Green World India

Adhar Farm, Salepally Village, Orissa

In early summer, 2010, visiting the UK to deliver a paper at Oxford, Marc Barasch attended a birthday party (at a swimming hole in Freshford) for an old friend who founded Be the Change. There he struck up a conversation with David Crossweller of Wherever the Need, a UK charity that builds ecological composting toilets. Made simply and cheaply with local labor and materials, they nonetheless have a sophisicated design that, aside from providing vital sanitation, produce "humanure." Adding trees seemed to the two men a logical and useful component for a holisic model.

The Green World Campaign's first pilot project was for 2500 trees at the Adhar Farm in Salepally village in the Sonepur district of Orissa. 1.6 hectares have now been placed under a forestry regime, complementing 2 hectares for agricultural production. They plan to dig a farm pond in the remaining 0.4 hectare land. This farm pond will also recharge the ground water body;as well as water can be taken on dire need of watering to the crop / plantation.

“Thirty years back, we used to have four to five months continuous rain and had more than enough to live with forest produce like honey and spices. Now, there is nothing and hardly getting 15 to 20 days rain; all because of the indiscriminate cutting of the trees by the forest department and also by our people.” (Salepally village leader)

Salepally Women's GroupThere are 230 houses in this village, mostly “low-caste,” tribal people who are 85 percent illiterate. This area is an example of the connection between poverty, lack of education, deforestation and climate change. The area once had a good forest cover, but illegal cutting of trees for timber and firewood made it more or less barren. As a result, the average rainfall of 1,360 mm has been reduced to 420 mm in the recent years. With no regular agricultural activities and with very little opportunity for regular employment, the conditions of the people here have been getting worse. Those who have some land are not able to do any cultivation, because the poor economic conditions prevent them from investing in farming activities. Hence, cutting down whatever trees and brush remain in the area and selling it in the nearby villages/towns is the only source of income for the people.

From the meeting had with the local community leaders as well as with the women group members, it is planned to expand the cultivation by another two hectares on leasing the land and suggested to allow growing the grass for making brooms along with planting trees. The group members and ADHAR will take the joint responsibility of protecting trees planted and reporting.

Among the trees species being planted are Neem, Sal, Shegun, Shishu, Gambhari, Chakunda, Arjun, Bamboos.

Biofuel Trees, Healing Land, Creating Rural Income.

The GWC in partnership with CleanStar Trust will plant “energy trees” to help the rural poor regenerate their degraded land and generate income. Jatropha (Jatropha curcas) and pongamia (pongamia pinnata ) grow in depleted soils and help restore them to health. The fruit from these trees contains oilseeds that can be made into biofuel.

The oilseed trees grow with little maintenance, fix nitrogen, help stabilize the soil on rocky land, and create a green cover. They start generating income from the oil seeds they produce after Year 1. Trees planted now will provide a reliable source of income for 50 years.

Harvesting and selling oilseeds provides a ready source of incremental income that is less prone to market price fluctuation or climatic events than other cash crops, and require little annual input. This extra income source reduces pressure on families to migrate in search of work after the monsoon season, protecting women and children's health and education. A program selects and trains local “ Environmental Champions” to encourage the local community to (re)establish sound environmental practices and fight climate change.

1 million saplings are ready to go in the ground. It is estimated that marginal farming families in the Beed District of Maharashtra will triple their incomes by converting 1,500 acres of wasteland into forests.

The mix of trees with simple agroforestry of fruit trees and other crops restores biodiversity, preserves natural resources like water and soil, and increases food supply. Other suitable species enable fodder production and agro-forestry, and help bee-keeping that will lead to the development of local micro-enterprises. Studies have shown that a strong economic incentive for responsible natural resource management will help to gradually repair and enhance ecosystems that have long been under stress.

The goal: Plant 1 million oil-seed trees. Bring sustainable income to 600 women in in 15 villages. Restore barren land to health. Create new forests that heal the soil, absorb CO2, and alleviate poverty.

600 women in the Beed District in 15 villages will be mobilized to grow trees on barren wastelands. CleanStar's focus is on helping women and youth among the rural poor create robust new income streams through better use of the few resources available to them (rainwater, surplus labor, and large amounts of unproductive land) by planting and maintaining an increasingly valuable asset: forests. CleanStar Trust provides upfront financial, technical, and operational support to help targeted communities overcome challenges in planting trees, and 3 years of support until the forests become productive and self-sustaining.

The world has increasingly recognized the urgent need to plant trees to absorb the extra atmospheric CO2 that is causing increasing climate change. The 1 million tree project will help sequester or displace ~500,000 tons of CO2 over the first 20 years.

Green World Carbon will work with this program and others to ethically realize the offset value of trees and create new revenue streams for villagers, supporting ecologically sound development. This global intiative will helps compensate communities for the key environmental benefits they produce for the region and for the world.

Carbon offsets may also accrue by turning the pressed-out jatropha seedcake into biochar, a form of organic charcoal produced by a process of nearly emission-free pyrolysis, that is buried in the ground as fertilizer,  permanently sequestering carbon in the soil.

CleanStar Trust has been developing and testing innovative programs around renewable energy in central India for the last 3 years in partnership with leading agriculture universities, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Yale University, the Acumen Fund, and local NGOs.  Their work recently won recognition from New Ventures India, a sustainable development accelerator established by USAID, the Confederation of Indian Industry, and the World Resources Institute, Washington.