All things perish. What remains is nature. Bollywood actress Tanishaa Mukerji founded Stamp, an NGO that works towards planting trees in and around Maharashtra, with the vision to make our land greener and better
Tanishaa, what got you thinking about establishing Stamp?
I founded Stamp in 2014 because I felt the need to. Climate change was becoming a pressing problem. Also as a child, I grew up connected closely to nature. But in modern Mumbai, I saw a lot of floras and faunas not flourishing as they should have been. There were no good gardens and parks to take the children to, like how we have in international cities. I saw Mumbai becoming a bit of concrete jungle. I saw a lot of progress in terms of construction but not in terms of nature. It was time I contributed my bit to increase the green cover in the country.
What kind of activities does Stamp undertake?
We work from project to project. Mostly, plantation drives. One on-going project is that of building a forest. There’s a lot of land around the river — which is the main source of electrical supply to Mumbai — in Lonavala. We joined hands with the Navy to protect the river bed by planting around it as trees hold the soil. In our next project, we plan to include school children.
So do you have a count of how many plants the NGO has planted so far?
I don’t have an overall count, at the moment. We have carried out several plantation drives. There was this one time, we had a drive in Thane during which we planted nearly one lakh trees. We are now building a forest.
“I hope one day children get graded on how well they take care of the plants”
Tanishaa, as humans we all well know about the importance of trees. We all grow up being taught in schools how essential trees are. Why then we fail to actually go out there and plant them?
I think while we are educated about the significance of trees, we are not taught to nurture them or look after them. If we don’t give our children the opportunity to plant and nurture trees, they will grow into adults who are disconnected from nature. That is why at Stamp, we are planning to implement a program titled ‘Stamp School Program’ wherein every child will get a seed and the child has to grow the seed into a sapling. That way the child will learn how to nurture a plant. In fact, I hope one day children get graded on how well they take care of the plants. I know I sound futuristic, but that’s my vision.
Do you have a message for everybody else who still hasn’t taken to planting?
Be conscious. Become aware of how much do trees mean to us. It is because of them that we survive.