ISSUE WWF's ‘Cities for Forests' campaign encourages you to visit a forest or green space in the vicinity and share your experiences online

How would you describe a forest? An umbrella of trees that shade you from the heat but allow the light to pass through? Or a family of deer grazing peacefully by a waterhole in the safety of their green cover?

WWF's ‘Cities for Forests' campaign, which kicked off at the end of July, aims at raising awareness about the intrinsic link between forests and human beings. “In spite of efforts, forests continue to get depleted across the country. Hence, we decided on a campaign that reaches out to the masses,” says Aarti Khosla, Programme Campaigns and Communications, WWF India, “We focussed on urban forests, and efforts taken for their conservation. The message of the campaign is that there is a deep link between forests, urban habitat and human well-being. Therefore, saving the forests is essential for the survival and expansion of our cities.

To take part in the campaign, visit a nearby forest or a green space in the city, record your experience and share it online. “Participants can record their experience through stories, reports, videos, photos, or any other creative form. Simple activities such as visiting a forest, finding the oldest tree or restoring a street with depleting tree cover will create greater awareness about preservation of urban forests,” she says.

While the primary target of the campaign is urban youth, the general message is for all city-dwellers. “Students, youth professionals and individuals, who by their actions hope to make a difference to the state of our forests, are welcome to participate. But, ‘Cities for Forests' is ideally for all city-dwellers who consume resources provided by forests but tend to forget the benefits and well-being that forests bestow,” explains Aarti.

The campaign, which has already been launched in 12 cities, will continue to spread.

Widening the base

“We have contacted over 200 schools across the country, and made presentations on the campaign to the students. The ‘Cities for Forests' page on Facebook has over 10,000 supporters. The challenge is to widen the base of individuals who care for their surroundings and are prepared to take positive action,” she adds.

‘Cities for Forests' will end in October, during Wildlife Week. “The campaign will continue though we might decide to give it another shape depending on the cause we'd like to espouse, but the premise of raising awareness on our country's forests will remain.”

To take part in the ‘Cities for Forests' campaign, log on to www.citiesforforests.in