The weekend of 10th June 2018 was just another lazy Sunday for everyone in the city of Mumbai. With the Rain Gods and Sun Gods playing Hide & Seek, snuggling on the couch was the best choice one could make.
But that was not so for a bunch of Madcaps – Green Madcaps, as they call themselves.
Green Madcaps is an activist and awareness group who prioritise training programmes to spread awareness about issues that affect our Earth, issues on Feminism and Equality, and issues related to Social Justice. (Ref: http://bit.ly/2Myc3Cd )
It is indeed worrisome how we have grown so accustomed to technology that we overlook the harmful impact it has on our environment. We are so unable to live without technology that we fail to realise that it is not only destroying nature but is also separating us from it.
So what special activities were the Green Madcaps up to that weekend?
Planting of saplings in a 63-acre haven of greenery at Mukta Jeevan Ashram. This ashram is located far away from the urban madness in Vehloli, near Asangaon, and is home to leprosy & HIV patients (women and children) and abandoned senior citizens.
Now what were these Madcaps doing in a forest which already has trees you may ask?
Although the importance of trees is so evident, there are only a handful of people who actually take it as their responsibility to indulge in planting them.
“Our objective was two-fold: to increase tree-cover and to provide fruit trees that would benefit the residents of the ashram with better nutrition. In Mukta Jeevan Ashram, there are fewer chances of trees being cut down for development,” says Suren Abreu, an environment expert who also dabbles as a social activist & priest.
The clock strikes 9.30 AM and the Green Madcaps arrive. After a simple breakfast, all break into smaller groups towards places allotted to them for the plantation. Armed with gardening tools and a whole lot of enthusiasm, the group begin planting the saplings as per instructions given by Suren.
The group was engulfed in a lot of sunshine and very little rain. But that did not deter their spirits. Anyone could tell where they were only by listening for their cheery talks and laughter. Enjoying themselves, they had just 1 goal – ‘daag acche hain’ (an Indian detergent advertisement that means ‘Stains are good’) i.e. get down in the mud and plant that little sapling.
Speaking to Maresa, a working professional, activist and a senior member of Green Madcaps, she states: “we must do our duty in planting more trees in and around our area of stay. Trees should be protected, by trimming them correctly so that they do not get uprooted.”
A famous quote states, “Imagine if trees gave off WiFi signals. We’d be planting so many trees, we’d probably save the planet. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.”
Given the current state of crazy, rapid infrastructure development, trees are being hacked to death and we have no control over it. The question that has put us in a dilemma is – what can we do to increase our green cover?
And Suren answers this with his trademark smile – “Housing societies should open up their grounds to tree planting by removing the cement that most compounds have. Road dividers and sides can be adopted by residents’ associations and large shade trees like Banyan and Peepul can be planted and maintained. Parks and gardens should have more trees planted within them. Forest areas should be protected from encroachment and supplemented with tree plantation to replace trees that are cut or fallen.”
Ask some of the other enthusiastic Madcaps on their experience with the sapling plantation, the reason they went for the drive, and what they enjoyed the most and their response is:
“To leave my green mark on the planet & to better the environment of Mukta Jeevan Ashram. Also, it gave me a chance in getting one with nature and having a blast with my fam jam!” – Steffi
“Because it feels good to be involved in an activity that contributes towards the environment, even though it’s the smallest thing you can do. I learned and enjoyed to use the gardening tools. This drive helped me also understand what helps a plant grow.” – Svetlana
“The plantation drive was one of its kind. Living in a city where there is more concrete and less green cover, this was the best opportunity to show our love towards Mother Earth. The group consisted of people of all ages and it was good to see kids also showing their concern for our Mother Earth, where we as elders, have left no green spaces for them.” – Augustine
It is time we recognize the importance of tree plantation and contribute our bit towards the same. We have only one Earth. Let’s do our bit and save her.