Need Oxygen? Plant A Forest…
How many times have we seen a lush green area being robbed of its trees & charm over years? How many times have we seen the greens replaced by the dusty greys & sooty blacks of the urbanized culture? Innumerable accounts to be vaguely precise!
In my own vicinity, what were once beautiful farms & trees around a canal, are now tall skyscrapers with hardly a bunch of trees per cluster of buildings. Over the past decade, I have seen a steady but sure depletion of not only the trees but the whole ecosystem surrounding it. Where once peacocks & kingfishers on treetops were a common sight, I now only see grey pigeons adorning the grey parapets! Where once the canal flowed freely with twining vines & wild shrubs around it, is now an eighty feet street build right upon the burial grounds of the erstwhile water canal.
The story of Mr Kareem from Kerala thus is not only inspiring for me but also an eye-opener. This is a man 67 years of age, who has devoted 35 years of his life to grow a forest (right!) in his quest to fight the climate change.
Like most of us after spending many years of existence in the urban world, Mr Abdul Kareem, who was looking for some respite from the pollution & heightened temperatures, returned to his motherland in Kerala. There he bought a 5 hectares barren land with his life’s savings & decided to grow a forest on it.
Growing a forest was not as easy as it seemed and initially he did face many failures since the land was arid & dry. Mr Kareem was so committed to his mission of a greener community that he cycled across villages every single day to fetch water for his planted trees. Needless to say, he was a laughing stock for a long time before the community saw the importance of what he was doing.
However, his persistent efforts of more than 2 years finally bore fruits & some of the planted trees started taking roots in the third year. This significant achievement boosted his morale & in 1982 he bought 27 more hectares of land to plant a forest onto.
Kareem’s forest flourished with his committed perseverance to succeed. Despite never having had a formal education in Botany, he managed to grow all the trees naturally with no use of chemicals & fertilizers.
Very soon the ecosystem started developing itself & many tiny herbs started growing beneath the trees. This helped in conserving the moisture in the soil & soon the water tables in the surrounding areas also rose. Today Kareem’s well is full of water even in the hottest of summers & the surrounding area has also flourished due to better water availability.
The trees have developed their own micro-ecosystem & the temperatures never seem to rise above 20-30 degrees even in hot summers. A plethora of birds & insects has made their homes in Mr Kareem’s forest thus completing the food chain.
Today Kareem’s model is followed & studied by researchers, students & environmentalists all over the world. All now marvel at what a motivated man could achieve single-handedly. The Indian Universities have prescribed his success story in academic curriculum.
The story is truly motivational for all nature lovers even in urban settings. We can all volunteer to fight climate change by creating our own small forests or green zones in our societies or terraces by replicating Kareem’s model on a much smaller scale. Needless to say, the rains will follow & CO2 levels will go down.
We can donate our sweat to plant fruiting trees which will not only attract birds & insects but also provide a food chain for these tiny creatures.
Why not teach our future generation to plant a forest & become self-sufficient to provide for the indispensable source of our existence – Oxygen!
Tags: Best Volunteer Activity Ideas, Conservation Volunteering Ideas, Donate Your Sweat, Eco-friendly Activity, Environment Conservation Volunteering, Forest Conservation Volunteering, Inspirational Volunteer Stories, Mr Kareem's Forest in Kerala, Sustainable Living, Volunteer for Biodiversity Conservation.
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