Nepal Joins Save Soil Campaign, Pledges 30,000 Tree Planting Project in Honour of Sadhguru

The Nepal government on Saturday joined hands with Isha Foundation founder Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s Save Soil movement and pledged to plant 30,000 trees to support the spiritual leader’s 30,000-km motorbike tour.

In an event at Godavari Sunrise Convention Center in Lalitpur, Nepal Forest and Environment Minister Pradeep Yadav, extended full support to the movement and presented a Letter of Solidarity on behalf of the Nepal government to Sadhguru. Nepal Agriculture and Livestock Development Secretary Dr Govind Prasad Sharma and Ambassador of India to Nepal H E Shri Naveen Srivastava were also present at the event.

Sadhguru also met Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba who pledged support to the Save Soil movement. In a tweet about the interaction, Sadhguru said, “My pleasure and honor to meet and interact with Hon’ble PM Shri.
Sher B Deuba and coalition leaders. Your commitment to the Save Soil movement should shape the future of this wonderful land and gentle people of Nepal.”

During the event, Sadhguru handed the Save Soil policy handbook to the Nepal Environment Minister and Agriculture and Livestock Development Secretary. According to an official statement, the handbook offers practical, scientific solutions that governments can put into action based on the soil type, latitudinal positions and agricultural traditions.

Environment Minister Pradeep Yadav announced that the Nepal Government will plant 30,000 trees this week to commemorate Sadhguru’s 30,000 km Save Soil journey. Commending the spiritual leader for travelling around the world to raise public awareness and build political consensus for immediate policy initiatives to prevent soil destruction, he affirmed, the Nepal government is ready to move forward with the campaign, adding “We have solidarity with the good works you have done.”

Agriculture and Livestock Development Secretary said, “the department is committed to enacting the new policies, strengthening and implementing existing ones as well as investing and implementing programs and actively save soil in the Himalayan region.”

In his address, Sadhguru, stated that everyone must become part of the solution to soil degradation. “Whether you like it or don’t like it, knowingly or unknowingly, every one of us are a part of this destruction. The only way around is that everyone has to become a part of the solution, there is simply no other way,” he said. “Even today nearly 85 per cent of the nations on the planet address soil as an inert substance that they can fix by adding or taking away chemicals,” he added.

Noting democratic nations fulfil the mandate of the people, Sadhguru urged people to speak about long-term solutions toward soil conservation. “It’s time citizens of any mature nation stand up and ask for the long-term well-being of your country…If the governments have to invest in the long-term well-being of the nation, it is very important that your voice should be up. Your responsibility is not just vote, your responsibility is your voice,” said Sadhguru.

He also called for people to harness the power of social media. “Today fortunately because of technology and social media platforms you can sit at home and raise your voice…sitting at your home, if you are really committed, just one of you can reach the entire world,” he said.

Sixty per cent of the soil in Nepal is reported to have low organic matter, while 67 oer cent of the soil is acidic. In many parts of Nepal, soil organic matter content is less than 2 per cent and in some areas, it is below 1 per cent, especially in cultivated Terai soils. The Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS), a 20-year-long term vision of the Nepal government, has set a target of enhancing Soil Organic Matter from the current 1.96 per cent to 4 per cent by 2035.

The global movement to Save Soil was launched by Sadhguru in March this year to bring the world’s attention to towards dying soil and growing desertification. The initiative urges nations to mandate 3-6 per cent organic content in agricultural soils around the world through policy-driven processes. According to the organisation, it is the minimum organic content required to keep the soil fertile, capable of yield and prevent it from turning it into sand. The MoU between the Conscious Planet and Nepal Government will act as a commitment in creating policies towards enhancing the soil health of the country.

According to The Economics and Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative 2015, 52 per cent of the world’s agricultural soils are already degraded and incapable of yield. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicts crop yields could fall by up to 50 per cent in certain regions by 2050 due to climate change and soil extinction. Understanding the urgency, Sadhguru, in March, undertook a 100-day, 30,000 km solo bike journey across 27 nations in Europe, Central Asia, Middle East before culminating in India.

Eighty countries have pledged to Save Soil from extinction and nine Indian states have signed MoUs for soil conservation. All 54 Commonwealth nations made a declaration that they will implement the soil policy. The campaign is backed by International Union of Conservation of Nations (IUCN) and United Nations (UN) agencies – United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), World Food Programme (WFP) many others organisations leading in ecological action.

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