A Peepal's Man
The world is dying. Global temperatures are rising. Habitats are being destroyed. Animals are being driven to extinction. Every day, tens of thousands of trees are cut down. We continue to exploit our environment without considering the repercussions of our actions. Radical change in our unsustainable lifestyle and society is a must if we hope to ameliorate the situation. There are some champions of change, who work tirelessly to protect the environment, and Mr. Swami Prem Parivartan (Peepal Baba) is one of them.
Peepal Baba’ childhood directly contributed to his love of nature and decision to work with trees in his adult life. Swami Prem Parivartan (Peepal Baba) was born in 1966 in Chandigarh, India. His father was an army doctor, so Peepal Baba had the opportunity to travel the country at a young age. During his travels, Peepal Baba fell in love with nature, and was inspired by a childhood teacher to plant trees. Peepal Baba’s love of nature lead to the creation of his charity, “Give Me Trees”.
Trees are very important for the environment, because they help make regions habitable. Peepal Baba is responsible for the planting of over 12 million trees in India. His name has become synonymous with the Peepal tree, because it is the most common tree planted by his charity. Trees produce oxygen, improve the climate and support the local wildlife. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen.
This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.” The roots of trees hold soil in place, preventing erosion and trees help recharge the local groundwater supply. Peepal Baba has been planting trees to help protect the ‘three Bs’, which are birds, butterflies and bees. The Peepal tree has a very long lifespan (900 – 1500 years), its bark and leaves can be used for medicinal purposes and release large amounts of oxygen. Peepal Baba has planted over 20 million trees, because he has seen their immense value.
“Tree is a magnet which attracts water in the form of rain and it is one of the most significant solutions to bringing back ground water. If forests cease to exist, rivers will not have water. By creating urban forests, we can fight the national emergency and war like situation currently prevailing in the country – lakhs of children dying due to air pollution and taps are expected to run out of water in various parts of the country by 2020”, says 53-year-old Peepal Baba.
Peepal Baba’s charity, “Give Me Trees” has planted a significant number of trees in India. Peepal Baba is the founder of the environmental charity, “give me trees”, which started as a hobby for students. Approximately 30 years later, “Give Me Trees” was registered as an environmental charity dedicated to planting and conserving trees.
Today, the “Give Me Trees” trust is one of the largest community-based tree planting and conservation movements in India. The “Give Me Trees” team consists of volunteers from all walks of life. Over 7,000 volunteers and interns across India help conserve the tree saplings that are planted by “Give Me Trees”. “Give Me Trees” also focuses on: Community education, awareness, and volunteer mobilization campaigns. “Give Me Trees” is responsible for the planting of approximately 20 million trees.
Peepal Baba is currently very successful. He has a post graduate in English Literature and a Master’s degree in Mass Communications. Mr. Swami teaches college students for a living and spends the rest of his day traveling and teaching people the art of planting trees. Mr. Swami promotes natural farming techniques and gives talks on organic farming. He promotes the cause of composting, waste management and intensive tree planting.