World Environment Day, 5 June 2011

Celebrating the International Year of Forests 2011

The Tree of Hope

A compilation of messages

The ‘Tree of Hope’ was one of the popular attractions of the ICIMOD Open House Day 2011, held on 12 March. It was a model tree decorated with hundreds of paper-leaf messages from visitors to the Centre. The tree was put up to allow people to express their opinions, concerns, and thoughts related to the theme of the International Year of Forests, ‘Forests for People’, in a fun way.

What were the messages? 

Messages of all kinds adorned the tree; some reflected on the values of forests, their spiritual significance, their role in sustaining all kinds of biodiversity, and their tangible and intangible services to people. Most messages talked about saving the tree, avoiding deforestation, and valuing trees for their existence and our survival. Several talked about our responsible roles towards the forests. Each message from the tree was meticulously noted down.

The message from the youngest one read, “People cut trees and I don’t like it”. A parent wrote, “Sustainability is the key - I want a better world for my daughter and her children’s children”. A nature enthusiast wrote, “Greenery is the real scenery”. A Haiku perhaps:  “A beautiful tree, standing tall in front of us, breathing space for all”. 

Here we make an effort to compile the essence of all the messages as take-home statements that may inspire us to be responsible on our part. 

  1. Be the change you want to see in the world, the change that provides for our future generations.
  2. Let the principle of charity, serenity, and divinity grow in my heart; and reflect the same with forests.
  3. Save the forests and you save biodiversity, you save water, you save land, you save energy, and you save people.
  4. We save forests, we build up the treasure, we benefit, we flourish, and we survive.
  5. Conserve forests not only for what they give but also for their intrinsic value, for their very existence and the diversity of other life forms they host.
  6. Concrete forests are short lived, real forests are forever. Be careful about random urbanisation and deforestation.
  7. Plant a tree, you don’t need an occasion for it; and if you make the earth green today, you are happy tomorrow.
  8. Forests as a carbon sink play an important role in alleviating climate change impacts.
  9. Let us seek benefits for local people who protect and maintain the forest when we deal with REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and REDD+ issues. 
  10. While individual actions make a difference, collective actions bring better outcomes. Let us join hands to save our forests - a pillar of our existence. 
  11. Listen to the call of the forests. They need us to protect them. Be the saviour, not the destroyer.