KOCHI: It was the sight of colourful flowers swaying in the lilting breeze that drew him close to Mother Nature as a child. He started sowing seeds and saplings along roadsides and paddyfields. That became a habit. Today, C C Kannan, a 54-year-old daily wager, is recognised as a “green warrior”, who recently received the 25th P V Thampy Memorial Endowment Award for Environment Protection.
Besides his efforts to spread greenery has been guiding tiny tots of East Marady panchayat in Ernakulam on an eco-friendly path, encouraging them to plant fruit trees on their anganwadi premises.
“As a child, I once came across a garden with beautiful flowers,” recalls Kannan. “ I, too, wanted one. I decided to turn the barren space alongside the MC Road into a beautiful flower garden. I collected seeds of flowering plants and sowed them. The plants flourished and bloomed. It was a sight to behold.”
Kannan’s joy, however, was cut short. “The widening of the MC Road saw my beautiful flowers giving way to gravel and tar,” he says. “Next, I decided to plant fruit trees. I collected the saplings of mango, rambutan, guava and papaya. I then planted them on open spaces by the road.”
Even as he started to toil to take care of his family, Kannan never let go of his childhood passion. “Plants are like my babies,” he says. “Unlike others who plant the saplings during eco-drives and then forget about them, I nurture them every day. My day starts pretty early, in their company.”
Kannan, however, stopped planting saplings on the roadsides. “One morning, I found all the saplings that I had planted at a roadside uprooted overnight. I was heartbroken,” he says. Subsequently, Kannan focused on instilling love for nature in the minds of children. “I thought, why not plant trees on school campuses, and also the premises of government offices,” says Kannan.
As the first step, he decided to help the 13 anganwadis in his panchayat plant fruit trees on their campuses. “I buy or collect saplings from kind-hearted people,” he says. “Then I get the students as well as teachers at anganwadis to plant the saplings. I am sure they will take care of the plants. I will monitor and help them.”
Next, he plans to approach government offices to seek permission to implement the green drive. “I am not doing this for any sort of recognition or monetary benefit,” he says. “I do it for the joy that the plants give me, the joy watching new leaves sprout. Everyone needs to experience this joy.”