If you can’t see the forest through the trees in Nepal it may be because there’s too many people blocking the view. Over 2,000 people showed up Thursday to show our oxygen producing plant friends some love. The crowd was mostly made up of uniformed students, but included among them were 20 parliament members and even buddhist monks.
The gathering at the National Martyrs and Peace Park on the outskirts of the capital, Katmandu, wasn’t some protest to protect the trees from oncoming destruction, but instead an awareness rally celebrating World Environment Day. To accomplish this they set a goal of beating the previous Guinness World Record for number of people tree hugging simultaneously. Yes, there’s a world record for that. Last July, the record had been claimed by 936 people in Portland Oregon, a record the Nepal tree huggers more than doubled in their efforts.
Thaneswor Guragai, the Nepal Tree Hugging event’s coordinator commented at the time, “Our goal is to set a new world record and at the same time spread the message that trees are important for the environment and everyone.”
Students also noted the importance of the trees that they were embracing. One ninth grader, Ganga Pandit, explained that she had planted saplings before, but that protecting the trees we already have deserves just as much attention.
The actual hugging of the trees took place over a 2 minute period and was accompanied by drumming. The organizers have taken pictures and video documenting the event along with a signed statement and the names of all participants. These will be submitted to Guinness, and recognition can take up to 2 months.
One of the attending parliament members, Rajan K.C., weighed in as well, highlighting the important roles trees take to human beings in general.
“We are gathered here in our attempt to save the forests and make people aware that trees and forests are important for human civilization.” Rajan said.
Indeed, trees have huge importance to human civilization. Trees have major effects on our environment, including but definitely not limited to pollution reduction, oxygen production and excess water absorption. While estimates to the monetary value vary greatly depending on who you’re asking, We may not think of all the benefits they provide us all the time, but we continue to take advantage of those benefits even when we aren’t. They have been a major contributor to balancing our ecosystem in such a way that we can actually live on this planet, making us symbiotic creatures. Maybe we should all take the time out to give a tree a hug.