Most of us know about the legacy of Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, as the missile man of India. But a few of us know that he had brought out his vision to tackle a time bomb called “climate change” through his pet project of planting ten billion trees for 1 billion people.
“Nature shrinks as capital grows. The growth of the market cannot solve the very crisis it creates.”
Hailed as the ‘people’s president’, APJ Abdul Kalam, the 11th President of India, collapsed while delivering a lecture at IIM, Shillong. His last tweet read, “Going to Shillong…to take a course on Livable Planet Earth at IIM.”
This poem of Kalam tells us how much he loved the environment.
O creator of dreams,
Why do you keep searching for God?
Nature is His home, purity His abode
And Life is but His blessing!
Keep loving nature and care for its being,
Then you can see divinity all over!’
During one of his interactions with students, Kalam said, “I would also ask children to plant at least five trees and nurture till they get matured. Every young person has to take a pledge to plant at least five trees and nurture them. A matured tree can absorb about 20 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) in a year. At the same time, it releases around 14 kg of oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere.”
In 2014, on the occasion of World Environment Day, several CBSE schools adopted an Environment Pledge written by Kalam with the message “Billion trees for billion people by 2016”.
The pledge read:
1. I realise that every mature tree by photosynthesis absorbs 20 kgs of Carbon dioxide every year. By the same process, each tree lets out about 14 Kg of Oxygen every year.
2. I will plant and nurture ten trees and will ensure my parents, my sisters and brothers plant trees and my neighbours also plant ten trees each. I will be an ambassador for tree mission in my locality.
3. I will keep my house and its surroundings clean and use products which are biodegradable to the extent possible
4. I will promote a culture of environmental friendliness, through recycling and conservation of water and other recyclable materials both at home and school.
5. When I take a professional career, I will take decisions on organisational processes which protect the environment and preserves the biodiversity.
6. I will encourage the use of renewable energy to the maximum extent possible.
7. I will spread the awareness about the need to preserve the environment in my home, in my locality and among my student friends.
8. I will engage the water conservation, especially by rainwater harvesting and spread the message in my family and friends.
Sadly, we were not able to make his pet project a success. It hereby falls on our shoulders to pay homage to the great leader by planting his trees and make his “tree mission” a roaring success. Let us take the environment pledge with APJ Abdul Kalam in spirit.
On the eve of his first birth anniversary after his death, let each one of us plant a tree and pay homage to one one of the greatest leaders of India ever produced.