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Chillibreeze Interview with Kapil Sharma
Interviewed by Nishi Roy for Chillibreeze
Have you planted your tree? “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is now”, is the core philosophy of the nature-venture Saytrees; the brainchild of software professional Kapil Sharma.
Kapil and the core team members comprising of Balbir Bora, Bhuwaneshwar Kumar, Archana and Nanda, breathe life into Gandhi’s famous motto, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Kapil shares the thought behind the venture, the journey of having planted close to 3000 saplings in Bangalore so far and their future plans.
After having stayed in Bangalore for close to a decade, one could feel the climate change in the city very perceptively. It was this change, which triggered the inception of Saytrees in 2007.
While, as an individual I could go about planting trees, I realized that to make a larger impact, citizens and passionate co-workers had to be involved too. I would urge every citizen to plant at least one tree every year; it would just take an hour’s time!
One tree removes approximately one ton of carbon-di-oxide per year. Imagine the environmental impact if each Bangalorean was to plant one tree.
2. Would you call yourself an environmentalist?
An innovator is how I would like to think of myself. I always try to do things in unique way; be it a costume for marathon or a tree guard.
Monday-to-Friday we are all doing our corporate jobs. It is over the weekend, that we work for nature by planting trees across Bangalore. I am not against development. Development has to be and will be there; but should not be at the cost of nature.
3. How are the saplings sourced? How do you ensure that they survive and grow into full-grown trees?
We source our saplings from the BBMP and private nurseries. Usually the saplings that we plant are about 8-10 feet high. This means that they are already about 2-3 years old and hence have a higher survival rate and require lower maintenance.
We usually go back to the plantation area in month or two to check the progress of growth. If some sapling dies, we arrange to replace them. This goes on for a year after which the saplings will survive unless someone intentionally chops them off.
4. How many years will it be before we see temperatures coming back down to normal?
It is very difficult to predict. Trees which are 50-100 years old are chopped off for various reasons. Planting even 10 saplings for every chopped tree will take a long time to remove the carbon-dioxide which the chopped tree was removing. If each family plants at least 2 saplings every year, and make sure they survive, we may see some change as they grow.
5. Is it true that Neem trees help to purify the air more than other trees? So should we be planting more Neem trees all over?
Neem purifies air and is a very helpful for curing many diseases. But our ecology needs various kinds of trees. There are trees that attract butterflies, some birds etc. To have a balanced environment various kinds of trees are needed. We have been planting trees that are native to Karnataka, like Honge, Kadamba etc. Bangalore has lot of Honge trees. The benefit of growing native plants in the region they have evolved is that they are more likely to thrive under the local conditions. Native plants are well adapted to local environmental conditions. They maintain or improve soil fertility, reduce erosion etc.
6. The project must cost money, do you have any source of funding?
Every plantation needs funds. Funding is needed for saplings, manure, support sticks, tree guards, transportations of saplings and tree guards, labor for digging pits, water after the plantation. Some times BBMP helps us by providing the saplings but for rest of items we need money. We try to involve various organizations to come forward and ask them to sponsor the plantation drive. Sometimes our friends contribute and sometimes we end up paying from our pocket.
Our future plan is to do plantation in a large land space and create a forest. I would just request every reader to plant a sapling. And spread the word. Just like we pay for water, a day may come when we may have to pay for oxygen. Who knows? Just because air is free, we should not pollute it.
For readers who would like to be a part of the change process in greening the garden city, they can visit us at www.saytrees.org to get more information. Yes, we are on twitter and facebook too!
Question for readers:
What do you think of celebrating your birthday and those of your family’s by planting a tree?
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