They are not awaiting government to save their environment with a magic wand

May 15, 2016

Some of the members of the Talayedaran-e Zagros are seen in background with a little boy in foreground trying to dig a hole for putting sapling inside. The photo was taken at Sefidkooh Park in Lorestan on December 18, 2015. Photographer: Zeinab Telli

By Parvin Telli

Bearing over seven billion people on its surface, the earth has already started sounding alarms through climate change, air and environment pollution, extinction of many animal species, soil erosion, and so on.

World leaders each year participate in costly summits, deliver long speeches, pose for smiling pictures and come up with pledges to bring the looming environmental crisis under control and set a deadline for that.

The climate change, however, continues to break its previous records and more wild animals are killed while air pollution claim more lives each year.

But, far from the spotlight, humble and determined, 100 men and women in the western province of Lorestan, came together in 2005 to fight for the same cause and officially registered their NGO as Talayedaran-e Zagros.

Talayedaran-e Zagros stands for the guardians of the Zagros Mountains which are famous for their oak trees; however, these trees have suffered major human-caused damage in the last decades.

The NGO, currently led by Mozaffar Afshar, the father of Iranian oak trees, began contributing to environment protection in 2005 under the title of “Lovers of Nature and Environment”.

However, the members of the organization seem to have started their activities unofficially long before as some of the trees planted by the members now age 25 years.

Afshar, called the man of the year for his eco-friendly services through a public opinion poll conducted in March 2016, along with his team have became popular across the province where they are based.

They have also succeeded in building a well-earned trust among local officials and among more than 100 other NGOs active in the country.

As well as growing local trees like oak, merro (a sort of local wild pear, hawthorn and many others, the members of the organization are tasked with training people, with a special focus on students, for planting and growing trees, clearing the nature from litter, assisting in putting out forest fires which have increased in number over the past few years.

According to Mohammad Reza Pouryeganeh, one of the key members of the NGO, about 50 to 60 thousands seeds are sown every year with the help of students who have been given the much-needed environmental lessons.

Besides, about 2,500 to 3,000 saplings are produced by the NGO’s members at their home and they are then replanted outside.

Being with them two times, I feel what makes them successful in pursuing their goals is actually their serious faith in that they need not to wait for any government or official to come and save their environment with a magic wand, yet they have come to this realization that it is everybody’s duty to keep the nature safe and clean for next generations. 



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