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Best Practices: Project Jatropha

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Changing Perspectives and the Climate

ProjectJatrophaOne of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas pollution is the bulldozing, clearcutting, and rainforest burns necessary for crop cultivation. This is current practice in India, where commercial tobacco farming requires vast clearcuts of precious forest. Greenhouse gasses are released when trees are burned; what’s more, the loss of these natural carbon sinks, harms the planet’s ability to regulate our climate, exacerbating the effects of existing greenhouse gasses.
Project Jatropha aims to reverse these effects, beginning in India. Adarsha Shivakumar and Apoorva Rangan are teenage activists who have witnessed firsthand the destructive cycle that commercialized tobacco crops have inflicted on the Indian environment and communities. In response, they launched a project to transform radically not only farmers’ lives, but the global green economy.
While the loss of our
forests cannot be immediately reversed, the introduction of ecologically-beneficial plants can reduce the damage. The shrub
Jatropha Curcas works like the natural forest, removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and temporarily “sinking” it into the soil, therefore reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.


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Jatropha Curcas is also a potential replacement crop for tobacco farmers. Jatropha doesn’t require woodburning for
processing, further reducing CO2 emissions.
Of further benefit, its seeds can be processed into biofuel to power diesel vehicles, irrigation pumps, and generators. 



Project Jatropha also includes local schoolchildren, who, through Ashoka Youth Venture, learn how to grow their own fruits and vegetables and maintain a sustainable garden.


To learn more about Project Jatropha, visit their website.