As per a safe estimate, a total of 1100 plants/trees were planted under the banner of this initiative (of course with the help of the collaborations).
One Sunday evening in early June 2018, I sat pondering over the current climate change, upcoming Independence Day of Pakistan (Aug 14) and past childhood memories of buying flags for the day. It was this occasion when it occurred to me that, keeping the need of the hour in mind, why not plant a tree instead of buying a flag this year. That simple idea led me to create a Facebook page titled Plant Trees Instead (Page ID 339509179916703) with the same message; plant trees on this Independence Day with the money you plan to spend on buying a flag.
The first post on the page was:
‘Climate change is real and it is happening.
CO2 in the air sees no borders, for good or for worst. Pakistan is threatened as much as other countries are from climate change. More so, for several reasons. Forests are disappearing at alarming rates, our air is not clean, floods are becoming more frequent, and summer is lasting longer and more severe each year. According to a 2015 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report, the forest cover of Pakistan has been reduced to under two percent of its land area — one of the lowest levels in the region.
One of the best ways to reduce, and even reverse, climate change is to grow trees/forests. Forests sequester carbon dioxide and cool the planet earth. Trees keep the air clean, produce oxygen (photosynthesis) and fight global warming. Studies after studies have shown the importance of planting trees to fight climate change.
As 14th August is approaching, I would humbly like to request you to grow a plant/tree instead with the money you intend to spend on buying a flag this year. Do it at your convenience. Plant in your own backyard, buy a pot for in-house use or look for other creative ways in your community. Imagine if everyone who reads this and does so, how many new plants/trees will be planted in Pakistan. Please play your part and show a real, meaningful sustainable national spirit.
Please like this page and share this message. Lets make Pakistan green again.’
Every day, the strength of the people liking the page and supporting the idea kept increasing. In no time, it became a community of more than 1300+ enthusiastic Pakistanis. Groups of students from different cities of Pakistan wrote to seek guidance, ideas, details etc. Real breakthrough hit when several individuals joined to form a group and decided to do a plantation drive on 14th August in their surrounds.
I also started looking for other groups involved in similar endeavours. That led me to find some individuals, and some to find me, with whom I collaborated. These groups – from Lahore, Islamabad and other cities – did an amazing job in arranging plantation drives in their localities. The locals were called to help and contribute. Dozens and Dozens joined the plantation drives in each city. As per a safe estimate, a total of 1100 plants/trees were planted under the banner of this initiative (of course with the help of the collaborations). Photos from some of the participating teams are shared below.
Facebook Page link: https://bit.ly/2CwXuOh