Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Planting an idea

Planting an idea

Author: Stephen David
Publication: India Today
Date: June 1, 2009
URL: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/index.php?option=com_content&Itemid=1&task=view&id=43333&sectionid=24&issueid=107&latn=2

Introduction: A lone Bangalore woman gives a new dimension to green activism by going beyond protests and petitions and planting 12,000 saplings in the city.

There is an alternative to protests and signing petitions when civic agencies cut down trees. Instead of getting dismayed at the rapidly depleting green cover in Bangalore, Janet Yegneswaran, 57, launched a campaign by planting saplings.

Beginning with her own locality, Ejipura, she then persuaded friends to mark special occasions like birthdays by just planting trees. She even planted trees in the compounds of her neighbours and nurtured them even though other neighbours have refused.

The sapling of an idea has grown into a big tree of activity now. The plant-a-tree initiative, Trees for Free, began as a mission to remember her husband who passed away four years ago, says Yegneswaran. She has friends like Vinod Lal, an ad agency copywriter, who lends support by designing her green Bangalore campaign. Steadily, the tree lady and her band of volunteers have planted nearly 12,000 trees in the city.

It is not only the general public that supports her, but even the city corporation that has given a carte blanche to her to plant trees anywhere in the state capital. A self-taught tree specialist, Yegneswaran waits for the monsoons-the best time-to buy saplings from the Forest Department. She even has people lining up at her modest home seeking help in planting trees and preserving the environment around their homes.

The cost is minimal: it takes just Rs 100 to sponsor a tree for a month. Already, corporate honchos like Vijay Reddy, joint MD of the SJR Group, are supporting such initiatives. "The only way to add to the city's green cover is to plant more trees," says Reddy.

"We want the tree planting mission to take deep roots, especially with the young ones," Yegneswaran says, hoping that such efforts will go a long way in ensuring that Bangalore regains its fame as the "garden city". Some call her Bangalore's answer to Kenya's tree lady Wangari Maathai, the 69-year-old winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace. Maathai was honoured for her Green Belt Movement that has planted thousands of trees during the last 30 years. Yegneswaran has not reached there yet but she is at it. One tree at a time.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements