In conversation with Dr.Mukesh Kwatra, Founder, Smiling Tree
What is the roadmap ahead for Smiling Tree?
Smiling Tree, over the last nine years has carried out hundreds of plantation drives, anti-plastic drives and spreading awareness to protect the environment. The sapling planted in 2012 is now a grown-up plant. And we together strive to make the plant grow into a giant tree.
A big number of like minded green warriors are involved with the Smiling Tree. Together the aim is to keep on planting trees, spreading awareness about environmental sustainability, making people aware of harms and alternatives to plastic in daily lives, how to lead an eco-friendly life, educating children at a young age about the above causes, educating the farmer community of India about the climate smart way of agriculture, and so on. Smiling Tre…
How does your work benefit society?
This question can be answered by any person living in a polluted environment, especially people living in places like Delhi, which is one of the most polluted cities of the world.
Who doesn’t want to breathe in clean air, who doesn’t want a pollution free environment, who doesn’t want to save his or her generations from the disastrous effects of climate change, who doesn’t want to have a chemical free food diet, who doesn’t want that the natural resources are always available in abundance?
Smiling Tree’s efforts are to make all the above things positively possible for the society.
How did you become interested in Environmental work?
Well, the credit goes surely to my son Nirbhay, who ignited the spark through his green initiative Smiling Tree.
I, like most of us, was so engrossed in my daily routines, busy life and was oblivious of how we humans are blindfolded to the depleting resources around and degradation of Earth.
I realized that a huge effort is required and that made me study more and more, how and what is to be done to take care of our environment and make Earth a better place. I do understand that what I am doing would be like a drop in the ocean, but as Mother Teresa said, ‘Even the ocean would be less without that missing drop’!
How Development and growing forestation can go hand in hand?
Development can go hand with forestation or more aptly described, with Nature. This is possible if the stairs leading to development are in conjunction with the environment, that’s exactly what we call is “Sustainable Development”. It implies meeting the needs of the present using the natural resources, without compromising the ability and availability of the resources for future generations to meet their needs. If there is a lack of coordination between these two factors, it would be an unsustainable approach and as a result we harm the environment.
How can we teach children environmental protection from a young age?
This is something I have been strongly advocating for quite some time. Children are the future, and that is precisely the reason why they need to be educated at a tender age so that they grow up to lead a sustainable and eco-friendly life.
There should be a compulsory Environment class in the curriculum in schools, with interesting kids’ friendly activities to involve them and evolve them. In fact, at junior levels, a monthly activity should be planned with parents as accomplices. The idea is to make it a family endeavour. If the child carries forward what he does at school, at home too, then that would surely make a strong foundation.
As an environmentalist which area you are more concerned about?
This is hard to answer. To a true environmentalist, any issue which is harmful for the environment, is of concern. More or less is not to be considered.
Myself and Smiling Tree strives and will keep on striving for the Environment benefit at large. Be it climate change, deforestation, unsustainable use of natural resources, use of plastics, gas emissions, fossil fuels burning, or any other issues, all are of concern.
We aim to make our Earth green and will always give our best for that.
When was the smiling tree launched? What was the idea behind the launch of the smiling tree?
‘SMILING TREE’ is a green initiative started by my son Nirbhay Kwatra in 2012. He was at that moment a 10-year Modern School student who had a savor for our home, our planet, Earth. His vision was to seek and garner support of people from all walks of life to form a significant ‘green collective’ and plant trees in abundance besides spreading awareness to inculcate habits of using clean, renewable energy in our daily lives and furthering green cover.
As a momentous ‘first step’ a ‘SMILING TREE GO GREEN WALK’ was organized on the 15th of January,2012 at Lodi Gardens, Delhi. The event was a great success thanks to an overwhelming and ardent response from the masses. People from all age groups were not only inquisitive about the cause but were very ‘appreciative’ too. They were surprised to notice a young ten-year-old kid having such awareness and zest for a clean and green environment.
I have been supporting Nirbhay throughout and now as he is busy with his studies and career development, I have taken over the initiative to carry on the good work.
In one statement, what message do you have to the coming generation?
The following verses from one of my poems would be my message for coming generations –
Let’s reinvent our lives or Earth will pause,
We will adapt and adopt, it’s a green cause.
Sustainable living and deforestation tamed,
May the Earth know that we have changed.