Arbor Day, observed on April 24, is America’s annual celebration of trees and the important role they play in the ecosystem. The founding principles of Arbor Day – environmental stewardship and appreciation for the interrelationship of nature and life – are as true today as they were in 1872, when the first Arbor Day was held in America.
In India, we also have a deep respect for nature and a keen awareness of the environment that sustains us. As a country proud of its agrarian roots, we have a long tradition of planting trees, and we celebrate many festivals related to trees.
One of these events is the Van Mahotsav, a week-long national festival of tree planting that is celebrated on different days in different parts of India, during the first week of July. Every citizen is expected to plant a sapling during the Van Mahotsav. There are also awareness campaigns about the benefits of trees and the devastating harm caused by deforestation.
The movement has engaged many generations, especially in schools where children are taught about environmental responsibility and the importance of protecting Mother Earth.
As a member of the global Verizon Green Team in Hyderabad, India, I recently had the opportunity to discuss with my U.S. colleagues how our Van Mahotsav is similar to Arbor Day. We readily agreed that no matter the name of the holiday, or when or where it is observed around the world, the sentiment behind it is what matters most… The simple act of planting a single tree connects us all with nature and brings many positive benefits for years to come.
It’s always a wonderful experience when I see the look of joy and accomplishment on the faces of my co-workers and members of their families, as shown in these photos, as they gather and plant these trees in their communities.
I am proud that since 2011, the Verizon Green Team has planted 2,100 saplings in Hyderabad and Chennai.
In 2015, we hope to increase that total to 2,700.
It is also a powerful feeling to know that I am part of a 17,000-member global Green Team – a volunteer organization of eco-aware citizens of the world, who share my environmental values – and that India has the second-largest membership in the Verizon Green Team worldwide. The photo at top shows some of my Green Team colleagues.
No matter where you live, please think about planting a tree in honor of all of the environmental holidays of our shared planet – and don’t forget to celebrate Van Mahotsav in July.