Six Environmental Activists in India You Should Know About

Self-seeking has primarily been the be-all and end-all for humans. The fact that we humans have damaged and altered the natural state of Mother Earth by excessively participating in destructive activities, such as exploitation of natural resources, overpopulation, commercial logging, urbanization, and global warming, justifies the above statement. What is even more distressing is that the harm is still being done irrespective of the awareness and numerous hints at what is to come.

But there are some people who quite well understand the essence of a clean and healthy environment for the existence of humans, animals, and plants. Firmly believing that nature uplifts our mood, influences behavior, reduces stress, and impacts our body in multiple positive ways. So here we list down some of the Indian environmentalists, who are working selflessly towards making the world a greener place. These people are no different from any of us, just ordinary men and women who have attained incredible feats through extraordinary innovation and determination.

Here, we are introducing the top 6 Indian environmental activists you should know about:

1. Sunita Narain

Social Activist
Photo Credit: STEPS Centre

Considered as India’s one of the prominent environmental activists, Sunita Narain is currently the Director-General of Delhi-based NGO, which is called the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Apart from this, she is also the editor of the fortnightly magazine- Down to Earth. She is known to actively participate in policy formulation on issues of environment and development in India and globally. In 2005, she was awarded the fourth highest civilian honor, Padma Shri by the Indian government. She has also evolved an action plan for the conservation of the tigers in the country. Moreover, in 2016, Time Magazine listed her as one of the 100 most influential in the world.

2. Aabid Surti

Image: BBC

India’s water warrior, Aabid Surti, started his one-man conservation project ‘Drop Dead’ in Mumbai in 2007. Once he noticed the dripping tap in his friend’s house, it bothered him, and he pointed out that a tap that drips water once every second waste about 1,000 liters of water every month. In regard to this, he decided that he would take a plumber from door to door and fix taps for free. By 2013, Aabid was able to save as much as 5.5 million liters of water on his own, by adjusting thousands of taps in thousands of homes every week. This incredible man has since then been honored for his project but continues to keep his head down and help people save water.

3. Jadav Molai Payeng

Image Source: The Alternative

Today, Jadav Payeng is regarded as the Forest Man of India, who created a real man-made forest on one of the sandbars of the Brahmaputra river. His journey encompasses an intriguing story as he was highly disappointed after witnessing the deaths of many cold-blooded reptiles as a result of excessive heat and deforestation in his native place of Assam. Determined to make a change, he started planting trees to alleviate the environmental damage and ended up creating a forest that now encompasses an area of about 1,360 acres. Space can be compared to the size of 15 football stadiums together. At present, the forest fosters deer, birds, rabbits, and elephants; and various endangered species like Tigers, Rhinoceros, etc.

Read his story here.

4. Tilak Vij

Tilak Vij did something that very few of us would even think about. He left his well-paying job behind in Germany to create conservation centers for the wildlife and started regularly working in the jungles of Himachal Pradesh. After years of hard work, he has created six nature clubs, which have helped in increasing the state’s green cover, thus also providing safe shelter to the animals. He is further planning to set up a leopard conservation center with the help of the state government.

5. Ridhima Pandey

In the year 2017, Ridhima Pandey filed a legal case against the Government of India for failing to implement the environmental laws. Through her legal guardian, the petition was registered to the National Green Tribunal. She was just nine at the time and brought into focus the extreme pollution levels and constant degradation of the environment in the country. She further requested the government to assess industrial projects and prepare a carbon budget to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and create a national climate recovery plan. It was back in 2013 when she saw the devastating effect of climate change in India in the form of the Kedarnath flood; she became one of India’s young environmental activists. Apart from this, she has accompanied Greta Thunberg in the protest of the lax attitude of governments towards climate change at the UN Climate Action Summit.

6. Tulsi Gowda

Social Activists

Seventy-three years old, Tulsi Gowda, who hails from Karnataka, is a role model for the society for her altruistic contribution to saving nature by planting new saplings and watering them for the last six decades. The rural environmentalist has planted over 100000 saplings in all till now. In addition to this, she has voluntarily looked after many nurseries of the forest department. The government has honored her work and contributions, and she has received several accolades such as Indira Priyadarshini Vriksha Mitra Award, Rajyotsava Award, Kavita Memorial Award, and Indavalu H Honnayya Samaj Seva Award. Despite an illiterate, she shares her knowledge with the new generation, stressing on the importance of environmental protection. She outrages at the elements looting forest wealth and feels growing revenue-earning tress like Acacia is detrimental to nature.

At a time and age when new and emerging issues about the environment are throwing up serious challenges, all of us must come together to fight this menace of environmental degradation, which is threatening our very existence.

Read about Pradeep Sangwan our Social hero who is on a mission to make mountains plastic-free.

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