A brighter world, one story at a time.

Volunteers worked together from all over India to plant a whopping 300 million trees... well saplings to be exact. Van Mahotsav, otherwise known as the annual forest festival, is an event that takes place during the first week of July in India; numerous plantation drives are held all over the country in order to prevent deforestation and help increase environmental awareness. These future trees will provide many benefits such as helping fight climate change via carbon capture and also help protect the region from harmful processes such as desertification.

  • Trees can accomplish this by sucking up carbon from the atmosphere and
  • Anchoring the topsoil to prevent air currents from blowing away the top nutrient-dense layer of earth.

Van Mahotsav Day's history dates back to 1947 when it was created by the Punjabi botanist Randhawa. The festival was initially held from the 20th of July to the 27th, however, in 1950 Kanaiyaka Munshi, Minister of Food and Agriculture, declared Van Mahotsav a national activity, and the festival was moved to the first week of July. The tradition of celebrating the festival by planting trees continues to this day and it's been generating massive momentum. This huge movement, where each year they try to outdo the previous year, is the best type of competition where you can truly compete but in the end, there are no losers only winners. Winners include us as a species, the animals, insects, fungi and all sorts of life that live in the forests, not to mention the planet earth.

  • With the advent of modern technology, engineers working hand in hand with botanists have been trying to create faster and more efficient ways to plant millions of saplings with the use of methods such as AI and drones to autonomously drop pods containing saplings into regions that are deemed to be suitable. Looking into the future it's not all too impossible seeing a place where nations can semi-rapidly change the carbon output of their country via these means as well as shifting to more renewable sources in an effort to more effectively combat climate change.

Tree-filled regions provide valuable resources via plentiful lumber if harvested responsibly as well as other resources from the animals and other organisms which make the forest their home; again balance being the key to having a healthy and sustainable relationship with nature.

People from all walks of life came together to help fight deforestation and fight the increasingly troubling carbon crisis. The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, Yogi Adityanath said, “It is with the participation of the people of the state that planting over 100 crore [1 billion] saplings (during 2017-18 to 2020-21) is being made possible,” he also stated that “We took plantation as a campaign and planted 5.71 crore [50.71 million] saplings in 2017, 11.77 crore [110.77 million] saplings in 2018, nearly 23 crore [230 million] in 2019, and despite Covid, 25.87 crore [250.87 million] in 2020. We have a target of planting more than 30 crore saplings [300 million] this year.”

He continues to mention how these last couple of years have been slightly different due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “A new thing has been added to the plantation drive where an appeal has been made to all gram panchayats [basic village-governing institute in Indian villages] and people to make smriti vatikas in their localities in memory of those who died during the Covid pandemic.”

  • Smrti is a Sanskrit word, from the root Smara (स्मर), which means "remembrance, reminiscence, thinking of or upon, calling to mind", or simply "memory".

Hopefully, other nations catch on to this exemplary way of increasing public awareness of deforestation and climate change. Not only does this help the environment, but festivals such as Van Mahotsav can also bring people together from all walks of life towards a common goal which can help foster a sense of community and togetherness.

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