As the name suggests, the aim of this campaign has been to promote a cultural relationship with trees through a personal bond and not an impersonal act of mere plantation, which leads to hundreds of thousands of trees getting planted each year only to be abandoned. Moreover, the thought of how a simple act by an ordinary individual can have a viral impact, made us think of the practice of gifting plants.
Further, in an age of instruction overdose, the act of gifting plants gives the message of the need to plant trees even if no words are spoken. In fact, it gives responsibility to the recipient to plant the tree and nurture it.
Hence, the campaign promotes the practice of gifting plants on occasions such as birthdays, weddings, child birth or any occasion in which we give gifts. The campaign goes a step further and has as its punchline, "But you don't need a reason to gift a tree".
The campaign is primarily on social media with hundreds of people becoming ambassadors with
profile pictures relating to the campaign. These images are further developed into posters and
hoardings and the campaign runs on radio as well. There is also a Green Superhero, Dedi Loku
(Tree Man in the Kui tribal language), who is the mascot of the campaign.
To facilitate those who want to plant or gift trees, Bakul runs Tree for Free initiatives at BPCL petrol pumps and through roadshows on bullock carts in addition to making trees available at the Bakul Libraries.
Click on the images below to have a look into more galleries of Bakul's My Tree Campaign!
After running the My Tree Campaign for a few years, we realized that even if people were motivated to gift trees, at the time of purchase of the gift (often just before gifting), it was not easy to get a tree in the first place, let alone package it.
This is because most people don't know where the nurseries are and they are not conveniently located either, and the nurseries are not open in the evenings, when people buy their gifts.
Hence, Bakul decided to come up with attractive packaged gift plants as a solution for those who are interested but find it difficult to gift plants in Bhubaneswar. These Gift Plants are available in 2 kinds of attractive packaging, in a basket or a fabric package.
Bakul Gift Plants are slowly becoming popular, and have been purchased by individuals and organizations such as NHRD, SBI, Odisha Diary at events, at award functions, as return gifts at parties etc.
This started when Bakul was approached by One Drop, an international NGO, to work on Education on Water and Sanitation using the Arts in villages of Ganjam. It seemed a wonderful opportunity to work outside Bhubaneswar and to bring together the three interests of Bakul in Education, Environment and the Arts.
Hence, Bakul designed an innovative intervention in which Education happened by the villagers instead of for the villagers, seeing the villagers as active agents of educational activities and not as mere recepients of higher knowledge. And the education happened through a larger festival of learning, which made them trust the Bakul team. This also happened because the team camped in a village for 6 days instead of merely visiting them and "educating" them.
Moreover, though the objective was awareness on WASH, there was a Mobile Library for the 6 days
and Film Screenings in the evenings. So, at the end, people thought that the team had come for
their good. And for the 6 days, there was a festival of learning in which the villagers created
stories, acted in plays, painted murals or created sculptures, made films etc. each of which
ended up creating awareness on water and sanitation. But in this case, the villagers themselves
owned the awareness activities as they had created them.
After the partnership with One Drop, Bakul has partnered with UNICEF in creating awareness on Water and Sanitation among pilgrims at the massive Nabakalebara celebrations in Puri in 2015. Again with UNICEF, Bakul is running a WASH in Schools project currently in Angul District.
Because Bakul promotes individuals becoming change agents, education about the environment and
how we are causing problems because of modern lifestyles is very important if individuals are to
change from being problems to being the solutions.
Hence, Bakul has been conducting workshops primarily on Climate Change but also Water and E-Waste in different schools of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
Understanding the power of cinema in having an impact on the imagination and educating people, Bakul has been organizing Film Festivals on the Environment since 2008, when it organized the Bhubaneswar edition of Quotes from the Earth with Toxics Link. Bakul followed this with a Film Festival on Climate Change in 2010 and a Film Festival on Water in 2012.
In 2014, Bakul started Earth Reels, a travelling film festival on the Environment to reach out to more and more people. Its a Film Festival that travels to Apartments, Schools, Colleges and Corporates, where people can engage with the films without much effort.