We’d be better off not planting trees… Part I

[Tree in a rural area] (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

In a three-part series titled ‘We’d be better off not planting trees’, Chandrashekar Hariharan helps readers understand that there is a vital connect between the physical planting of trees and a more subtle connect between energy-saving and how this signifies the protection of as many trees, in terms of easing the load on carbon absorption.

The writer is the Chairman of BCIL-ZED, the Bangalore-based global pioneer in green building.


It was ironic. It was a five-star hotel, one of the older ones in Bangalore. They had organized a green initiative this week; intending to do something toward making a better Bangalore on World Environment Day.

What they had come up with was the old hackneyed version of a green initiative being only planting trees. Planting trees is not a bad idea to enable the environment. Indeed, we need as many trees as we can get if we have to soak the carbon that we put out in such huge volumes in any city but we need more and we can do more without the old and familiar theme of planting trees.

About 300 invitees were listening to the different conversations of eco-experts invited to see how they could air their opinions and views on what greening of Bangalore actually entails.

As I sat there looking at the ceiling, I realized, this was a hotel using old energy-inefficient halogen bulbs. I took a walk to the washroom outside and found that the entire lighting was with incandescent bulbs and again with halogens.

Waiting as I was for my turn to get to the podium for a panel discussion that was to come a little after, I did some idle math of the number of ceiling lights that hung from the conference room at the hotel. They numbered over 200. I did some further mental math and reckoned that they were using about 10 units every hour in just that conference hall. I extended the number to the entire hotel, and reckoned the daily consumption of lighting energy to be about 5,000 units. That’s daily—and only for lighting.

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