One Million Greens- From thought to action

I remember the time when I sat down with Navin Patil, an ardent supporter of the Green Saviours work and he came up with this idea. He said, “Can we commence a project to plant a million trees in the coming five years in and around Belagavi?”. Sounded fantastic and I said “Yes, we can!”. Thus the idea of OMG- One Million Greens was born.

Going by conservative estimates, nearly one crore units that comprised native vegetation in the Western Ghats region near Belagavi, Karnataka have been lost in the past three decades. Human intrusion in the form of infrastructure projects, especially roads and housing, monoculture plantations and the present craze of private resorts have wreaked havoc upon these spaces.

This has severely impacted the climate and resulted in erratic weather patterns. The instances of flooding are also on a rise because there no longer is sufficient vegetation to hold the water. Barren spaces have increased soil erosion and enhanced the prospects of landslides. Farmlands in villages have lost productivity and the farmers have commenced urban migration and in some cases have given up on agriculture. Animal intrusions have become more frequent and further compounded farmer distress.

Although this is almost beginning to sound like an essay on the status of the Western Ghats, it is just a summation of around 16 months of travel to around 30 villages and endless conversations with the residents. The experiences over the past 18 months have been enriching and the learning seems to just go on and on.

They key learning have been thus:

1. In order to restore the Ghats, it is important to involve the people living there. It is only they who can help us accomplish this. Their socioeconomic problems too need to be accommodated because, after all, they are the real keepers of the region

2. It is nice to have a tree count but in the process we should not forget the little plants and shrubs that occupy the spaces under the trees since they too play a vital role in not just ensuring biodiversity at all levels but also in ensuring soil health and preventing soil erosion.

3. Techniques like the Miyawaki Method may suit urban spaces where the land available is scarce but one needs to consider a different and more relevant methodology as we go about restoring lands that are part of the forest ecosystems.

As we go about working on our mission OMG, it is imperative that we accommodate these issues and more since only then we will be able to accomplish a satisfactory restoration.

As the project is set to kick start in Monsoon 2022, we look forward to setting right as much of the mess as possible. And since the Ghats govern the weather across the nation if not beyond, it is a mission that we need to carefully execute with a great sense of logic and responsibility.

Stay tuned for the action plan…..

#green_saviours #trees4theplanet #onemilliongreens #westernghatsofindia #ecologicalrestoration

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Six years of Green Saviours

It’s been a little over 6 years since we commenced work as the Green Saviours team. It all started with a simple idea that planting trees is good for the planet. Since inception, we have continued unabated for 322 consecutive Sundays and have planted over 50,000 trees including 15 mini forests using the Miyawaki Method or a variant of the same.

As we look back to claim some achievements for ourselves, the one thing that stands out is the consistency of work. People from all walks of life who are part of our team and hundreds of volunteers from various educational institutions in Belagavi have been a part of this wonderful journey. What makes the commitment even more special is the sacrifices of nearly 50 team members who have worked in Sundays, forgoing their family time.

As we gear up for scaling up the work ahead and undertake work to restore the Western Ghats by planting native species in collaboration with the villagers and the Department of Forestry, the task gets more challenging given the multiple variables that come into play. But the work that we have done over the years and the learning will ensure that we make the significant difference that we promised to make for ourselves and humanity at large.

Here’s to a Greener planet and a better future for the generations ahead!!

#greensaviours #green_saviours #trees4theplanet #ecologicalrestoration

Necessity- the Mother of Invention

Climatic adversity seems fine as long as it is distant from home. There is a feeling of lament and pity for those that are affected but it never really does manage to translate into a wake up call. It is only then, when trouble comes knocking the door that one concocts thoughts that are laced with the possibility of translating into action.The year 2015 was a testing time for the city of Belagavi. The rains failed, something that hadn’t happened in what seems like ages. The city best known for its decent rainfall and predictably pleasant weather found less favour with the elements of nature. It just refused to rain. Climate change had come knocking at the door. The water supplies dwindled over the year and March 2016 saw a situation when water tankers seemed the only solution. The demand set the equations of price and the cost of water provisions touched never seen highs.Conservation of water and it’s miserly usage seemed to be the only way out. The most dreaded thought was, ” What if Mother Nature decides to take a holiday for another year?”. Was the city doomed.On one hot summer morning, a sudden barrage of thoughts came to mind. Why is it so? What has changed? How can we make it rain again? Can we do something to change the mind of Mother Nature?Prospecting for sanity amongst pessimistic dominance, one clear childhood lesson, echoed in the ears. The answer seemed obvious. The anger of the rain gods was probably due to the destruction of forests in the vicinity. It was time to take that one tiny step which, maybe, over a span of a decade, would force Mother Nature to reconsider. It was time to plant trees. After all, trees contribute to rainfall, don’t they?With this thought in mind, a word was put out in the expanses of the social media. It was time to seek the like minded and to invite them into joining hands towards a cause which, maybe, one day, would alter the landscape and consequently the fortunes of the region.Responses gradually crept in and on 3rd April 2016, the seeds of optimism were sown. The first meeting of the Green Saviours team happened in Nath Pai Garden at Tilakwadi, Belagavi.

First Meeting on 3rd April 2016

Necessity has always been the mother of invention and thus was it again. The scarce rains of 2015 had brought together some friends and strangers to undertake a mission that would go on to become an indulgence for some and a purpose for others who chose to go beyond deeds of conventional define.

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

The third rock from the sun is not just a place we inhabit but a habitat where we coexist with millions of other species. It is not a planet that we own but certainly the one that we are responsible for.

Green Saviours is a platform to channelize human thought, energy and effort to ensure that we do not take our existence for granted.

Dedicating this humble effort to the future of this planet.

This is a tale of humans who chose to go beyond routine in a quest to undo the damages that we have inflicted since we assumed the mantle of being Homo Sapiens.