Grow-Trees is starting it’s 10th year of protection and restoration of ecological balance. Grow-Trees was started in 2010 on the World Environment Day (5th June) by Karan Shah and his father Pradip Shah, the founder of India’s first credit-rating agency, CRISIL. This was the point when climate change and concepts of sustainable development had started to gain popularity globally. In 1992, Pradip Shah, an MBA from Harvard Business School, was honored in Israel with a plantation of a garden of 100 trees for providing technical assistance and training to MAALOT, Israel’s credit rating agency. Karan, also an MBA from Harvard, and Pradip Shah together tweaked the idea and developed the concept of “Greet with Trees”, made it web-enabled, thereby facilitating individuals and companies to plant real trees and dedicate them via eTreeCertificates to greet friend, relatives and loved ones.They were determined to plant only in public lands for the good of society as a whole and this required – obtaining permission from relevant authorities for the planting, engaging the local community in the nursery and planting activities and in collecting the biomass from the trees and instituting a process of independent or third-party audit of the tree plantings. These trees would have multi-fold benefits. In addition to creating rural economies from nursery and planting activities, they would provide tree products like flowers, fruits, fodder and fuel;
improve wildlife habitats; enhance water catchment, generate oxygen, reduce atmospheric carbon and mitigate climate change. Their goal was to inculcate the habit amongst individuals to plant trees to greet friends, thereby achieving a private purpose while doing social good. Grow-Trees has also partnered with The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and with TreeNation, a European environmental organization.
The journey has been full of highs and lows like any other organisation but the purpose of conserving and preserving the ecosystem that our mother nature has endowed us with has always kept us going. The opportunity to develop tree planting projects such as Trees for Tribals, Trees for Water, Trees for Tigers, Trees for Elephants, Trees for Himalayan Monasteries and Schools, getting testimonials from individuals and companies planting trees as well as from recipients of TreeCertificates, and seeing the benefits of our activities on rural communities, wildlife, water and the environment has always been very fulfilling.
In the last nine years of it’s operations, GrowTrees has undertaken 50 projects spanning across 16 states of India.. We have successfully planted over 3.9 million trees and in the process generated approximately 324,000 working days of jobs; these trees when mature will reduce carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by a massive 78,000,000 kg.
The environmental impacts of Grow-Trees’ plantation projects are not restricted to reducing the carbon footprint or just preserving wildlife habitats. In Sariska, Rajisthan, relocated tigers ST 6 and ST 10 had started frequenting the area of our plantations after their prey, enlarging their habitat in the region. In Madhya Pradesh, we have planted forests on the banks of the tributaries of the Narmada river, aiming to increase water percolation, reduce flooding by decreasing soil erosion and enhancing the soil retention capacity. A study at one of our tree planting sites in Gujarat found out that the locals would have to spend 40% of their cash income on cooking fuel alone if they had not obtained biomass from the trees grown by us.
We would love to make this planet a happier and safer place for not only humans but diverse flora and fauna. On this occasion of World Environment Day, we urge everyone to Greet with Trees for everyday occasions – birthdays and anniversaries, for festivals- New Year or Diwali, to remember a loved one, or simply to offset carbon from day to day activities and honor yourself with a TreeCertificate. You can also participate in the campaign by simply clicking on this link: http://bit.ly/2WeGBS2