Here I begin the first of a series about voluntary environmentalism, about people and organizations that are repairing the planet without any force compelling them to do so. Undoubtedly Earth is a wreck, but state imposed solutions are not the answer. Let's see who is making a difference within a grassroots, force-free framework.
Today we look at the Isha Foundation’s Project GreenHands.
“Trees are our closest relationship. What they exhale, we inhale. What we exhale, they inhale. This is a constant relationship that nobody can afford to break or live without.”
As said by Indian mystic and guru Sahdguru. He’s certainly right too. Anthropogenic global warming may well be a crock, but trees are very important. What's beautiful though, is that while many would petition the state to plant trees, institute regulations, or even wait on someone else saying, “Somebody oughta …”, Sahdguru and his Isha Foundation (which also teaches yoga and inner wellbeing) took it upon themselves to create 10% additional green cover in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India by planting 114 million trees over the course of 10 years. How’s that for voluntary human action?
Since October 17, 2006 2 million volunteers have planted 8.2 million trees in Tamil Nadu, increasing the state’s green cover from 17% to 21% in just four years. The goal is to restore green cover to 33% by 2016. In fact, Project Green Hands has been so successful that the organization and its founder Sahdguru J Vasudev was awarded the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar (IGPP) for 2008 by the Government of India “in recognition of the outstanding contributions made by PGH in creating environmental awareness and reversing ecological degradation.”.
No force or compulsion made these 2 million people better this Earth, and now a government is honoring them for showing what the average person, not the state, can do when they take personal responsibility for themselves. When people realize that no one else is going to fix the problems that they face they begin to take responsibility for their communities, their countries, and indeed the whole world. To build a libertarian society, indeed, we will need more organizations like Project Green Hands.
If you wish to enable the volunteer based, donation funded, Project GreenHands, you are more than welcome to get rid of some Federal Reserve notes in exchange for some trees that they will plant. Who ever thought that paper could turn back into a tree!
Eric Sharp, Regular Columnist
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