“Around 2006-2007, on way to my office, I daily used to see trees being brutally cut down in broad daylight. It was heartbreaking for me as these trees had only made the city heavenly but they were now being brought down as if they were worthless,” shares Kapil, who hails from Chattisgarh, a place notorious for its soaring mercury in summer.
We created a video to show current conditions of our lakes and how we were able to rejuvenate 2 lakes in no time with support from our corporate partners and with Anand Malligavad – A man of Lake Rejuvenation . And now we wish to join hands with Anand to rejuvenate 45 lakes in next 5 years. it may sound tough but is not if right people come together. So inviting these right people to join hands and make this possible. Inviting all corporates to support rejuvenation of lakes and prevent them from being dead. Water Conservation – A saytree.org initiative
Posted by SayTrees on Sunday, May 12, 2019
He interacted with people asking why they were supporting the large-scale felling of the trees without thinking of the consequences. “Some told me they didn’t like the dry leaves cluttering their courtyards. For some, trees were restricting parking spaces, while for others, trees were simply blocking their view,” he expresses how difficult it was initially to garner support from the public to start his plantation initiative.
The Problems With Funds And Lands
After Kapil started out on his own, he soon realised the importance of community support and funding for continuing such initiatives. Fortunately, his family and friends whole-heartedly supported him, so did nature-lovers across Bengaluru, soon as word about his work started spreading.
“The problems I face today comprise a vicious cycle. Sometimes, we find lots of barren lands to afforest but no substantial funds to back us. At other times, it’s vice versa, with funds available but not enough places to plant trees in,” Kapil compares.
For The Love Of Nature
Kapil’s career required him to move to the USA. But his heart stayed behind in India, with SayTrees. “I made sure tree plantation would continue no matter where I am,” he shows his unflinching dedication.
Needless to say, managing two entirely different job profiles, that too remotely, is no cakewalk. But, Kapil continues to make endless sacrifices to ensure no hindrance ever thwart any project of SayTrees.
Beyond his day job as a software professional at a top USA firm, Kapil makes sure to devote at least four hours for SayTrees, every single day, including weekends and holidays. He borrows extra time for SayTrees by curtailing his sleeping hours. While everyone else is sound asleep, Kapil stays awake, instructing with his ten-membered team in India or interacting with CSR heads of corporates, forest officials, as well as nature lover volunteers.
“If you are truly passionate about something, you always find time for it,” Kapil reiterates.
Gaining Trust Of The Local Community
Once started as a tree plantation initiative, SayTrees has now proliferated towards other activities like assisting farmers, raising urban forests as well as lake rejuvenation. In fact, Kapil has plans to venture into plastic pollution control in the near future.
“This is the need of the hour as our country is facing a huge water crisis and this will only grow if not addressed. If we don’t act now, we will face catastrophic consequences in future. And I cannot just sit and let things ruin for my nation and mother earth. Things I used to fear are coming true now. Extreme heat, drought, cyclone, floods and whatnot. I feel that my efforts have to be exponential if I have to bring even a small change,” he asserts.
Tree Plantation – Bagepalli, Karnataka – 01-09-2018
Employees of L&T Infotech traveled from Bangalore to Bagepalli to be part of 35000 saplings which are being planted in the area. Karnataka has 80% arid land and is next to Rajasthan. We need many more forests in the state and SayTrees is trying to achieve the same with support from our corporate partners under their #CSR initiatives. Thanks L&T Infotech for greening the nation. Thanks @Vinodh Bharadwaj and all who were present for this plantation drive.SayTrees.org
Posted by SayTrees on Sunday, September 2, 2018
Till now, SayTrees has rejuvenated two lakes each in Bengaluru and Tamil Nadu. They also have lakes in Delhi-NCR on their to-do list.
When Kapil first stepped into lake rejuvenation, he singled out a few choked up lakes in the outskirts of Bengaluru. His first tryst with the local residents around the lake has not been quite encouraging, as there happened to be a few individuals who doubted their intentions.
To gain their trust, Kapil took the best yet most painstaking approach – showing them the work of SayTrees in person, till their trust was established. “I made them understand how the project can benefit their community. That is how the people came together to support our initiative,” he narrates.
“The key is to keep them informed and updated about each and every step,” Kapil adds about the basics of community engagement.
While in the USA, Kapil designed the first vertical garden on a flyover pillar. The concept went viral and now this is being executed in multiple cities.
He also started the ‘Silent Tree Protest’ which people from all over the world are diligently circulating all over social media. Nature-lovers from five countries even started the same in their cities.
Recently, he reached out to the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and even funded a drone that will be used to afforest a 3000-acre land with over one crore saplings and seed-balls.
SayTrees Will Always Be His Priority
Despite his relentless efforts, funds still happen to be a roadblock for SayTrees’ upcoming projects. Every day, Kapil receives calls and enquiries from all over India, requesting him to replicate his tree plantation projects in other cities and states.
As of now, though SayTrees is more concentrated in Southern India, Kapil wishes to expand his operations to the North as well. That is, once he secures adequate funding and manpower. He sincerely hopes well-wishers from the USA would come forward to lend their support towards greenifying India through SayTrees.
For Kapil, personal struggles have always taken a backseat when it comes to his firm resolve to save the planet, particularly his beloved garden city – Bengaluru.
“Look at Bengaluru today. My city is suffering from severe water crisis, erratic weather patterns and a brewing concrete jungle.”
“United Nations has given us 12 years to control climate change and I am trying to make sure that there are no loose ends in my efforts. My struggles can never be even slightly close to what nature is suffering. So, I would always put nature as my priority, above and beyond everything else,” shares Kapil.