Climatic changes in the environment have become the biggest threat of the century. Many of the new and recurring epidemics are fueled by a warming atmosphere which is accelerating the disappearance of species spawning weather extremes and driving shifts in biological systems.
Studies reveal that most of these changes are attributed to human activities. Forests, which have a global implication on our lives and the quality of it, have suddenly vanished from the face of the earth and we are left with more structures of metal and steel and fewer trees.
Historically, forests have been viewed simply as abundant sources of timber for activities like construction, ship building or fuel. However, the wider importance of these ecosystems is only now understood. The UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report also makes clear that the goods and services provided by forests are worth billions if not trillions of dollars to the global economy. They range from goods and services linked with water supplies, stabilization of soils, purifying the air we breathe,sustaining bio-diversity and tourism, to providing genetic resources and natural medicines.
In short, economics cannot capture all the benefits that forests provide.
Climate change confronts us now. We have but a short time to avert damaging and economically debilitating climate change. We need action.
The solutions are numerous and affordable. These range from energy saving measures and clean and renewable energy sources, to more efficient transport and better planning and management of our economies. The way we harvest natural resources has a big part to play. In this respect, the way we utilize and sustainably manage our forests can take a central and pivotal role.
In a fight against climate change the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched The Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign. This is aimed at encouraging all sectors of society to take small but practical steps to combat the key challenge of the 21st century. This will not only help re-creating lost forests and developing new ones but will help address other concerns such as loss of bio-diversity, improving water availability, stemming desertification and reducing erosion.
We have very little time to avert serious climate change. We need to act and plant trees alongside other concrete community-minded actions.
BharatGreenHands is a social initiative from Consim Info Pvt. Ltd. in association with Project GreenHands
an ecological initiative of Isha Foundation,
a non-religious, non-profit, public service organization. BharatGreenHands aims to create an opportunity for individuals, groups, corporates, schools, colleges and communities to play a vital part in saving the environment by planting more trees and making India a green nation.
"At first, I thought I was fighting to save rubber trees, then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest. Now I realize I am fighting for humanity."
-Chico Mendes, Brazilian Environmentalist
"If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed.
If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree."
-Chinese poet, 500 BC
"The best friend on Earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically,
we have one of the greatest resources of the Earth."
-Frank Lloyd Wright