India is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Even a slight increase in temperature or decrease in rainfall can have devastating effects on agricultural productivity, and on the frequency of flooding, drought, and other disasters. At the same time, forests throughout Tamil Nadu have been either neglected or systematically destroyed by modernization and conversion to farmland.

One of the most effective means of combatting greenhouse emissions is planting trees to improve carbon sequestration. A single tree can remove a ton of carbon from the atmosphere in its first 20 years. India has launched a massive tree-planting campaign: on 9 August 2019, one million people in Uttar Pradesh planted 220 million trees in a single day. We are proud to be part of that effort.

What we're doing to help

In cooperation with the Department of Forestry, we have helped schoolchildren and farmers plant 1.3 million trees over the past 25 years

Recently, we began a new tree-planting program in schools. One of our goals is to acquaint students with the various types of trees, their special properties, and the degree to which they remove carbon dioxide from the air. Thulasi and neem, for example, have the capacity to purify air. Trees like pungai and banyan help cool the environment, while palm trees are useful for storing water and moringa can purify water, shade crops, and provide supernutrients. Understanding the immediate as well as long-term benefit of trees provides an incentive to the children to nurture their trees carefully.

At the end of each year, we teach the children to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere by their trees.