Ten minutes to Earth: Sikkim's Green Culture towards conservation of environment and ecology
Sikkim democratic Front, a regional party established in the year 1994 with the leadership of Pawan
Kumar Chamling, the Chamling led sdf governed state of Sikkim for 24 years, during the tenure of Party they started many initiatives related to environment conservation and ecology. Ten minutes to earth is one among the list.
Ten minutes to Earth was first started in the year 2009, since then every year in month of July Ten minutes to Earth is observed, according to the Department of forest in 2009, 610,694 saplings were planted on June 15, 2009, all over the state, this will help in sequestering of 1400 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
This year, Ten minutes to earth was organized on June 25 by conducting a webinar due to Covid-19 pandemic, the theme of the 2021 Ten minutes to Earth was “Lessons for the Future” the webinar was participated by environmentalist, Ms. Sunita Narain, Director General of the Center of Science and Environment. Narain addressing the gathering said “What Sikkim has shown in 1998 and is important for us to showcase, even today, is not that the environment does not make for good development. In fact, what Sikkim showed very clearly is that the environment and development go together.”
Furthermore, She mentioned that “ The SDF government stood for the conviction that for Sikkim, the basis for existence is the protection of the environment - but not just the protection of it, but also to use the environment for the development of a prosperous economy without damaging it”
Meanwhile, Chamling during the Webinar mentioned that he believes in the conservation of nature is supreme and holds the key to the conservation of the living beings in the earth.
Chamling on the vision of Ten minutes to Earth said “Ten Minutes to Earth, Heritage Tree, Mit Tree (ceremonial friendship with trees) and Tree Adoption were all a part of our vision for a Green Sikkim becoming the torch-bearer for a green world. Our innovations were not just political programs, but the outworking of our deep commitment to the environment. The nation and the world were keeping a close watch”
Furthermore, in the year 1998 before even staring the Ten minutes to Earth innitave Pawan kumar Chamling was awarded with the greenest Chief Minister of India, Sikkim became the only state to have recorded an increase in forest cover (an increase of 4%). Likewise in the year 2015 Sikkim became the first organic state of India.
Pawan K. Chamling, Former Chief Minister mentioning the significance of the green policies and the politics of ecology said “SDF party’s inherent green policies and the politics of ecology gave rise to number of innovative initiatives like Green Revolution Year, Green Revolution Decade, Smriti Van, Ten Minutes to Earth, Heritage Tree, Mit Tree and Tree Adoption. Ten Minutes to Earth, a mass forestation program was born out of the wedlock of our concern for the environment and politics of the environment. Ours is a political party whose constitution includes environment protection as a major political program.”
“No development at the cost of the environment” was our mantra. We promoted clean power and clean industries. We closed down Sikkim Ferro Alloys Limited as it was causing huge pollution. As well, pharmaceutical companies that breach environmental norms have been closed. We wanted to inculcate environment appropriate behavior in Sikkim. We started the Smriti Van program with a view to making it a public movement. But it ended up becoming a government program. I had the vision of including every single citizen – from students to professors, from youth to retired professionals, from rural farmers to urban dwellers - people from all walks of life to be involved in this environment protection campaign.” Added Chamling
Former CM Chamling mentioned that “the SDF party never gave up. We were able to organize a Ten Minutes to Earth program for the second year after being out of the government since 2019.”