In our country, festivals come and go every month, and with them come days of eating, celebrating and gift-giving. At the end of it all, apart from a right-leaning needle on the weighing scale, we are left with leftovers in the fridge and gifts all around the house! While some gifts are put to instant use in our homes (like a bunch of flowers or a bottle of wine) others like a scented candle are put away with good intentions to use at the next appropriate occasion. Yet others like a fancy photo frame or flower vase unfortunately find themselves in a dark corner of a cupboard “to be used someday” which is always another way of saying “regifted”.


This year, to acknowledge the crazy times around us, we at Scift wanted to find another way to gift – one that was more sustainable and involved less waste. We decided to give people the option of planting trees in their siblings’ names instead of sending them gifts or even physical Rakhis for that matter. And honestly, the number of people who immediately opted to do this surprised us!



A lot of people expressed that they didn’t really know what to gift their brothers and planting a tree that would be there for generations to come was something that they’d much rather do instead. Others said that while a gift has a ‘usability time-frame” they loved the idea of a timeless gift like a tree. The concept of a gift that would contribute to a greener planet for their kids resonated with a lot of people and together we planted 145 trees this Rakhi – the size of an Olympic sized pool – and it gives us so much joy to know that we have played a tiny but important part in making our planet greener and cleaner.

To make this possible, Scift has partnered with the NGO Sankalptaru. Based out of Dehradun, Sankalptaru is on the mission to create a healthy, green and clean planet through tree plantation. They strive to uplift and assist the rural communities, while promoting extensive agriculture across the nation and making it a happy-green paradise. With agroforestry techniques and ultra-high density plantation, they support India’s rural farmers by providing them with plant fruit-bearing, fodder giving trees. So far, they have successfully planted 11,82,510 trees and contributed to cleaner air in 21 states around the country! That’s definitely something to be proud of!


Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and provide habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.

Forests provide jobs to over 1.6 billion people, absorb harmful carbon from the atmosphere, and are key ingredients in 25% of all medicines. Have you ever taken an Aspirin? It comes from the bark of a tree! Trees also absorb carbon dioxide, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity. As climate change continues, trees play an important role in carbon sequestration, or the capture and storage of excess carbon dioxide.




Yet, despite this knowledge, we continue rampant cutting of trees in urban areas to ‘put up a parking lot’ (as Joni MItchell put it), raze forests to make grazing grounds and under-compensate by planting too few trees. Forest fires also contribute to destruction of tree coverage in large numbers. In the US as of this week, the fire in the California-Oregan area has charred more than 196,000 acres. In Australia, the 2019–20 bushfire season, colloquially known as the Black Summer, was a period of unusually intense bushfires in many parts. As of 2 January 2020, NASA estimated that 306 million tonnes of CO2 had been emitted by these fires. While the carbon emitted by the fires would normally be reabsorbed by forest regrowth, this would take decades and might not happen at all if prolonged drought has damaged the ability of forests to fully regrow.


But all hope is not lost. We are slowly realising the damage we’re causing to our planet. Our children are learning about how we can take care of our planet and choosing to have a bucket bath or forgo balloons on their birthdays, Thankfully people have developed a renewed interest in creating a sustainable future for our planet. The same people who thought that they didn’t need to change a thing but the next generation should do things differently are now thinking of small things they can do – reduce the amount of plastic in the daily products they buy, choosing an eco-friendly Ganapati for visarjan or eating local so that the carbon footprint of their food is sustainable. With this thought comes the idea that if instead of giving a gift, we plant a tree, we have not only omitted a huge amount of carbon footprint (in manufacture, in packaging and in delivery of our gift) but in fact made our gift carbon-negative. How incredible it is to think that with the same amount of money and effort (or maybe less) we have done something so simple yet so amazing for our children’s futures? We can all do our part to curb deforestation. We can buy certified wood products, go paperless whenever possible, limit our consumption of products that use parts of a tree and ofcourse, plant a tree when possible.


We have tried to make it as easy for you as possible. Go to, select NGO Sankalptaru, and for as little as INR 150, you can plant a tree. Depending on how much you give, your tree can either be a foliage-providing tree in an urban area or a fruit tree in a farmer’s land. Once the tree is planted, you will be provided with a GPS link to track the tree’s growth for years to come. We can’t think of a better way to gift!


Is that something we could consider the next time we want to celebrate a special occasion? What could be better than making sure we leave our children a cleaner and healthier planet than we got? Let’s get together to make the world a happier, kinder place!