India shows the way

The return of the trees
In India, tree-planting has been taken to a whole new level. In August I mentioned the attempt to beat the world record by planting 600,000 trees in 24 hours. Well, they succeeded with flying colours. Since 2006, the Indian government has had a policy of guaranteeing employment for 100 days a year to members of families falling below the poverty line. This hasn’t usually been the case in practise, as the authorities responsible for implementing it have struggled with the logistics.

So, enter an innovative Indian civil servant. He co-ordinated the massive scheme, with each village council being set a target of planting saplings. By the end of the day, they were just short of a billion trees.

A billion trees, in one 24-hour period, and jobs for many thousands of Indians. While we hear of football fields being demolished every second in tropical forests to feed the meat and soya industries, or for meranti wood floorboards, how wonderful to hear of the reverse happening on such a grand scale.

The villagers also have to look after the trees. They will be paid for the next three years, on a sliding scale depending on the survival rates of the trees under their care.

Electric Cars
Electric Cars are making a re-emergence, years after the first electric initiatives were killed off. One of the larger obstacles has been how to charge them. Batteries that charge in ordinary wall sockets currently can take the entire night to charge, and have a limited range, reducing their flexibility. Personally, I don’t find the thought of 24 hours filling up somewhere along the N1 with nothing but the dodgy fast food chain for sustenance that exciting.

The alternative, electric cars that can charge much more quickly, require special infrastructure. The oil companies have a monopoly, with their fuel stations blanketing the cities and highways of the world, so it’s going to take something special to break that. Los Angeles, a car city if ever there was one, is making a start on changing that. A solar power company and a Dutch bank have teamed up to build 5 electric vehicle recharging stations from Los Angeles along Highway 101. Recharging will be absolutely free. At the moment limited to the Tesla sports vehicle, hopefully this will help kickstart this sort of much-needed infrastructure.

India commits to climate change legislation
The time for action on climate change is now. Unfortunately, our government hasn’t been making the right noises regarding any form of committment. It’s understandable that developing countries, who have seen developed countries benefit from years of thoughtless exploitation, don’t want to be treated unfairly, and commit to cuts that leave developed countries with a locked in advantage. But it’s past the time for games, for us and them thinking. India, which for years shared a similar position, yesterday committed to cuts in greenhouse gas emmissions, putting pressure on the number one offender, the US, to come up with something significant. The US, many of its media outlets and politicians funded by the oil companies, faces significant difficulties in getting cuts through. Let’s hope they do what’s needed.

And, while we’re on the topic of India, we’re offering a wide range of Fair Trade incense from India. Produced from wild plant matter, it is by default organic (although not certified). The packaging is from recycled paper, and of course contains absolutely no toxins or synthetics, no use of child labour, and no animal testing, none of which goes without saying in the murky world of commercial incense production. It’s also some of my favourite-smelling incense, subtle aromas rather than cloying or artificial-smelling.

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To order, head on over to

Have a great and safe long weekend,
the Ethical Co-op team

Comment ( 1 )

  1. Ethical Co-op » Blog Archive » Chamber pots and missing zeroes

    [...] and Billions I mentioned two week’s ago how 1 billion trees had been planted in India in a single 24-hour period, a world record. I was led astray by the BBC source for the news, and a [...]