To commemorate the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, 100 women from each of the 33 village panchayats in Taranagar block in Rajasthan's Churu district planted 5,100 saplings at the same time earlier this week. As part of a one-of-a-kind Harit Marubhumi (green dessert) campaign, the women pledged to treat the plants as "green members" of their families.
The campaign emphasised the critical interconnection between humanity and nature, making the tree an inseparable part of the "family consciousness," which in turn brings every issue related to plants, trees, leaves, and the climate to the ecosystem for the purpose of generating environmental sensitivity and empowerment.
After identifying land for plantation, all 33 village panchayats in Taranagar block joined the drive. Sant Kumar Meena, Block Development Officer, stated that the inaugural programme at Gajuwas panchayat saw the planting of 251 saplings of desert species such as khejri, rohida, neem, ber, bakayan, and sheesham.
Fruit-bearing saplings of lemon, guava, mulberry, jamun, and pomegranate were also given to the women to plant at home. The saplings were sown at a distance of 15 feet each at the plantation sites, which included government schools and panchayat land, to help them grow with enough space and sunlight.
Sarpanches of village panchayats and local women took on the responsibility of protecting the plants until they matured into trees, shrubs, and perennial herbs.
Shyam Sunder Jyani, the campaign's driving force and this year's recipient of the United Nations' Land for Life Award, led the volunteers in preparing the soil, selecting the saplings, and planting them with care.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has bestowed the award on Dr. Jyani, an associate professor at the Government Dungar College in Bikaner, in recognition of his efforts to promote “familial forestry,” which associates trees with families.
The 2021 award has focused on land restoration and conservation through outstanding efforts to improve communities' relationships with nature.
Over the last 17 years, over 10 lakh families have participated in the familial forestry campaign in 15,000 villages of western Rajasthan, and over 25 lakh trees have been planted. Dr. Jyani's institutional forest concept has implemented sustainable forest management in educational institutions by involving students and local communities.