India’s Green Cover Increasing; So Is Its Carbon Footprint

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Pavan Kaushik

The Earth is home to over three trillion trees. This number is so large that it is almost impossible to grasp its enormity. The good news is that it is more than seven times the earlier estimation of four hundred billion trees.

By comparison, the Amazon rainforest, which comprises over half of the Earth’s remaining rainforests, is home to about 390 billion trees, or 13 per cent of the world’s trees. It may sound as if Earth is full of trees. But the reality is that we have lost 80 per cent of the world’s trees to logging, clear-cutting, burning, and environmental degradation, according to data from One Tree Planted. Overall, we have cut 47 per cent of trees since the beginning of civilisation.

India is amongst the top 10 countries with the most trees, and many reports suggest that the total forest cover in India is about 81 million hectares (800,000 square kilometres), which is 24.62 per cent of the geographical area of India. Though marginal, it has seen an increase from 24.56 per cent in 2019. Even the forest area cover has increased by 2260 square kilometres. The carbon stock has also substantially increased. The current assessment shows that the total carbon stock in the country’s forest is estimated to be 7204 million tonnes, marking an increase of 79.4 million tonnes since 2019.

It is also true that protecting the environment is not just about tree plantation. It is also about pollution control, water conservation, energy conservation, civic sense, and above all, being a responsible citizen and an advocator of a sustainable planet. The change begins with an individual, and then individuals make society and finally envisage a collective vision of the country.

We need at least one mature tree or four to five small trees to make enough oxygen for one person. On the contrary, India has a whopping 36 billion trees, but its population is also more than 1.35 billion. Hence, every individual would get just 25-26 trees each.

It is also true that protecting the environment is not just about tree plantation. It is also about pollution control, water conservation, energy conservation, civic sense, and above all, being a responsible citizen and an advocator of a sustainable planet. The change begins with an individual, and then individuals make society and finally envisage a collective vision of the country. It is not about just being environmentally conscious. It is also about thinking about the future, economic development and building a responsible, sensible society.

Globally, World Environment Day is observed to let everyone know that there is only one Earth, and it is the responsibility of each individual to balance it in such a way that everyone lives in harmony. This is also the theme of World Environment Day – 2022.

When we need to care about the future, the future generation needs to take the reins into their hands. The young children of today will become torch bearers of tomorrow.

We have one planet to stay and no more to go. Protect it before it decides to protect itself, as nature does carry the power to protect itself.

Pavan Kaushik is a leading communicator, storyteller and writer.