On 5th June 2014, more than 2000 people, 40 constituent assembly members, tourists and Buddhist monks came together to spread the message of tree conservation by hugging trees.
Forest covers about 31% land of our planet. According to the WWF each year, 46-48 thousand square miles of the forest is wiped off all around the world–which accounts for 48 football fields in a minute. The efforts made for afforestation is low in comparison to the massive deforestation. This alarming threat is rising every day but our political leaders are not focusing on restoration and protection of this natural asset.
In May 2013, the Government of Nepal decided to chop down more than 1200 trees from Kalanki-Koteshwar for the highway extension. We a group of activists visited Kathmandu Valley Town Development Authority to request for some alternative measures to conserve these trees. The decision of chopping down these patches of trees was not just a threat to humans but also to the inhabitants residing there. We decided to protest against this unsustainable expansion of the roads, however, the protest did not fall on the interest of people and failed due to lack of sufficient support.
It was then when I realized a widening gap between trees and us, the city dwellers. The problem was with our affection towards trees. As we failed to withdraw government’s decision and its interest towards conservation, in July 2013 I envisioned of a campaign called ‘One Tree My Responsibility’. The idea was to provide a tree sapling to students from 5th to 10th grade and ask them to take its responsibility for a year. If they succeed taking care of it and planted the sapling then they would be considered as ‘Green Volunteers”. We approached Nobel Academy’s Director, Mr. Rabin Dahal with the concept of our project. The campaign was officially launched in August 2013, bringing 1200 students from Nobel Academy, Kathmandu. The same year, we expanded our campaign to Gorkha adding up a larger number of 4000+ green volunteer.
Though the idea was appreciated and widely featured by the media it was difficult for our young team to sustain the campaign. We then thought of bringing some through a new campaign–something that could with resources to continue our work. We thought of “The Largest Tree Hug” event and start working on it.
On 5th June 2015, the event was largely successful. As we intended, the message was all over the world. We were awestruck to see the popularity our event gained as it was featured all over the world. Even after such appreciation, we could not fuel our initial thought of sustaining One Tree My Responsibility. I, however, plan to work on the campaign to sustain it. The campaign will resume from late 2018. Stay connected through our official website, www.otmr.org
Click here to access to an introductory video of One Tree My Responsibility Initiative. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8ktfigL74g