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International Year of Forest

February 10, 2012

International Year of Forests UNFF










“The Closing Ceremony of the International Year of Forest is a new beginning” quoted Ms. Jan McAlpine, Director, United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF).

She was pointing rightly towards the big challenge that we face even after the tireless efforts that the Heroes and Champions in forest conservation have put across the world, sometimes even at the cost of their lives.

Why am I writing on forests on my blog today instead of water? This is because the words of Mr. Shigeatsu Hatakeyama, Japan renounced the connection between the forests and oceans for me yesterday. After making the connection between oceans and mountains, he and his colleagues from “Mori wa Umi no Koibito” (Forests are Lovers of the Sea) initiated yearly afforestation activities that have led to region-wide proactive movement to preserve the environment and ocean resources.

What doesn’t fail to surprise me time and again is the wealth of experience and knowledge which is out there which we ignore or neglect in our ignorance.

I got an invite through my colleague in India and immediately decided to participate in the closing ceremony of the International Year of Forests 2011.


The event was the celebration of all the 193 member countries’ efforts towards the cause of forest conservation across the globe.

About the importance of forests in our lives what is worthwhile to mention is the grassroots efforts that have reaped benefits for the local and indigenous communities as well helped in spreading the word and raising conscious far and wide.

It was very heartening to hear about the experiences of the heroes from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the USA. To read more about these heroes and their stories please click here.

It was interesting to know how little girls perceive the nature around them. The  winners of the International Letter Writing competition organized by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) were aged 11 and 14. The winners were girls from  China and Barbados respectively.

Children from all over the world imagined themselves as trees and wrote letters to the people. The letters really moved and gave goosebumps to the audience.  To know more on the contents of the winning letters please click here.

The 2011 International Childer’s Art Contest to “Celebrate the Forests” was a carnival of colors and images in its own. One picture was better from the other.

This was organised by the Gabarron Foundation. To view the winning entries please click here.

The 2nd International Forest Film Festival being organised by the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (An award-winning film festival ) was also announced.

A picture is worth a thousand words they say, imagine what a video shall be worth then. They showcased one minute long video from last year and it was heart warming and touched me deep inside. To view one of winners please click here.

Last but not the least were the publications “Forests for People” and a handbook titled “Of Forests and Men” which have been done elaborately and speak for themselves.

The words of Robert Frost are apt to conclude this write-up:

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. ”


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