Groups of women across several remote villages in Ganjam have added one more task to their long list of daily chores. Besides cooking, sending their children off to school, taking care of the family and keeping their mud huts tidy, they now get together to plant trees in the area to create green covers would prove crucial not just to their survival but to their ecosystem as well. Community plantations have been promoted in almost all villages in collaboration with the forest department. Saplings including teak and other plants were collected from the department and planted in the villages.
“It is us who must shoulder the responsibilities now. If we do not plant these trees, we will perish,” remarks Jyotsna V Kumar
The locals, who, till just a few years back, were cutting off trees for fuel wood or to clear the land for agriculture and other livelihood, today realise that global warming will drastically change their way of life forever, as the slowly rising sea levels start engulfing the villages.
The devastating cyclones in the area almost every year has already led to uprooting of several hundred trees. Some Self Help Groups have also started nurturing the saplings to sell them to NGOs who conduct similar plantation drives
“ At first it had taken a while to persuade women to take out the time for planting trees but now as the awareness about climate change has increased they strongly believe that this way they would be able to preserve their environment and their homes,” says Krishna , the feild coordinator at Markandi village.