Israel to India, To Build Forests

Sadhana Forest shows local people in India, Haiti, and Kenya how to plant trees in dry regions – and improve their lives. PHOTO: Sadhana

Sadhana Forest shows local people in India, Haiti, and Kenya how to plant trees in dry regions – and improve their lives. PHOTO: Sadhana

Do you believe in a literary cosmos? I do. In the seemingly innocuous collision of two pieces of writing SO removed from each other that they are all that similar. Two articles – one found last evening for work, one chanced upon during the routine Instagram surf on the way to work. One standing out in the mayhem of a news feed; the incredible story of an Israeli man and his wife moving to India in 2003 and buying 70 acres of barren land. To build, sustain a forest. Reafforestation, to be clear. The other titled The Builder’s High. Yes, I’m ‘building’ this up.

The first is the story of Sadhana Forest at Auroville in Pondicherry, a French colonial settlement in India. This ambitious reafforestation project was founded in 2003 by Aviram and Yorit, who at that time had practically no knowledge of forestry. They put their life’s savings of $63000 (earned from their work as professionals in business and architecture, respectively) into the land and buildings (sustainable). Today, they help people in Kenya and Haiti, as well, to build a forest of their own.

To build a life of their own.

The Christian Science Monitor has more on their efforts:

Aviram Rozin was excited. He had just returned from Haiti where the 80,000 Maya nut trees that volunteers with Sadhana Forest had planted there during the past five years had started to flower. Before long each tree would be producing huge quantities of nuts high in protein and other nutrients. One tree could supply enough yearly protein for a family of five.

The nonprofit Sadhana Forest, cofounded by Mr. Rozin and his wife, Yorit, follows three simple strategies:

• Plant indigenous trees in arid regions that once had been forested but have become barren, useless land.

• With few exceptions, do the work using volunteers, both local and from around the world.

• Since trees don’t grow overnight, plan on staying around for a long, long time to see the project through.

The aim of Sadhana Forest isn’t to buy and reforest massive tracts of public land. Rather, it is to teach local people how to grow trees on their own land.

While the Rozins’ story is cultured around building something up (with lots of help, of course) the second article lends perspective on what it takes to build:

I don’t know what cascading chemical awesomeness is going down in my brain when it detects and rewards me for the act of building, but I’m certain that the hormonal cocktail is the end result of millions of years of evolution. Part of the reason we’re at the top of the food chain is that we are chemically rewarded when we are industrious – it is evolutionarily advantageous to be productive. What’s the last thing you built when you got that high? You know that high I’m talking about? It’s staring at a thing that you brought into the world because you decided it needed to exist. (More here).



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s