In the countryside, I met people with a deep-set belief in the need to fight this fatalistic outlook, people who refuse to believe that our Earth is dead.
Plant a tree and you sow hope.” To check whether the old saying holds true, Indian guru Sadhguru embraced the seemingly insane challenge of working with his GreenHands association to plant 25 million trees in the heart of Tamil Nadu by the end of 2018, thus transforming a third of this South Indian state into woodland! Supported by the Yves Rocher Foundation, the project is on the verge of success. To ensure they achieve their objectives, the GreenHands association is spreading the word. It employs 60 outreach workers who provide advice to farmers, raise awareness among young children and touch the hearts of thousands of volunteers who see returning greenery to the deserts and life to their crops as an absolute priority. In the name of humanity. Against fatalism. For a last glimmer of hope…
The women and men in Tamil Nadu are fighting to safeguard the world’s shared heritage: planet Earth. They understand just how fragile the nature around us truly is.
The Isha Foundation was created in 1992 by Sadhguru. In 2005, it launched GreenHands with the aim of planting 114 million trees in Tamil Nadu with the help of volunteers. Here, Sadhguru is posing next to Jacques Rocher, Honorary Chairman of the Yves Rocher Foundation who has pledged to plant 25 million trees for GreenHands.
At the centre of the Isha Foundation, which is based around 30 km from the town of Coimbatore, a gigantic lingam rises up beneath the dome of the Dyanalinga Temple. This sculpture symbolises creation and fertility and is an embodiment of Shiva, Hinduism’s most venerated god.
More than 1,000 farmers are actively supported by the Isha Foundation, including Velusamy (pictured here with his wife and daughter). He is a fervent advocate of environmentally friendly agriculture. “I inherited the farm. Global warming has changed our living conditions. Trees are not our enemy; on the contrary, they fertilise the soil.”
For the Indian people, Sadhguru is a spiritual master who is paving the way for a new, green economy. Here, he stands at the foot of a sacred tree in his ashram with volunteers from his Isha Foundation. His aim is to plant 25 million trees by the end of 2018 so that 33% of Tamil Nadu will be woodland once more.
14-year-old Janni is one of the 820 pupils attending Vijayamangalam 14-year-old Janni is one of the 820 pupils attending Vijayamangalam
The Sooriyampatti nursery, financed by GreenHands and the Yves Rocher Foundation. For Sadhguru, the need to rally the local populations was urgent. He maintains that: “If we had continued down that road, there would have been less and less Tamil Nadu, less and less India and less and less Earth. Mankind needed to be reconciled with nature.”
38 women work in the Sooriyampatti nursery, earning about 250 rupees a day (€3.12). Some of them are here, sitting on the branches of this mango tree. They know that planting trees is not just a positive one-off act, but something that contributes to the wellbeing of the entire community.
GreenHands is part of the Isha Foundation and is supported by the Yves Rocher Foundation. It has offered financial backing to 33 nurseries around Tamil Nadu, including this one in Sooriyampatti, near Thanjavur. Every year, it grows 1.5 million trees, nearly 70 drought-resistant plant species and
organically farmed produce.
EMANUELE SCORCELLETTI: AN AFFECTIONATE EYE.
The Yves Rocher Foundation commissioned Emanuele Scorcelletti for a photo report in India’s Tamil Nadu without a moment’s hesitation. A talented portrait photographer and a reporter at heart, he set off to meet the women and men busily planting away, capturing vignettes of rural life, covering schoolchildren turned ambassadors for the green economy, and shedding light on a farming community that has embraced mixed farming, where trees reign supreme. His masterful command of black and white aesthetics offers up shapes that enable him to frame and infuse his photography with a sense of geometry. The 54-year-old photographer casts an affectionate eye over his subjects and enjoys keeping viewers on their toes, while conveying the emotion of his childhood.
Italian photographer Emanuele Scorcelletti was born in 1964, and is best known for his snaps of film stars. He studied at the Institut Nationalde Photographie et Cinématographie (INRACI) in Brussels, and was spotted by the Gamma agency, becoming a member from 1989 until 2009. His career then focused on the glamour of the silver screen. In 2002, he won the World Press Photo Contest for his report on actress Sharon Stone at the Festival de Cannes. Contemplative, highly observant and a passionate purist, Emanuele’s taste for immaculate work and his humanistic approach distinguish him from his peers.
Discover EmanueleScorcelletti’s work on his website: