60 million trees

November 1, 2017 -- Living City

60 million trees
An Indian initiative to curb climate change

Church groups in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have joined a government initiative to plant millions of saplings to arrest climate change and propagate a message about conserving water. All nine Catholic dioceses in the state joined the government’s 12-hour-long tree plantation drive on July 2. The government reported that 60 million saplings were planted in one day; most of them on the banks of the river Narmada, considered a holy river by majority Hindus in the state.

“It was a great move in the direction of protecting the environment, conserving water and promoting greenery, thereby arresting the ill-effects of climate change,” said Bishop Gerald Almeida of Jabalpur. Bishop Almeida had issued a special newsletter to all parishes and Catholic institutions, urging priests, nuns and the laity to actively participate in the state’s plantation drive, said Father Somy Jacob, a parish priest of Jabalpur.

The diocesan newsletter encouraged each Catholic family in the 62 parishes to plant “at least five saplings on their land, and if possible on public land where they can take care of them.” Some parishioners participated by planting saplings on parish lands and school grounds, said Father Jacob.