, one sapling at a time

What started in 2003 as a collective effort to resuscitate a few Neem trees in the Government Dungar College campus, Bikaner, later saw Shyam Sundar Jyani, an associate professor of the college, and his students planting saplings across the state for 11 years.

Convincing the village folks about the advantages of having trees for not just shade but fodder as well, the man has managed to create a mass movement in western Rajasthan. Till date, over 6,25,000 saplings have been planted across 15 to 20 Gram Panchayats in over 2,500 villages in the arid, drought-prone regions of the state.

You can read more about Shyam Sundar Jyani’s green crusade here.

4. From Barren Land to Lush Forest

The green crusaders of Punshilok. Source: Facebook.

In 2003, Moirangthem Loiya Ngamba was scouting for land to create a green space for the local communities in Manipur and ended up stumbling upon Punshilok, an unkempt, rock-strewn patch of land with some weeds grown on it and a stream flowing nearby.

Along with a few friends, Moirangthem cleared the area of weeds, followed by cleaning and de-silting the stream. Soon, a major afforestation drive began, with young boys and girls working relentlessly towards making the once barren hill green.

Today, Punshilok is a thriving forest that is home to several species of wild animals such as pangolins, barking deer, porcupine and several species of birds.

Read the complete story behind Punshilok’s transformation here.

5. Making Bengaluru green again

A need for change followed by love for the city led Kapil Sharma, a software engineer, to become the green crusader for Bengaluru. Moving from Chhattisgarh to the garden city 16 years ago, the decreasing green cover in the city worried the young man, which led him to planting trees on weekends in 2007. In just about eight years, he ended up planting over 35,000 saplings and organised numerous plantation drives.


Plant a Tree and Gift a Living is an attempt by The Better India along side NAATA Foundation to plant 5000 fruit trees in Aarey Milk Colony, Mumbai. Each of these saplings need an approximate amount of Rs 100 for their nourishment over the next 2-3 years, after which they will be sufficient to supplement the income of the community by adding an additional source of livelihood, while also restoring the green cover of the area.

Contribute for the campaign here.

Unable to view the above button? Click here


In time, Kapil became increasingly determined to plant more trees in and around the city and soon ‘Say Trees’ took birth in 2007, giving a more aggressive push to his efforts. Today, with a team of like-minded people, the organisation has been able to plant more than 85,000 saplings across cities.

Find out about Kapil’s story here.

6. The tree-loving cop from Alappuzha

Source: Hindustan Times.

Guardian to more than one lakh saplings, this Kerala police inspector loves trees so much that he carries saplings and shovels in his official vehicle.

Districts of Alappuzha and Ernakulam have roads and walkways that are lined with trees cared for by V Vidyadharan, who took to the green journey almost 40 years ago. Despite having been laughed at, this man never stopped. In fact, on his daughter’s wedding, guess what the guests were treated to as return gifts?

Saplings!

You can read more on the tree-loving cop here.

7. Coimbatore’s own green crusader

For representation purpose only. Source: Flickr

A bus conductor working for the Tamil Nadu State Road Transport Corporation (TNSTC), Yoganathan single-handedly planted over 1 lakh trees across 32 districts in the state in the last 28 years.

A native of Mayiladuthurai, he was amazed by the beauty of the Nilgiris, where he worked as a sales representative after finishing school. After having witnessed trees being smuggled out, a furious Yoganathan was ignited to work towards the conservation of environment.

When he is not planting trees, Yoganathan works with local schools and colleges, educating the students on protecting trees and the dangers of tree felling, and organises plantation drives and environmental awareness programmes, under which each sapling is named after the child who plants it.

You can read the rest of Yoganathan’s story here.

8.  A WhatsApp group for plantation drives

An auto rickshaw driver from Thane, Purushottam Das Gupta couldn’t just sit back and watch while the trees on either side of the roads were being mercilessly struck down for development purposes. And neither were the ones planted in their place being protected.

Purushottam took upon himself to plant trees and care for them. Carrying a 15 litre canister full of water, the man not only tends to old trees on the roadside, but plants new ones too. Encouraging every person whom he meets, Purushottam has also created a WhatsApp group where he shares the calendar of tree plantation activities.

You can read Purushottam Das Gupta’s story here.

9. Fruit trees, anyone?

radhika1

A 53-year-old resident of Delhi planted over 1,10,000 fruit trees last year.

Radhika Anand, who is an environmentalist, joined hands with the Indian Army to achieve this feat and ended up planting mango, tamarind, blackberry, and jackfruit trees in and around Army formations across North India, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. She used her own resources and savings for the plantation drives, with contributions from some of her friends.

Daughter of a former Air Force officer, Radhika runs a self-funded organisation called Plantology that takes green initiatives across the country and has worked with the Ministry of Environment, Delhi Government and many corporate organizations towards raising awareness about environment conservation and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

You can read Radhika’s complete story here.

10. Green chronicles from Palakkad

Shyam’s world – his home, his auto, his trees.

One autorickshaw driver’s efforts have led people to planting 23,000 trees around his village of Thenkurrisi.

Around 16 years ago, Shyam Kumar, an avid reader, chanced upon a 2,000-year-old book called Vrikshayurvedam, which gave him great insight about trees and forests. Propelled by the idea, he started researching to learn more about the trees that grew well in his village.

Starting around his house, Shyam planted some large shade trees and some fruit trees that could attract birds, squirrels and bats. Initially driving the initiative all by himself, he was accompanied by his wife in his efforts after his marriage and today, his children too help him care for the environment.


Plant a Tree and Gift a Living is an attempt by The Better India along side NAATA Foundation to plant 5000 fruit trees in Aarey Milk Colony, Mumbai. Each of these saplings need an approximate amount of Rs 100 for their nourishment over the next 2-3 years, after which they will be sufficient to supplement the income of the community by adding an additional source of livelihood, while also restoring the green cover of the area.

Contribute for the campaign here.

Unable to view the above button? Click here


On seeing Shyam work towards keeping the environment healthy, others in the village also joined in his initiative and helped him plant 23,000 saplings within a radius of 15km around the village.

You can read more about Shyam’s activities here.

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.