10 Indian Environmentalists You Should Be Aware Of.
In the twenty-first century, when we humans are aware of the consequences of our indifference to nature, the challenges we face as a result of our indifference are a major source of concern and a hot topic of discussion. The alarming consequences of climate change and environmental degradation caused by humans' excessive resource consumption pose a threat to humanity. Despite this, there are some heroes who sincerely work to create a better tomorrow by cultivating a better present through their unwavering efforts. Do you want to know who those heroes are? Here are ten iconic environmentalists in India who have made a difference through their unselfish concern for nature.
1. Sunderlal Bahuguna
Sunderlal Bahuguna, a pioneering environmentalist who taught Indians to hug trees, died on May 21, 2021. He was the leader of the Chipko movement. He is a devoted Mahatma Gandhi supporter who believes in the philosophies of nonviolence and satyagraha. In the village of Maroda ner Tehri, he was born. In 1981, the government of India bestowed upon him the Padma Shree award. He dedicated his life to environmental conservation through the chipko movement. In 1986, he also received the Jamnalal Bajaj Award for construction work.
2. Sumaira Abdulali
Sumaira Abdulali is a well-known environmentalist (born 22 May 1961) who has made a name for herself by speaking out against serious environmental issues that go unnoticed, such as noise pollution and sand mining which had earned her several awards. Abdulali, the Co-Chairman of the Conservation Sub Committee and Honorary Secretary of Asia's oldest and largest environmental NGO, the Bombay Natural History Society, has also established India's first activist protection network
3. Jadav Payeng
The forest man of India is Jadav Peyeng. Payeng, who is from the north-eastern state of Assam, has planted a forest on a sandbar of the river Brahmaputra over the course of several decades. This unique initiative earned Payeng the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian award, and was named Molai forest after his name Jadav 'Molai' Payeng.In an interactive session attended by Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh and JNU vice-chancellor Sudhir Kumar Sopory, he shared his experience of creating a forest.
The Indian activist and environmentalist, best known for waging a war on illegal mining and quarrying in her native state of Himachal Pradesh is Kinkri Devi. Even as a sweeper who was living in conditions of abject poverty, Devi chose to honor her responsibility as a true citizen of the earth when she took up environmental causes on her own. An exemplarily ordinary woman, Kinkri Devi was also invited to attend the International Women’s Conference in Beijing besides being awarded the Stree Shakti in 1999.
5. Tulsi Gowda
Tulsi Gowda is a Karnataka-based environmentalist from Honnali village in the Ankola taluk. The Padma Shri, the country's fourth-highest civilian award, was bestowed upon her by the Government of India in 2020. She has planted over 30,000 saplings and is in charge of the Forest Department's nurseries. Despite having no formal education, she has made significant contributions to environmental preservation. Her work has been recognised by the Government of India and a number of other organisations. She is also known as the "Encyclopedia of Forests" due to her ability to identify the mother tree of any tree species.
6. Chandi Prasad Bhatt
Chandi Prasad Bhatt, a Gandhian at heart and an environmental activist by nature, was another trailblazer of the Chipko Movement, for which he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1982. Bhatt, who received the Padma Bhusan award in 2005, was one of India's first modern environmentalists. He is well-known for his work on subaltern social ecology and is a recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize.
7. Medha Patkar
Medha Patkar is an Indian social activist who works on a variety of critical political and economic issues that affect tribals, dalits, farmers, labourers, and women in India. She is a graduate of TISS, India's premier institute for social science research.
8. Marimuthu Yoganathan
Marimuthu Yoganathan, a Coimbatore bus driver, has been an unlikely proponent of the environmental movement. Yoganathan, also known as the Tree Man of India, has planted over three lakh saplings on his own over the last thirty years. Yoganathan is a well-known environmentalist in India, having donated 40% of his salary to the cause of environmental protection. The Tamil government bestowed the title 'Suttru Suzhal Sevai Veerar,' or Eco-Warrior, on this genuine nurturer of nature in recognition of his efforts toward environmental conservation.
9. Purnima Barman
Purnima Barman is an Indian biologist and well-known environmentalist who has received the prestigious Whitley award. Barman received the award, also known as the Green Oscars, in recognition of her efforts to conserve the Greater Adjutant Stork and its habitat. Her collaboration with the locals resulted in the formation of the 'Hargila Army,' and her concerted efforts have significantly contributed to the survival of the endangered bird population.
10. Kallen Pokkudan
Kallen Pokkudan, a Kerala native, is a well-known environmentalist in India. The mangrove crusader of India, recipient of multiple awards along with the Bala Sahitya Institute Award and the P. S. Gopinathan Nair Environmental Award, has been influential in recognising the importance of these groves to the sustainability of the planet. Pokkudan is also a prolific writer and the founder of the Mangrove School, which aims to educate people about the ecological significance of mangroves.