How do you feel when you lose yourself in the middle of a garden, surrounded by plants? The smell from their fresh leaves and their aura embrace your senses and for one moment you wish if the world could slow down a bit and take a deep breathe as refreshing as the first ray of daylight.
What if someone encouraged you to grow your own little paradise, to get lost, and rediscover yourself in its calm environment? What if someone constantly reminded you that you have a green plant that you have adopted and that it needs your attention? Here is a father-daughter duo, spreading their love for plants and encouraging you to do the same. Ask them for a plant, they give you one, take care of it, they give you nine. Make them grow, you get ninety more to care for.
In conversation with Noora Zaineb, Vice-Coordinator of Plants Our Passion, a mission with a goal deeper than our momentary decision to grow a plant. They gift you a plant to look after, expecting nothing in return than your conscious effort to look after it and nurture the environment that we have around us.
How did you fall in love with plants? Is there a particular event or was it a series of events that made you take the proactive step towards their protection?
There is no particular event that made the spark in me. I would say that it was something that was passed on to my dad from his parents, who were into farming and he gave this spark to me. We used to spend a lot of time in our herbal garden since I was child.
Give us a sneak peek into the project ‘Plants Our Passion’ that you are part of.
Plants our Passion is a green global mission on planting and protecting one lakh living plants across the globe with a motto of ‘Enriching the nature with Plants of Happiness’. As part of the projects, we have started various initiatives where we gift plants to people who are willing to take care of it and we constantly keep track of their progress which validates their efforts and thus, they too join the club of environmental warriors who preserve the beautiful world of plants around us.
We conduct workshops, send gifts of plants and seed, document their progress and encourage them to go ahead with their journey of environmental sustainability.
As part of the project, you have introduced the initiative outside Kerala, and in some cases, outside India as well. How were these different from the initial launches in your home state?
We get in touch with these magical nature lovers through various social platforms. And we send them plants and seeds by courier as our token of encouragement . We have not seen their faces and neither have they seen ours, yet all of us resonate with this one goal of protecting what we have. Even though the distance prohobits our real interaction, those who receive these, keep on updating us with their progress in taking care and nurturing to the plants and that keeps us moving.
Your father has been a great support throughout for achieving your goals in the matters concerning the environment and the green. Tell us more about his contributions to the initiatives.
Yes, he is the backbone of our mission. He is the coordinator of ‘Plants Our Passion’ and I am the vice-coordinator. It was his idea to start this initiative to protect the plants and encourage others to do the same. He encouraged me to join the same and we started working on that since then.
In the previous years, you have taken up quite a few resonating projects like maintaining herbal gardens, 1000 vegetable gardens, and recently the one lakh living plants. How could you improve your reach over the years?
Yes, since the inception of our project in 2017, we have had major milestones achieved and we were quite successful in maintaining the herbal gardens and are on the journey of gifting one lakh living plants. After completing the cherished desire of one lakh living Plants, we would like to take this message to all the states and union territories of India, and at least 10 countries in the world in the years to come.
How has the exposure that such events have given you help shape you as a person and grow as an individual?
While travelling to spread our message, we have had interactions with people from a wide spectrum of fields, starting from laymen in the paddy fields to multi-millionaires in the higher end of the spectrum. Through this, we were successful in creating and maintaining healthy and fruitful relationships with people from far and wide.
At the Kerala Legislative assembly, you have voiced your support to the world-renowned activist- Greta Thunberg. Are there others whom you consider you co-warriors in your effort to save the environment?
Yes, there are many figures who are sources of motivation and support. Prof Shobeendran, who is known as The Green Man(Pachamanushyan), and Sheikh Abdul Aziz al Nuami who is popularly known as Greensheikh, conveyed their whole-hearted support, and those I feel were quite remarkable events in our journey.
You are still doing your schooling. How do you manage your studies along with your passion? Do you have a team that helps you achieve the green goals along with your academics?
We have developed a time management system of our own to go hand in hand with the profession and passion. My dad and I both have our official and academic commitments during the daytime and we do not let our passion hinder any of it. We make extra slots in the morning and evening to achieve our targets in this field. There have been times when we take the plants to the homes of environmental enthusiasts in as early as six in the morning.
What is your say for readers planning their collection of plants? What elements did you consider while choosing to have your secret garden?
Plants when taken care of with your heart, give you the best feeling as they grow up. Whenever you decide of planting something, choose the right spot, as the geography matters. Choose the right seeds and the right manure. Their correct combination will give you the best output and the brightest smile on your face.
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