If one is to ever access an old Indian map, they will be astounded to see that a huge breadth of the Forests and green-lands on the map no longer exist. In their stead lie great buildings and artificial greenery. However, where deforestation is a major concern in lieu of the current global environmental crisis, one natural designer has created sinks that can suck in carbon and balance the looming onslaught of a global travesty.
Oceans and Forests are natural carbon sinks, meaning that they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into oxygen. This wonderful phenomenon is what led to the creation of Regenratree: a programme that aspires to increase carbon sinks through urban afforestation. Environmental Synergies in Development (ENSYDE) founded by Environment Activist Manvel Alur has been actively working to reduce the environmental footprints of organisations, establishments and institutions in India. Its carefully designed, implementable, solutions are curated to effectively improve resource efficiency and aims to branch out among the masses through awareness and education.
Her experience in several environment-related fields backed by a Master’s in Environmental Studies at The University of Aberdeen in Scotland set the base for her mission. The organisation which became a Trust in 2016 aims to build conscious and sustainable communities through pragmatic solutions and behavioural change.
In a country with a population of over 1.3 Billion and a huge population of youth, ENSYDE considers children key stakeholders in this process. Besides roping in enthused volunteers on tree-plantation drives, ENSYDE also conducts experience-based learning programmes that expose young minds to nature and the environment.
Regeneratree originally began when a young student-intern felt that too little was being done to control the climate crisis and invited thirty students to help her plant saplings. The six hundred saplings they planted breathed life to a movement that has now taken root in several other states through young volunteers. In 2016, ENSYDE registered as a charity and hopes to plant ten thousand saplings per year.
Plant a Tree with Regeneratree: Regeneratree is not merely a plant-based programme but an educative, immersive structure that plants awareness just as it does native saplings. Their mission is heavily inclusive of awareness and education of the trees in hopes of encouraging a mass-movement for carbon sinks. Their focus lies heavily in urban-Bangalore that is increasingly becoming a cement chokehold but have successfully planted over two thousand saplings with a 99.9% survival rate.
They have identified and planted trees in areas where they can ensure ownership, including temples, NGOs with land, schools and colleges, etc. ENSYDE’s prioritises care and security for the saplings before planting them. An associated tree ecologist helps them identify land best suitable for the sapling’s growth. The saplings are sourced from the forest department or identified vendors keeping seasonal and geographical changed in mind.
Then comes preparation of the soil, and the community adopting the flora are roped in on this process. ENSYDE conducts regular checks for a period of eight months and in the absence of carers, adopts the duty of maintenance itself. The saplings that are planted are indigenous and in areas like urban slums, are planted with food trees that will benefit its carers from a nutritional perspective.
Manvel Alur’s vision to create breathing carbon sinks is to breed the biodiversity in urban areas by increasing the green cover and positively impacting our climatic crisis. How ENSYDE does it is by planting a seed of hope in nature’s womb with a lot of love. The best part? Its young activists are now spread across various states to nurture the spirit of Regenratree in their own environments.