January 23, 2020
Leading voices from around the globe pitched strongly for unified action against climate change at the official briefing of The Champions for 1 Trillion Trees Platform, a major new initiative led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at the World Economic Forum Summit in Davos today.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Founder, Isha Foundation shared stage with business, political, environmental and cultural leaders who spoke in one voice for the ambitious campaign which aims to plant one trillion trees worldwide in 10 years. They included Iván Duque, President of Colombia; Marc Benioff, Founder and Chairman Salesforce.com; Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT); and renowned Scientists and Conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.
Sadhguru has launched ecological initiatives in India including projects such as Project GreenHands (PGH) and Rally for Rivers (RfR) – both of which promote tree plantation. While PGH is a grassroots movement that has enrolled three million people to plant 35 million trees, RfR promotes an economic model where farmers can earn by planting and harvesting high-value trees on their farmlands.
President Duque said “Columbia considers this a very important milestone,” and committed the country’s contribution of 180 million trees by 2022. Mr. Benioff spoke about the phenomenal carbon sequestering potential of one trillion trees is. “More than 200 gigatons of carbon will be sequestered,” he said.
Sadhguru said that unless 50℅ to 60% of the soil on the planet is put under shade, there is no way to maintain fertile soil rich in organic content. The alarming decline in soil quality has led to severe depletion in the nutritional value of food grown on land. “Nutritional value of food we eat has come down by 40%; trees have to come back if this has to change”.
He also spoke about making planting an economic model so that farmers can prosper. “We never talk to the farmer about saving the planet,” said Sadhguru referring to the Cauvery Calling model which is promoting tree-based agriculture as an economic model among farmers in the Cauvery river basin in southern India. He added that unless farmers gain substantially from this activity, the model will not work.
He also touched briefly upon migration and said how planting high-value, high-yield crop on the farmland is one way to hold the farmer to his land. It is expected that 220 million people will migrate to Indian cities in a decade and about 1.6 billion people will migrate worldwide. Developing rural communities by giving them an incentive to stay on the land is one of the ways to check uncontrolled migration for which no city is prepared.