150 trees when she is 15, 300 when she is 30 and, 800 when she is 80! In this manner, Kavya promises to plant ten times her age in trees every birthday.
Sonam Wangchuk, an innovator and education reformist, recently tweeted about a girl in Hyderabad who pledged to plant trees on her birthday. What is unique about her decision is that the number of trees would be ten times the birth year being celebrated.
So, this year, as she turned 15, she pledged to plant 150 trees.
“Planting 150 trees may not be a very significant relief to the environment considering the rampant deforestation across the world. But if each one of us plant the number of saplings even two times our age, it can bring a huge difference. We have the potential to leave clean air for future generations,” says Kavya Shah who celebrated her 15th birthday on 29 November.
Inspired by Wangchuk’s latest initiative—‘I Live Simply’ (ILS), the Hyderabad born girl purchased 150 saplings of guava, of which she planted 25 and distributed the rest among her friends and relatives as a return gift.
The Spark of Inspiration
“I met Wangchuk sir when he was in Hyderabad during the ILS meet. He led a very inspiring discussion on creative ways to work for the betterment of the environment and suggested to plant more trees. I really loved the idea of planting trees 10 times the number of my age,” Kavya, a student of class 10, tells The Better India (TBI).
The entire Shah family began Kavya’s birthday by planting trees in public places including roadside areas, parks close to their house and even in Kavya’s school.
Kavya and her mother, Charmi even entreated their family and friends to participate in the initiative.
“Many parents called us the next day and praised the gesture which became an interesting way to educate kids about why trees are our lifeline. Our friends and family told us about how they planted 147 saplings at home and outdoors. As Mr Wangchuk said, kids are the end army and they have to decide how they want their future to be through their actions,” says Charmi.
In addition to the plantation drive, the family used compostable plates and steel cutlery to make the celebrations eco-friendly and drive the ‘say-no-to-plastic’ message home, informs Charmi.
Kavya’s inspiration speaks
Lauding Kavya’s efforts, Wangchuk tells TBI, “When there are challenges, we need to form new traditions. As an individual, you may not be able to stop them, but the least you can do is to plant a tree and make up for what we have destroyed. Kavya’s efforts are very positive and encouraging and what better occasion than birthdays. With trees, breathe life into the ecosystem. I hope this new tradition travels across the world.”
Kavya’s efforts show that celebrations need not be enjoyed at the cost of the environment. Kudos to her for setting an example for her contemporaries especially in light of the response that Wangchuk’s tweet is garnering.
“Great initiative. I will also start with my son. He is going to be five in March,” replied one of his followers.
I hope it snowballs into a bigger initiative. Fingers crossed.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)