Environment
Marking this year’s World Environment Day on June 5, the campaign will see people making donations for saplings and pledging to nurture it.

The staggering success of the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge opened a gateway of sorts for similar campaigns on social media. In fact, several variants of the ALS IBC challenge originated in India like the “Book” and “Rice” bucket challenges and managed to do quite well too. 

 Taking inspiration from these successes, this time around, Bengaluru has taken to its own version of the phenomenon, in a bid to recover the city’s lost green cover, through the #SaplingChallenge.

 Marking this year’s World Environment Day on June 5, the campaign will see people making donations for saplings and pledging to nurture it, whilst challenging their friends and family to do the same.

 “In the recent few months, there has been much hue and cry, especially in the social media, about Bengaluru’s waning condition- from scares tagging the city as un-liveable to long rants from Bengalureans lamenting about the city’s unplanned growth. Honestly, I was sick of this and wanted to see if these people actually cared about the city,” explains entrepreneur and best-selling author Varun Agarwal, the man behind the campaign. “We wanted to tap into the power of such viral challenges,” he continues to The News Minute.

 Partnering with city-based NGO SayTrees, Varun ideated the campaign, keeping in mind the city’s sweltering weather patterns in the months of April and May. “With the city having lost 78% of its green cover, we wanted to get the people of the city to do something about it,” Varun says.

 The challenge seeks a minimum donation of Rs 300 and the collection will be allocated towards procuring saplings of the donor’s choice along with its maintenance. “The basic idea is to not just get people to donate, but make people participate in planting their own sapling,” says Sumant Parmar of SayTrees. While the will NGO maintain the saplings for a year, the donors will have to take care of their trees in the coming years.

 Rolled out on May 15, the campaign has seen 476 donations in a span of three weeks. Having already sourced around 20 varieties of trees ranging from neem, jamun, peepal and the like, this Sunday will see the team plant a set of 1,000 saplings in a lake in Kalyan Nagar.