Earth Day has arrived. And most of us are still using the decades old excuse of lack of time and resources to contribute towards our planet. But Pradip Shah has a simple and inexpensive solution for the super busy.
Having enabled people to plant 1.6 million trees in a span of six years in a way that takes less than a few minutes of one’s time, Pradip Shah has made tree planting an effortless job. Thousands of individuals and hundreds of companies have associated with his social venture known as Grow-Trees, and have helped plant these trees. What’s more, they have dedicated these trees to others by using attractive eTreeCertificates generated by the Grow-Trees website.
At 63, the ever enthusiastic Pradip Shah is constantly brewing with ideas and infusing exuberance in his young team at Grow-Trees.
His cue to start this unique venture came from an event that took place abroad in 1990 – it inspired him and made him eager to replicate the idea in India. Pradip Shah has been iconic in founding India’s first and largest Credit Rating Agency, CRISIL, and has provided technical assistance and training to various credit rating agencies across countries such as Rating Agency Malaysia Berhad in Malaysia and MAALOT in Israel.
The Israelis did something unique to honour him, which both overwhelmed Pradip and left him thinking. They planted a garden of 100 trees in his honour. He soon learnt about the Israeli culture of planting trees to celebrate occasions and realised how the country has succeeded in pushing the desert back. Being an ardent nature lover, he became eager to instil the same culture in his own country, where he sees how forests are fast diminishing despite the fact that trees are worshipped here.
After long research and acquisition of important resources, he finally started a project in 2009, and officially launched www.grow-trees.com in 2010. The venture was co-founded with his son Karan Shah, also an environment enthusiast and an MBA from Harvard Business School. The father-son duo managed to connect with some of the best planting partners in the country, who could not just plant trees on the ground but also take on the responsibility for their upkeep.
His creation Grow-Trees has been planting trees in 21 projects across eight states in India and has reforested more than 4000 acres of land.
The trees are planted only on public lands and will benefit the communities living in the area by means of umpteen types of resources and will also help society in general. The projects have already generated over a hundred thousand workdays of jobs for the individuals (especially rural women) living in the project areas where they contribute during the nursery raising and planting activities. This earns them additional income and also motivates them to look forward to obtaining fruits, flowers and fodder from the trees planted.
The process of planting trees and dedicating them, using Grow-Trees, is extremely swift and user-friendly.
People are dedicating the trees on birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, festivals, weddings, memorials, and many more occasions, thereby helping the planet too.
The website also allows for multiple people to plant a grove of trees and dedicate it to one person using a single collective certificate. It also allows users to track their tree planting locations, using the unique eTreeCertificate numbers. Planters are also given a choice of projects where they can have their tree(s) planted – such as the Sundarbans in West Bengal, Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan, or to benefit rural communities such as at Nimbhora in Maharashtra.
The price of planting a tree and dedicating an eTreeCertificate is just Rs. 85.
Pradip’s vision of people moving away from gifting conventional greeting cards and planting trees to greet instead, is a real tribute to planet earth. Cutting trees for greeting cards and planting trees to greet are vertically opposite notions. And this Earth Day definitely calls for the latter. Busy people indeed have no excuse now to not contribute – they can do so with just the click of some buttons.
This Earth Day, make a difference!
Unable to view the above button? Click here to donate