Written by Rashi Gupta
Last Friday, most of us noticed a steady inflow of emails and announcements about World Environment Day celebrations (June 5).
I belong to a team that is devoted to mainstreaming a culture of consciousness towards environment and wildlife. While I wondered why Google gave no doodle on WED (like it did on Earth Day) despite UNEP encouraging people to write to Google asking for one, I also sensed the pressure that we all in this community faced to do something on this day. After all, the day marks the importance of aligning our actions for protection of our environment, our resources.
So amidst the surrounding commotion of requests for press releases and content on this WED occasion we did a simple activity to recognize the thoughtfulness of our colleagues who are conscious about saving energy. We left messages of appreciation to all those who switched off their computers and fan/ ac as they went out for lunch. Although it felt like the smallest thing we could do, the sweet smiles were a reinforcement of the belief that appreciating good actions is one of the most positive endeavours.
On this opportune occasion, I want to give my appreciation, a personal note of admiration, to another set of people. We met them as we traveled in the past one year to different cities across the country organizing festivals and forums. We gave them the title of Green Ambassadors and made special attempt to appreciate their efforts..
Green Ambassadors are individuals who are acting at the grassroots level out of a love and concern for the world around. Many of us easily feel strong emotions for world causes and environmental issues. Especially the young often struggle to find a way to tone down our vociferous disagreement and yet retain the spark of action. Holding on to our core values and things we care about – whether ecology or culture or something else – and translating them in to action day-after-day, on bad as well as good days is challenging. It takes great determination and unwavering belief in the truth you are following. Above it all is the sheer love that keeps us going…
These are impeccable examples of human spirit. And I want to tell them – Your spirit is infectious!
Ambar Vishal – the man from Agra who has devoted his life to human welfare and environmental conservation in rural areas of UP
Tshering Uden Bhutia – the lady whose love for the outdoors is evident in her stint as a mountaineer and her work encompassing ecotourism, environmental education and promoting zero waste living in Khangchendzonga.
Nosang Limboo – the 27-yr old wildlife enthusiast, photographer and author of a book on butterflies of Sikkim who even discovered a butterfly species!
Lalit Kumar Singhania – an environmentalist and editor from Raipur who’s been experimenting with green technologies.
Suniti Yadav – she founded the Eco-feminist movement in Central India and also an initiative called Humane Forestry.
O P Agarwal – the man from Surguja who has been working with farmers and has planted more than 10 lakh trees.
Swaran Singh – he has been making selfless contributions in Amritsar to the organic farming movement that’s become more relevant worldwide now than ever.
Manisha Thakur – she’s been teaching and inspiring children in Amritsar to do vermi-composting!
C Oviya – a passionate young girl in class 10 who likes to use the medium of art for sensitizing people.
R Rajamanikam – the professor in Puducherry with incredible zeal. Follows his interest in wetlands and migratory birds, waste management with the youth.
S Govindan – His tree plantation initiatives have inspired many young students to adopt such practices..
As we ended our travels for the year, along came the energetic Reenu Paul in a delightful and quaint town called Rajpur hidden away in the hills of Dehradun. We cannot marvel enough at her extraordinary will and passion as she pushes all limits to save Rajpur’s natural and cultural heritage along with other enthusiastic supporters from the Rajpur community.
There must be many more such people around us and beyond our horizon, and I hope we run into them as we embark on our travels again next year. They don’t care what day it is today. For them it is Earth Day, Environment Day, Water Day, Biodiversity Day – all rolled in to one every day!