World Environment Day 2024: Meet India's Courageous Green Warriors Preserving Wildlife

India's biodiverse beauty owes its wildlife to dedicated green warriors, collectively embodying the vital quest to harmonise human and natural worlds, inspiring and safeguarding a flourishing future
Krithi Karanth champions wildlife preservation and understanding human-animal connections
Krithi Karanth champions wildlife preservation and understanding human-animal connectionsKrithi Karanth/Instagram

India, a land of diverse landscapes and rich ecosystems, owes much of its natural splendour to the selfless efforts of a group of remarkable individuals known as eco-warriors. These unsung heroes have dedicated their lives to the cause of protecting and preserving the nation's precious wildlife and biodiversity. Here, we shed light on the inspiring stories of seven of India's bravest green warriors at the forefront of conservation efforts, ensuring a sustainable coexistence between humans and the environment.

Dr Vandana Shiva: The Guardian Of Seeds

Dr Vandana Shiva
Dr Vandana ShivaWikimedia Commons

Dr Vandana Shiva, a visionary environmentalist and eco-feminist, stands at the forefront of the sustainable agriculture and environmental movement. Through her organisation Navdanya, she has championed the conservation of indigenous seeds, emphasising their crucial role in maintaining biodiversity and food security. Dr Shiva's tireless advocacy has empowered local communities to reclaim control over their agricultural practices, ensuring a sustainable and resilient future.

Romulus Whitaker: The Advocate For Snakes

Romulus Whitaker
Romulus WhitakerWikimedia Commons

Romulus Whitaker, a renowned herpetologist and conservationist, has dedicated his life to studying and protecting India's often misunderstood reptilian inhabitants, particularly snakes. With the establishment of institutions like the Madras Snake Park and the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station, Whitaker has not only educated the public about the importance of these creatures but also advanced scientific understanding of their ecological roles.

Purnima Devi Barman: The Champion Of Hargila

Purnima Devi Barman
Purnima Devi BarmanWikimedia Commons

In the heart of Assam, Purnima Devi Barman has taken on the mission of conserving the endangered greater adjutant stork, affectionately known as the "hargila." Her grassroots efforts have led to the creation of safe nesting habitats and increased awareness among local communities. Barman's dedication serves as an inspiration, highlighting the impact of community-led initiatives in wildlife conservation.

Kartick Satyanarayan And Geeta Seshamani: The Wildlife Crusaders

Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani
Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta SeshamaniFacebook/WildlifeSoS

The dynamic duo behind Wildlife SOS, Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani, have been instrumental in rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife, particularly elephants and bears. Their organisation focuses on rescuing animals from abusive conditions and providing them with a second chance at life in the wild. Their journey underscores the significance of ethical wildlife tourism and responsible animal care.

Jadav Payeng: The Man Who Planted A Forest

Jadav Payeng
Jadav PayengWikimedia Commons/Asish_Maitra

Jadav Payeng's incredible story begins with a single act of planting a tree on a barren sandbar. Over the years, his dedication has transformed that barren land into a thriving forest ecosystem now known as the Molai Forest in Assam. Payeng's determination serves as a testament to the immense impact of individual action in combating deforestation and restoring vital habitats.

Sunita Narain: The Environmental Crusader

Sunita Narain
Sunita NarainWikimedia Commons

Sunita Narain, an esteemed environmentalist, has been a driving force behind India's policy changes and sustainable development. As the director of the Centre for Science and Environment, Narain has spearheaded campaigns addressing critical issues such as air and water pollution, climate change, and environmental policy reform. Her advocacy highlights the importance of holding governments and industries accountable for their ecological impact.

Krithi Karanth: A Modern Eco-Warrior

Krithi Karanth, daughter of renowned wildlife biologist Dr K. Ullas Karanth, immersed herself in the wild from age 2. Today, she's an associate professor at Duke University and Senior Fellow at the Centre for Wildlife Studies. Her fieldwork delves into migratory patterns, wildlife behaviours, and the human-animal relationship. Karanth's research spotlights conflicts stemming from habitat encroachment, aiding informed policy-making. Her multidisciplinary approach unites academia, conservation, and communities. A true eco-warrior, she champions wildlife preservation and understanding human-animal connections. Karanth's blend of academic prowess and hands-on experience guides India's battle to conserve amid urbanisation. Her journey inspires aspiring conservationists, showcasing how passion drives transformative research.

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