Kolkata: Teenager Sujash Goenka got a unique birthday gift from his dad this monsoon - a geo-tagged image of apple tree saplings planted in his name in a far-off Uttarakhand village.
Instead of throwing a party or gifting him gadgets like other doting fathers, business consultant Sunil decided to adopt trees in his son's name which can be seen by anyone on Google Earth.
What left the youngster emotional was when he learnt that these trees were a part of a national campaign to not only fight global warming but also help marginal and poor farmers earn extra bucks.
This noble idea of planting saplings and asking people to adopt them by paying for their aftercare was started by a group of individuals in Kolkata under the banner of 'Sustainable Green Initiative' (SGI).
Eminent among those who have adopted such trees include celebrated author Ruskin Bond and advertising guru Swapan Seth.
As a proof of plantation, each sapling is photographed and geo-tagged with the longitude and latitude metadata embedded into a digital image.
The image is then uploaded onto a public database and can be viewed on Google Earth or any exif map viewers.
"Planting trees is the simplest and easiest way to combat climate change. But what we are also doing is we show how various tree products like fruits can reduce poverty and aid livelihood. So the benefits of planting trees are two-fold," SGI founder Raj Mohan told PTI.
In partnership with local NGOs, they kicked off their maiden plantation drive with 2,000 apple trees in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand earlier this year.