Project GreenHands (PGH), Isha Foundation’s program for increasing forest cover in the state of Tamil Nadu, has had an exciting quarter. With a target of 4.5 million trees this year – the highest number since inception – PGH is going full steam.

In May this year, an online fundraising campaign was launched, a drive which would facilitate tree planting by people who did not personally have the time and space to do it. Corporate companies were roped in. Many organizations created a campaign page for PGH, circulated e-mails and posted e-flyers on their intranet, persuading their employees to participate as well.

Larsen & Toubro Limited, Chennai, took up the campaign in a big way. Since April 2009, L&T’s Manapakkam campus has been cultivating a nursery as part of their green initiative and have grown 800,000 saplings. In the three months, they have planted more than 5,000 trees and continue to plant more. Among other participating companies are Myiris, Mahindra Satyam, Axis Mutual Fund and Delphi. Funds have been raised so far for 45,000 trees, while the target is 100,000 trees. Companies that are interested in joining can log on to to plant trees now.

In other news, PGH’s planting season every year is officially launched on June 5, World Environment Day. This year, the day was celebrated in 26 centers in 18 districts across Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry – more than 100,000 people were involved and over 14,000 saplings were distributed.

PGH has been training school children to plant and grow trees and a Green School Movement has been started in collaboration with the Education Department in Erode, Coimbatore, Krishnagiri, and Pondicherry. Suzlon Foundation, our corporate partner, has funded the initiative in Erode and Coimbatore districts. The mission is to create “green consciousness” among school children. They will be involved in sapling production and plantation. The activities include mixing the soil, filling pockets, sowing the seed, watering, weeding, distributing, and planting. So far, 600 schools have joined in and committed to produce and distribute 2,000 saplings each. That amounts to one million saplings grown by the children by the end of this year!

Trees are our closest relatives. What they exhale, we inhale; what we exhale, they inhale and keep our lives going. It is just like the outer part of our lung. You cannot ignore your body if you want to live. The planet is in no way different from that. What you call “my body” is just a piece of this planet.
– Sadhguru