Pushing green agenda

Getting people excited about planting trees is a tall order. So I realised , at a recent outing  with a couple of friends in Mysore,  engaged in a tree-planting programme  at  Giridarshini Layout on T Narsipura Road. The sight of  Mr K N Sreenivasa and Mr K R Gurukar, 68,  digging plant  beds on roadside,  attracted attention from passers-by ,  but little support from local  residents.  Giridarshiini is a middle-class locality with spacious  houses, but poor roads and other infrastructure . And  not many  roadside trees .  It ought to have been an ideal place for community initiative in tree-planting.

Apparently, we failed in motivating Giridarshini folks.  Maybe , we weren’t going about it the right way.  Perhaps, we targeted a wrong class of  people who  minded their own business.  I believe , if we were  planting roadside saplings  in a poorer class area, we would have found support from some, and, possibly, aroused  suspicion of some others. Either way,  the initiative by Friends of Roadside Trees (FORT) would not been so widely ignored as was the case at Giridarsihini Layout.  The only question is :  how do we win over doubting Toms ?

Micro-loans could be an answer.  If we  can come up with a scheme to  help the poor –  street vendors, artisans, petty traders  with scope for improving their trade – FORT can hope to make an impact among poorer sections. Families with semi-educated youth could do with guidance and initial  funding to train them in livelihood skills , be it plumbing, electrical work, welding, repair of home appliances and other such services.  We are talking of youths, so poor or backward, that they find even govt. run industrial training centres beyond their means.  They come from families that lack a credit-worthy legal identity. The families that sustain their trade through private borrowings at  interest rate so high that they are permanently in debt.  Micro-financing could help free them from this debt trap.  Offer of loans at affordable interest would go a long way in changing lives.

FORT could learn from Mr Parthiban, a Salem banker.   If only Friends of  Roadside Trees could swing this, it can justifiably expect its  micro-funding beneficiaries to join  in promoting the green agenda. To start with, they can be persuaded to  plant a tree to mark every milestone in their lives . Our idea is to register Friends of Roadside Trees as a trust and set up a contributory fund. If we mobilize a hundred shareholders to chip in Rs.100 each, we would have funds enough to micro-loan at least ten street vendors. Those interested in taking this line of thought further are free to join a strategy session (11 a m till 1 p m) hosted by tree-lover and veteran journalist Mr Krishna Vattam at his Mysore Mail office in Lakshmipuram this Sunday(May 23).


One Response

  1. You really make it appear very easy with your demonstration however I find this topic to be truly something which I think I’d never understand. It appears too complex and incredibly broad for me. I’m looking forward for your forthcoming post, I will make an effort to find the hang of it.

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