India has lost 9.4 million trees across forest areas to development projects over the past four years (2015-16 to 2018-19). Keeping in mind how critical the situation is, volunteers of Youth for Sustainability (YFS) a movement dedicated to Sustainable Living by a group of youth, came forward to find out and spread awareness about what the value of these forests actually is. Under the able guidance of the Lead Coordinator of YfS Punyasloka Panda, a team of four volunteers had undertaken the mammoth task. The project TreeMonetization, estimates the value of all the trees and forests in terms of Indian Currency, making it simpler for people to understand how surprisingly huge these numbers are and thus, the loss is.
The new feature which is available on the website for Youth for Sustainability, enables all the common people to enter any knowledge they have about any deforestation taking place or going to take place, that they are aware of and obtain a numerical value which helps them understand the severity of these actions. They would also be able to share these figures on various social media apps, making more and more people aware and encouraging them to take a necessary step. The most unique feature about the project is that it calculates the cost of a tree based on the geographical location as India has several climatic zones and the value of trees is different from one region to another
Kaustuv Ku. Mukherjee, a volunteer of YfS, said, “The project TreeMonetization provided us with a point of view that we were totally ignorant of. We were amazed to find that trees can represent such huge numbers when converted to monetary value the n terms of India Currency. The project helped us in greening our minds with the calculations showing how much the trees are necessary for us to sustain and how much loss we cause to ourselves by cutting them.”
Sneha S Sahu, also a Volunteer who worked on the project said, “The project is about a unique idea (of presenting the value of trees in terms of money) makes us realize the value more conveniently. This is an idea that I was intrigued by as soon as it was put forward by Punyasloka. The project took around 2 months, and it was a great experience. I hope supporters its purpose and helps people.”
Srikant, a YfS volunteer, said “It was interesting. Although long, but as teamwork is the key to every successful project, I feel enlightened to follow and take part and contribute my skills in completing this project. Once again, I thank everyone in my team for helping and supporting me. It is all about the fact that trees have greater monetary value than your profit on cutting trees.
This project motivated me to be a change or cause for sustainability and the experience with the supportive team supported it my best project.” said Akaashdeep, sharing his experience of working with the team.”
Sandeep, a volunteer of YfS shared, “Working on the TreeMonetization was very interesting as well as insightful for me. I got to understand that trees represent a significant investment. I would like to thank Kaustuv and Sneha for the support and guidance in the project. It makes me happy to think the difference it can make in our society, something small that we put together, and how it became something big.”
This apart, during the lockdown in March, YFS had also raised 1.40 lakhs rupees through various sources to help the people from the bottom of the pyramid and had also collaborated with various organizations, to set up three education shelters in villages in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. The organization is soon going to set up a fourth education shelter soon. YFS have also ensured to teach poor children via online classes. They had also planted trees in these villages to help helpless people to meet their needs.
About Youth for Sustainability (YFS):
YFS is an organization which focuses on hyperlocal issues to make a bigger impact. It exploits the potential of youths to attain sustainable development goals. They work for environment responsible consumption and climate change. YFS aims to set up clubs and societies dedicated to the field of SDG 12 and 13. Since it’s inception in January 2020, YFS have set up clubs in 5 schools and 10 colleges across 6 cities in the country and the current volunteers count stands at 150+ mark.