Shubhendu Sharma

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2013


This profile was prepared when Shubhendu Sharma was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Every minute, the equivalent of 36 football fields of forest disappears globally, while 114 cars are produced. Shubhendu knows that we cannot survive without fresh air and natural resources; and, in contrast to many others, he believes we can take actions that will make a big difference. We can help re-green the planet by planting and growing new forests in the cities and their surroundings. His approach requires a minimum amount of care, commitment, and knowledge. With Afforestt, Shubhendu has turned the dream of growing wild urban forests into an accessible reality.

Shubhendu works with different stakeholders to convert empty urban and peri-urban spaces into natural forests (with spaces as small as 100 sq mt). He begins with a triangle of resources: (i) free saplings from the forest department (ii) investments from the District Collectors (iii) and manpower to plant and maintain the forests from the municipal corporations. Shubhendu works on any space—from road dividers, lawns and gardens in office or housing complexes, traffic triangles, sides of highways, and other urban and peri-urban spaces that are currently empty. This not only reduces his costs, but also influences the mindsets of local government to better understand environmental issues and sustainable urban development. To accelerate impact and make the process sustainable, Shubhendu uses the Miyawaki method of afforestation, a technique that makes trees grow 10 times faster than in nature, creating a self-sustaining forest within two to three years.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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