On World Conservation Day, meet these eco-warriors helping us build a greener future

Climate change is not a new topic, and we all know that the climate all around the world is deteriorating at a high pace. From melting glaciers to soaring temperatures during summer, we see one odd news about climate change and forget about it the very next second. But not these eco-warriors, they have made it their life moto to make our earth a greener place. So this World Conservation Day, let’s celebrate these heroes and try to be more like them.

1. Daripalli Ramaiah

World Conservation Day

This 83-year-old man is also known as Vanajeevi Ramaiah for his campaign towards the conservation of forests. The social worker has been campaigning for social forestry for more than five decades. And not just activism, this man himself has planted over 100 thousand saplings around Khammam district in Telangana. He was also presented with the Padma Shri Award in 2017 for his mission.

2. Dr. Saji Varghese

World Conservation Day

Plastic is one of the biggest barriers in our fight for a greener environment, and plastic straws contribute to major plastic junk all over the world. Dr. Saji Varghese from Bangalore has found an alternative to the solution with fallen coconut fronds. This sustainable alternative has a shelf-life of nine months and can be left in a drink for up to six hours. The initiative by Dr. Saji is not only solving the problem of usage of plastics in the rural area but also generating employment for the local women. Let’s pledge to give up plastic this World Conservation Day and adopt similar eco-friendly alternatives.

3. Anil Malhotra and Pamela Gale Malhotra

World Conservation Day

Can someone replant a forest in 20 odd years? Well, this couple did it. When Anil and Pamela first saw their land in 1991, it was completely barren. Most of it was abandoned farms which had seen a lot of deforestation. But Anil and Pamela decided to take the challenge head-on and replanted the entire area. Now spreading across 300 acres, this private wildlife sanctuary in Coorg is home to 200 endangered species of plants and animals.

4. Shubhendu Sharma

World Conservation Day

Want to have your own little forest in your backyard? Well, Shubhendu Sharma is the guy you need to contact. An engineering graduate, Shubhendu Sharma started up his venture named Afforestt, which build self-sustaining mini forests. Using the Miyawaki method, they detect the natural vegetation of the area depending on the soil and the climate. And the result after a few years is pure magic. If you want to give your backyard a makeover, there’s no better day than the World Conservation Day.

5. Ipra Mekola

Nature is always seen as something sacrificable for development, and it was no different in Arunachal Pradesh. A rich area of Mishmi Hills is home to thousands of plant species and 100s of animal species, but a few years ago, the flora and fauna of this place were under threat. It was Ipra who not only fought them but also brought his community together to create a community conserved area. They also plan on starting wildlife tourism focused on the 680 species of birds as a way to provide a livelihood to the tribals.

6. Jadav Payeng

World Conservation Day
The President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Padma Shri Award to Shri Jadav Payeng, at a Civil Investiture Ceremony, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on April 08, 2015.

Popularly known as the Forest Man of India, Jadav’s journey started when he was a 16-year-old and saw a large number of snakes dead due to heat, as they were washed on to the tree-less sand bar after a flood. He then started planting bamboo trees in the same area. Since then, he has been working in the social forestry division in the Golaghat district of Assam. Jadav has played a big role in making the forest what it is today – home to Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, and over 100s of deer and rabbits along with rich flora biodiversity. He was also honoured with Padma Shri in 2015 for his work.

7. Chewang Norphel

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For a region like Ladakh, the glacier is an important source of water. And with rising temperatures, these glaciers are melting down. When civil engineer Chewang Norphel was in Ladakh, he noticed that a small stream of water, which was flowing freely elsewhere, had frozen solid under tree shade. This gave him the idea to slow down water streams to help them freeze. And that’s how he created artificial glaciers. He diverted river streams into the valley and slowed them down with constructing checks. The artificial glaciers also ended up recharging the groundwater levels and providing water for irrigation. Till 2012, Chewang had build 12 artificial glaciers and was also awarded Padam Shri in 2015.

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