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Project One Tree: Meet ‘Peepal Baba’ Whose Inspiring Journey Started With One Tree in 1977 – News18

Project One Tree: Meet ‘Peepal Baba’ Whose Inspiring Journey Started With One Tree in 1977 – News18


Swami Prem Parivartan’s humble act of planting a tree in 1977 sparked a movement, resulting in the planting of over 1 crore trees across 202 districts in 18 states of India. (X/@PeepalBaba)

Noted environmentalist Swami Prem Parivartan, famously known as Peepal Baba, runs the Give Me Trees trust, a large voluntary tree-planting collective working in villages, along highways, ponds, rivers, mountain forest fringes, wetlands, wastelands and farmlands

News18 Network, India’s largest news network, has launched ‘Project One Tree’, a movement aiming to mobilize every Indian to plant a tree as a measure against climate change. This marquee movement seeks to raise awareness about environmental conservation and foster collective action towards a greener, more sustainable future.

The “plant one tree” philosophy stands for a powerful symbol of hope and collective action in the face of environmental challenges. It represents a commitment to sustainability, biodiversity and restoring the ecosystem, empowering us to join forces in the quest for a greener world.

A firm believer in this philosophy is Swami Prem Parivartan, aka ‘Peepal Baba’, whose journey started with one tree when he was a 11-year-old. The humble act of planting a tree in 1977 sparked a movement, resulting in the planting of over 1 crore trees across 202 districts in 18 states of India.

Who is ‘Peepal Baba’?

Swami Prem Parivartan is a renowned Indian environmentalist who has dedicated his life to planting trees and conserving the environment. Focused mainly on planting Peepal and Neem trees, Swami Parivartan affectionately came to be called ‘Peepal Baba’.

Born in 1966 into an army officer’s family in Chandigarh, he was named Azad Jain at birth. His father was a doctor in the army and he was taught the importance of trees and the environment by his grandmother at an early age.

After completing his college education, Swami Parivartan pursued a career in yoga and meditation. He later earned a Postgraduate degree in English Literature from the University of Pune. During the day, he taught university students, while in the evenings, he dedicated himself to yoga practice.

His journey in environmental conservation began at the age of 11 in Pune when he planted his first tree at Pune Military Station on January 26, 1977.

Inspired by his school teacher’s belief that “planting 20 trees could reverse environmental damage”, Swami Parivartan founded the hobby club ‘Give Me Trees’. Over time, this initiative evolved into a registered charitable trust based in Delhi, which has grown into India’s largest voluntary tree-planting movement, boasting of support from 17,000 volunteers nationwide.

He is now renowned for planting and conserving over 1.25 crore Peepal trees across India in 44 years.

During Covid-19, Peepal Baba planted many trees and provided proper water and natural fertilisers. In November 2020, in an interview to news agency IANS, the environmentalist explained why winters are not as cold as they used to be in past.

“It is mainly because of the green spaces which are decreasing day by day and because of decreasing leaf count, the carbon level is increasing rapidly,” he said.

“The other reason for increasing temperature is that the rain pattern has changed in the past few years. If we take the example of Delhi-NCR, it has lost rain in past few years. Delhi-NCR now gets rain only 7-8 times a year. The process of photosynthesis, which plays an important part in rains, and the decreasing leaf count has affected this process badly. Apart from trees, water also helps in absorption of carbon from the environment. Delhi used to have thousands of lakes, but now only 3,000 lakes are left, which are not enough to absorb the carbon present in the environment. We need to re-generate those dead rivers by planting trees around them,” he said.

“If we really want to fix the issue, then we have to increase the green spaces at a huge scale. If we don’t realise the seriousness of this issue now, it would be too late for us to fix it. If we cross 2026-2027, then we will not able to fix the issue,” he added.

“Give Me Trees’ ultimate aim is to increase the leaf count in the environment by any means whether you plant Peepal trees in the forest or you plant a money plant in your house it will contribute into the environment.”



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