Long ago, I remember eagerly running up the stairs of a watch tower in Corbett National Park, to see if I could spot a tiger. When I reached the top, I remember thinking, vantage points give an entirely different perspective. I was now able to see over the grassland, across the Ram Ganga River onto the other side. The alarm calls lost their significance as I stared at the reservoir and the setting sun beyond. The sky turned a fiery red and I said to myself that the best views are always from the top when looking at the horizon.
Every New Year’s eve, I think of that day. The nitty-gritties of daily life fade away and a horizon view emerges. Beforest collectives have long moved on from being experiments to full-fledged plans. The journey has been so rich that the excitement to do more and more is unbearable.
Can we scale this idea to multiple geographies, can we get to transform bigger landscapes? These are some of the questions we are evaluating at HQ. For every collective we have started, we have said no to at least 4 others as we try to steer clear of hyper growth ambitions and instead focus on solid learnings and a steady impact.
It is more important to grow organically and understand the landscape and the natural forces at play. For e.g., we can’t be using the same methods from the Poomaale Estate in Coorg which receives around 6000 mm annual rainfall at the Hyderabad Collective which receives 650 mm annual rainfall. The priorities, goals and aspirations are very different for each collective and this learning cannot be accelerated.
There have been innumerable conversations we have had where folks have asked us if they could contribute to a geography or an idea like a Western Ghats rewilding, or central highlands wildlife corridors. Effectively, this means participation goes beyond a particular landscape to a particular idea. This is a very powerful thought that has emerged from our interactions and we feel the timing could not have been better as we evolve our teams and deepen our understanding of the different ecologies in the country. So here is the big goal for the year. What can we do to move in this direction? The thinking caps are on.
Cheers and a very happy new year. Exciting times ahead.