Hello everyone! Following on from my previous post, in which I did my best to explain why the money raised via iDonateByShopping.org should be donated towards planting trees... here I will explain why we are donating to the 1st of our selected charities. iDonateByShopping.org is a fund-raising non-profit organisation, and I believe there is a very large responsibility to donate the money raised to the most cost-effective and appropriate tree-planting projects. With that in mind, let me introduce our most cost-effective donatee.
The first of our selected tree planting projects is named the Cauvery Calling, which is run by the Isha foundation. This particular mission is based in southern India, and it is a very massive tree planting operation, with the goal of planting 2.4 billion trees in the Cauvery (or Kaveri) basin (compare this to the 20 million that Team Trees raised money to plant in 2019). I like how the founder of the Isha foundation puts it... 2.4 billion trees seems like a huge amount, but after all, there are over 7 billion humans on Earth!
This project is as much about serving humanity as it is about restoring nature. The planting of trees will be done via agro-forestry, that is, forests are being strategically planted between agricultural farmland. This not only keeps the river and the basin healthier and more ecologically diverse — but this also ensures the long term health of the soil for the farmers in the region.
The issues currently faced in the area are massive. 87% of the basin’s original tree cover has been lost, and as the trees have disappeared, almost half of the Cauvery basin now suffers critical groundwater depletion. On the flip side, the farmers in the area have been hit the hardest. Over 47,000 suicides have occurred in the area over the past 15 years, largely caused by droughts leaving farmers pennyless and hopeless for the future.
But why are we donating to this particular project? What makes them deserving of the funds which you help raise? There are a few simple reasons, let's have a look!
- The price per tree planted is very low, around $0.70 per tree. The reasons for this include the fact that the exchange rate to Indian rupees is very strong for most 1st world currencies, and also the fact that the Isha foundation has a very large and active volunteering community.
- This geographical area is a prime example of a low hanging fruit, and the tropical high-rainfall climate means we can get the biggest results in the shortest amount of time.
- The project is already well underway with a proven record of frugally spending the funds. Just above 46 million trees have been planted by the end of 2019, which is very impressive... yet, that's only 2% of the total 2.4 billion target.
- The movement has much support from politicians and the locals of the area. This is a big deal in actually getting a project to be undertaken efficiently. The vice president of India as well as the deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu have publicly supported the movement in the national media.
- The funds of the project are managed by an A-team board, which includes CEO of World Wildlife Foundation India, a supreme court judge and former Indian Space Research Organisation chairman. The project has also received accredation from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, further strengthening the level of trust we can place on the foundation's handling of its funds.
- Moving on to an open and an honest logistical reason, the Isha foundation managing this project has a large and passionate following amongst Indians and Westerns alike all over the world. Linking with such a large organistion can introduce many online shoppers to our iDonateByShopping.org service. Who knows, if we can donate a noticeable chunk to the foundation, perhaps we can even get a shoutout on their twitter page!
And that is about it ladies and gentlemen. In conclusion, my view is that this a very cost-effective undertaking which is already successfully underway with proven success... the project is being run by competent people backed by many volunteers, locals and their government. Really, what more could we want from a tree planting non-profit? But with that, I will leave you with some well produced media created by the Isha foundation which explains and really shows the issues and how the planting of trees will help. I really believe that this project is a holistic undertaking and a win-win for everyone involved, so let's get involved then!
And if you feel moved by the movement, don't forget of course to donate through our iDonateByShopping.org service, or you can donate directly through this link: https://www.ishaoutreach.org/en/cauvery-calling