We’d be better off not planting trees-III: The reasons for resistance

English: An emerging Tamarind tree seedling. T...

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I think it is a combination of resistance from managers and a lack of certainty on what it can mean if a manager lower down the hierarchy took that decision to make the change at one hotel, when the company’s HQ is based elsewhere in India or the world. Now who would want to incur the wrath of senior management at the corporate headquarters with a decision taken locally?

A well-intentioned hotel such as this one would do well to understand that the saving of every unit of energy is equal to saving one kg of carbon emission. Every 700 units of such saving in energy is the equivalent of protecting a full-grown tree that absorbs as much carbon in a year. If 4.5 million units of energy are saved a year, the hotel could claim to have ‘saved’ or ‘protected’ as many as 6,500 full-grown, 40-year-old trees every year! Well, the hotel would do well to have its staff understand that the saving of 4.5 million units of carbon, also means 4,500 tons of carbon emission saved, or the hassle of investing in about 4.5 to 5 MW of conventional power. That’s a benefit that any government will welcome, considering the capital cost of installing one MW of conventional generation is about Rs 5,000 crore. Well, to understand the ecological cost of such power generation with hydel dams or with thermal plants, all you have to do is to reflect on the damage that such dams are causing to vast and complex ecosystems in our hills and forests, and the bleak landscape that meets the eye in the vicinity of thermal plants with mile upon mile of heaped fly ash, which comes out of the burning of coal.

You can see there is a vital connect between the physical planting of trees and a more subtle connect between energy-saving and its signifying the protection of as many trees, in terms of easing the load on carbon absorption. Many concepts are not easy for people to connect to. Therein lies the central challenge to having greater acceptance to many ‘green’ measures and these ‘notions’ of sustainability.

We can keep writing grim reports on climate change and global warming. We can continue to berate the government on its inability or incompetence. That’s not going to help. If we did our bit, every step of the way, in our homes, and hotels, offices and hospitals, and in energy-guzzling industries, with measures that are easy to do, are affordable, and which bring financial savings, we’ll be on the road to beating the energy crisis.

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