Its been my immense pleasure to plan, steer and conduct this event at city level. To pool in people of interest to contribute their bit for making positive contributions for mother Earth beyond the normal philanthropy of feeding pigeons, ants and street dogs of which our Gujarati community is famous for was a feat in itself. Well begun is half done. No event is successful without the right kind of support from peers, friends, well wishers of whom the credits also goes.
A tree plantation drive was organized to commemorate Earth Day 22nd April, Saturday at Amruta Society Park at Rajkot, Gujarat, India. It was citizen driven initiative with support from RMC (Rajkot Municipal Corporation) by way of providing space and plants. The effort was to bring in community building and environment consciousness and action for better and greener environment promoting positive social changes for and by Rajkot citizens under the aegis of Ecology club of Rajkot while making it an active club to host more and all such events for greening our city making it climate resilient in a way.
Event had digging the pits (shram dan activity), planting and watering the trees followed by discussions / networking and light snacks. Discussions also ranged from climate-friendly practices of waste minimization to changing behavioural and lifestyle choices and energy conservation to using renewable energy.
- Event Highlights:
- Total Volunteers: About 27 with various backgrounds: from business man / women to service men / women to doctor to interior designer to engineers, music professional to radio program manager to Home manager
- Total trees planted: 21
- Tree Name: Ficus Black (Scientific name: Ficus Benjamina) with height of trees roughly 3 feet.
- Support from RMC:
- Permission to plant trees by volunteers at Amruta society Garden
- 21 Ficus Trees provided
- Garden helper / Gardner who oversees this garden Ramesh bhai would take care of trees by water and trimming
- While the highly enthusiastic volunteers gathered on time at 6 am to plant trees as a eco-community initiative. Event started with briefing of importance of Earth day and a small round of introduction. Inquisitive morning walkers stepped up to understand of the activity and appreciated the effort by the volunteers. Some came forward to help in future such events. Digging pits according to the size of plant bag was done at ear marked spaces. Planting and watering activity was done and finished by 7.15 am.
- Discussion Highlights:
- Networking and open discussions followed which were:
- Current environment and climate crises and on need to do planting
- How could we make our city green
- How to select spaces for planting trees and what to take care so that it doesn’t block other necessary urban services once it grows.
- What sort of plants should be selected so as to attract flora and fauna
- How can we move to making more sustainable choices of consumption as eco-conscious citizens
- About next such drives and meeting at-least once in two months ( 6 such meets in a year)
- There were volunteers who mentioned they had factory space or other land where we could do this joint activity of planting.
- Health drink in paper glass and healthy sprouts salad served in leaf bowls with wooden sticks were commitment to better environment through sustainable consumption and production choices gave a reference of commitment to better sustainable choices. Volunteers agreed for car pool idea and bringing own utensils to avoid any such wastes incurred by such events.
- Distribution of Pledge card cum bookmark made from hand made paper and eco-friendly ink and Gooseberry (Amla) seeds packet as a token of appreciation and participation, volunteers pledged to abide by the choices each individual chose to select from the pledge card to greener and sustainable lifestyle.
- Volunteers pledged that they will come to take care of the trees thus planted once in a while.
Like any activity we humans do has its carbon footprint, this event however small in terms of numbers had its carbon footprint; we will take responsibility of our event carbon emissions by way of accounting and improvising. However since this event was of tree plantation we would also in a way be off-setting those carbon emissions through the carbon sequestration by those planted trees. Plants photosynthetic process utilizes the available atmospheric CO2 and acts as a natural sink for the excess carbon dioxide generated by anthropogenic activities.
To publicly demonstrate commitment to sustainability and to inspire participants and spectators to choose low-carbon options in our own lives, as well as saving money through measures such as reducing energy consumption, event organiser opted cycle as mode of transport and choosing biodegradable bowls and glasses. Even the food served was sprout salad which has least cooking footprint.
All carbon footprints are hard to nail down but a rough estimate is taken where transport emissions done due to event activity while also considering Electricity used for preplanning and post event is considered; tertiary emissions from social media usage to spread the message about the event has also been accounted for. Waste generation: Event also had a light healthy snack and drink served in biodegradable vessels. There was no food waste. 1) 30 paper cups 2) 30 leaf bowls 3) 30 wooden spoons whose footprint is not included.
Emissions associated with the event included:
Direct emissions (Scope 1):
Local transportation for the event:
|2 Wheeler travel||131 km out of which 70 km went in for planning of the event||8.6 Kg CO2|
|4 wheeler travel||31 km||3.5 Kg CO2|
|Remarks:||One person came in auto (2 km) and BRTS (4 km ) is not considered|
Indirect emissions (Scope 2):
- Energy consumed by the event:
|Electricity used by fans , light , laptop use for planning of the event:||Fan(*1) : Pre-event 40 Hrs, post event 30 hrs
Light(T5): pre-event: 10hrs , post event: 10)
Laptop: Pre-event: 25, post event 25
|54.63 Kg CO2|
|Remarks||§ Printing of paper: 10 (not considered)
§ There was no food waste and thus waste generated from used leaf bowls / paper cups is not considered.
|Tertiary emissions (Scope 3)|
|Whatsapp messages||1000 messages assumed and emissions of an sms assumed||0.014 KgCO2|
|Cell phone calls||100 minutes call assumed||5.7 KgCO2|
|Internet search||considering downloads and google searches of over 4.5 hours||162 KgCO2|
Total emissions due to the event: approximately 235 Kg CO2
Point of calculating the carbon footprint was just to give a fair idea that though this is a positive action for betterment of earth it has its negative imprints which needs to be considered. As the trees would grow, its potential to sequester carbon dioxide would grow and can be calculated as per the scientific calculation. A very rough calculation with assumptions that in 5 years time the ficus tree would grow from 3 feet currently to 2.11 meter with a girth of 1.7inch, it could sequester carbon at rate of 2.6 kg Carbon / year / tree and upto 55 Kg carbon for 21 trees in a year. (Couple of assumptions have been taken here to calculate the carbon sequestration potential of a ficus black tree from various reference sources due to lack of direct reference and could be re-checked for the calculation methodology). The highlighting fact is not ignore negative impacts of by way of vehicle and electricity consumption and social media over dose and consumption even for a small yet positive low-carbon event like this. The purpose of this effort was also in a way through this exercise to help raise awareness of climate change issues, shift in behaviour, consumption patterns and lifestyle choice and bring people to action that can be taken to reduce or offset greenhouse gas emissions of our activities.
All in all it was a very positive event with lot of positive commitments for more future such events to make Rajkot a green city.
We will also highlight this event in EarthDay network’s Green cities challenge of amongst 47 Indian cities and also participate in Plant.Care.Guard a tree challenge.
- Any green event though seems to derive positive impact has its own carbon footprint which should not be ignored
- Pre Planning of an event does take up to considerable footprint of the event especially use of social media and internet should not be ignored.
About Ficus black tree (Scientific name: Ficus Benjamina): is a member of the Ficus genus of plants, which also includes rubber trees and fig fruit trees is also known as weeping fig or simply a ficus. Ficus trees can maintain their tree-like shape regardless of their size, so this makes them ideal for bonsais or for massive houseplants in large spaces. Their leaves can be either dark green or variegated. By taking advantage of its flexible trunks it can be braided or twisted into different, creative and imaginative forms and shapes. Height: up to 5 m (16ft) (for indoors), upto 30 m in natural conditions with Growth rate: 20-40 cm (8-16 in) a year and on maturity 3 mtr diameter. The figs of this species are small (about 3cm in diameter), globular, red or reddish orange in colour and are typically borne in pairs on the leaf axils attracting birds.