The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Punjabi Bagh, is taking a proactive step towards environmental conservation by integrating a tree plantation drive through their International Value Education Olympiad. This unique initiative aims to instill the values of sustainability and ecological responsibility among the youth while fostering the integration of those values into their lives. One thousand schools came together to plant 200,000 (2 lakh) saplings on July 7 th, 2023, as part of this initiative.
International Value Education Olympiad, an annual event organized by ISKCON, promotes values such as honesty, empathy, social responsibility, ethical decision-making, and justice among school students. Recognizing the vital role of environmental conservation in shaping a sustainable future, ISKCON has incorporated a tree plantation campaign as part of the olympiad. The tree plantation drive in Delhi aims to address the city’s environmental challenges, including air pollution, the urban heat island effect, and the loss of green spaces. Students from schools across the city actively participate in the initiative, working together to plant saplings in schools.
The initiative serves multiple purposes, aligning with the objectives of the Value Education Olympiad. First and foremost, it educates students about the importance of trees in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, mitigating climate change, and improving air quality. By participating in the tree plantation drive, students learn valuable lessons about environmental sustainability, teamwork, and civic engagement.
Additionally, the initiative fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among students. They not only plant the saplings but also commit to nurturing and caring for them throughout their growth journey. This hands-on experience provides practical knowledge and allows students to witness the positive impact they can have on the environment through their actions.
To ensure the success of the tree plantation campaign ISKCON received support from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Department of Forest and Climate. These partnerships offer expertise in selecting appropriate tree species, providing necessary resources, and offering long-term care and maintenance guidance.
“It was a huge endeavor which was only possible with collaborations and their expert guidance. It involved coordinating with all schools, understanding the specific need according to their location, arranging those specific saplings and transportation, and providing support during the process,” shared Karuna Chandra Das, the International Value Education Olympiad project head, “One of the most challenging parts was to finalize the day. The season has to be suitable based on monsoon predictions. Everything moved accordingly. There must be a system for planting and caring for those saplings. The schools took up that responsibility.”
The tree plantation drive under the Value Education Olympiad in Delhi is gaining significant momentum and drawing attention from various stakeholders. It serves as an excellent model for integrating environmental education into the academic curriculum, creating a generation of environmentally conscious individuals who understand the value of nature.
ISKCON, in collaboration with its partners, emphasizes the importance of monitoring and evaluating the progress of the tree plantation campaign. Regular assessments and follow-ups will be conducted to track the survival rate of the planted trees, measure their impact on local air quality, and gather feedback from participating students and community members.
Through the integration of tree plantation into the Value Education Olympiad, ISKCON is nurturing young minds and cultivating a greener and more sustainable city. The initiative sets an example for other regions, demonstrating the power of education and community collaboration to address pressing environmental challenges and build a brighter future for all.
“We are extremely grateful to all our partners and collaborators. It is a testimony to the power of collaborations for a higher cause. Devotees, Government, Principals, Teachers, Gardners, all the staff came together to make it happens.” said Karuna Candra Das.