UNEP Recognizes Amrita Center for Environmental Studies

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) honored Amrita’s Center for Environmental Studies, with a certificate of participation in the Program’s Billion Tree Campaign.

A brainchild of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, the Billion Tree Campaign aimed to plant at least seven billion trees, one for every individual on the planet. Recently, this ambitious target was successfully met by the group.

“Let us plant even more trees to celebrate this wonderful achievement,” said Wangari Maathai, speaking on the occasion.

CESOver the past decade, Amrita has planted over 100,000 trees at its Coimbatore campus. Similar greening efforts are now ongoing at Amrita’s other campuses also.

At Coimbatore, the trees have helped convert what previously was dry, barren land, into what is now a lush, green campus celebrated for its scenic beauty. There has even been a drop in the average temperature of the region by over five degrees.

“Every tree counts, and we count every tree,” is the slogan of the Billion Tree Campaign. The same philosophy resonates at Amrita, and tree-planting continues even today.

For instance, on 9/9/09, nearly 300 people from the Coimbatore campus, including senior members of the administration such as Dean (Engineering), Dean (School of Business) and others gathered at the foot-hills of the elephant shaped mountain that borders the campus to participate in the planting of trees for the Nakshatra Vanam. (See News)

“In olden times, our ancestors venerated trees,” stated Dr. Aravindakshan, Director of the Center for Environmental Studies, who led the tree-planting activity. “Concepts such as Nakshatra Vanam come from a scientific base, well-established in our ancient texts. Besides, they help to reinforce the relationship between human-beings and nature.”

CES“Our Chancellor Amma often emphasizes that the lost harmony between man and nature, as well as between fellow human beings, should be re-established,” he added. “It is with this larger goal in mind that we organize such activities here at Amrita.”

And the world is beginning to notice.

“The United Nations Environment Program and its partners, hereby acknowledge with appreciation the contribution to the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign of M. Aravindakshan for planting trees and catalyzing environmental action in the service of the Earth and for the benefit of humankind,” stated the certificate.

Nov 13, 2009
Center for Environmental Studies, Coimbatore

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