‘We can’t make it without nature'
Interview in ea.
TEXT: Carien van der Wal
PHOTO’S: © Antim Photography
Adit Ram argues: if we we’re not giving nature the chance to recover, then at least let's try and give it a helping hand. His initiative, Tree to Be, uses the world as its canvas.
Social awareness has always played a big part in Adit’s life, even in childhood. During his time at university questions of sustainability featured prominently, and he graduated with a thesis investigating a wind-energy company. From there on, and before he set up Tree to Be – a movement that came out of respect for nature – Adit worked as a market researcher for Schiphol. There his goal was to improve costumer satisfaction. He also worked for Face the Future as a concept developer. Face the Future is focused on helping ecosystem recover, with a focus on reforestation. It was his time at Face the Future that inspired him to start the Bhopal concept: a concept to make the fast expansion of the Indian city Bhopal more sustainable. This means that several answers to questions in and around sustainability are implemented on the surface of the city. In 1984 Bhopal suffered an industrial disaster of unprecedented proportions in the form of a city-wide gas leak. The consequences are still noticeable to this day, for the people of the city as well its nature – and in legal terms the battle is still ongoing. The Bhopal project is not an easy one, which is why Adit is currently in conversation with the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies. This latest connection has helped the project along, and has made a collaboration possible where solutions are designed together with Indian students.
The main focus of Tree to Be is trees and their role in climate systems and ecologies. ‘Our goal is help restore 2 billion hectares of degraded desert-land that came about due to non-sustainable farming, deforestation, and the use chemicals. At this moment Tree to Be offers the opportunity of contributing to this mission in places like Uganda, Malaysia, and more recently – the Dutch Siddeburen.
It’s simple: plant a tree
Adit’s big challenge is making people aware of why the rehabilitation of the ecosystem is important. Why it shouldn’t just stay a conversation, and why action is imperative. ‘The issues we face when it comes to climate are for the most part down to communication. The solutions already exist. Don’t take nature for granted, but consider it an equal. To anyone who wants to contribute to a greener world and wants to do something positive for our climate, I’d say: plant a tree. You can also do this in an urban environment, you can plant a miniature forest,’ Adit explains.
By planting trees that are native to an environment it’s possible to develop a full forest within ten years, something that usually takes about a hundred years. ‘Trees are the most simple and effective way to challenge climate change. They make for a livable environment for both humans and animals. Don’t consider them capital, but realise: nature isn’t dependent on us, we are dependent on nature. Nature carries on, with or without us.’