In India, more than 14 million people all over the country stood up to demand an end to poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Art of Living Foundation (AOL), under the guidance of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji mobilized over 6 million people to stand up in 26 states in India under the ‘Mission Green Earth Stand Up Take Action’ campaign, in partnership with the UN Millennium Campaign and the Ministry of Environment & Forests (Government of India). In one of the events organized by the Art of Living Foundation in New Delhi, more than 6,000 people Stood Up on the perimeter of Parliament on 18th October, including some of the richest and poorest families in the country.
Closer home, in my area, we planted over 1050 saplings and over 4050 stood up for environment sustainability. Dr. Sandhya, who along with other volunteers in the area, drove the initiative writes:
7 schools were approached and commitment to participate taken. The schools are CMR National Public School; SJR Public School; Maxwell Public School; Patel Public School; SVN English High School; Maruti Vidyalaya- State; Maruti Vidyalaya- ICSE.
It was formally inaugurated on 15th Aug’08 during Independence Day functions. One token “Laxmi Taru” was planted in all school premises. Next, schools were asked to provide genuinely required number of saplings depending on children’s interest and space availability. This was to avoid wastage in this urban area and given only to motivated children.
By mid Sept, we had zeroed in on Kadugodi Govt Forest Nursery and supplied nearly 1000 saplings to them. No. varied from 45 to 227 per school. Varieties were Bahumia purpura, Pongamia piñata, Singapore cherry, Laxmi Taru, Mitragayana, Rangamala, Feltofarm. Some bigger varieties of Neem, Silver oak, Bela, Ficus Bigsa were given for the school compounds.
These were distributed mainly to 4th– 8th Std students along with pamphlets on information about MGESUTA08 & Tree care. To have participation from entire school, a painting & essay competition was announced on the theme of environment. Bigger Barren tree posters were made and distributed. Children who had planted had to put a green thumb impression on the branches to show, “The more you plant, the greener it gets!” This was displayed on notice boards till stand ups.All this took some planning as children were soon busy with exams and then closed down for Dasara vacations.
Finally, each school had a Stand Up function in mid Oct. It consisted of introduction, competition prize distribution, the UN oath taking and Thanksgiving. They were full of dignity and fun too as kids did the reverse countdown from 10 to 1 and jumped up with beaming faces. The total number of people who stood up in various functions was 4050.
All in all, a very satisfying project and the fact that we were able to reach out to so many people, plant so many saplings and bring the awareness makes it so very fulfilling.
While on Mission Green Earth do not forget to watch this Video!