World Earth Day : Know about THESE 7 significant environmental movements in India!

World Earth Day : Know about THESE 7 significant environmental movements in India!

These movements have protected ecosystems and promoted sustainable development.

World Earth Day, observed on April 22nd, serves as a global reminder of our collective responsibility to protect the environment. This year's theme, "Planet vs Plastics," underscores the urgent need to address the growing plastic pollution crisis.

As we reflect on Earth Day, it's important to recognise the pivotal role of environmental movements in India. These movements have not only highlighted critical ecological issues but also catalysed significant changes towards sustainable development and conservation efforts nationwide. So here are 7 of them you should know about:

1. Bishnoi Movement

In the 1700s, in Khejarli, Rajasthan, led by Amrita Devi and Bishnoi villagers, a movement emerged to protect sacred trees from the king's soldiers for a new palace. Influenced by Guru Maharaj Jambaji's teachings, they hugged the trees, resulting in 363 Bishnoi villagers sacrificing their lives. The king, upon learning, apologised and designated the Bishnoi state a protected area, still enforced today.

2. Chipko Movement

The Chipko Movement, led by Sundarlal Bahuguna and others in Chamoli and Tehri-Garhwal districts of Uttarakhand, in 1973, aimed to protect Himalayan trees from deforestation. Bahuguna educated villagers on the trees' environmental significance, leading to tree hugging protests by women. Their demand for local forest benefits gained traction in 1978, resulting in a committee ruling in their favour, marking a global eco-development milestone.

3. Silent Valley Movement

Silent Valley, a lush tropical forest in Kerala, faced threat from a proposed hydroelectric project by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) in 1978. Led by Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) and activist Sughathakumari, protests erupted against the project, fearing the destruction of 8.3 sq km of pristine forest. In 1981, responding to public outcry, Indira Gandhi pledged to protect Silent Valley. Eventually, in 1983, the project was scrapped, leading to the inauguration of Silent Valley National Park in 1985 by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

4. Jungle Bachao Andolan

In 1982, in Singhbhum district, Bihar, tribal communities rallied against the government's plan to replace natural sal forests with expensive teak. Termed "Greed Game Political Populism," the movement spread to Jharkhand and Orissa, highlighting concerns over forest preservation and indigenous rights.

5. Appiko Movement

The Appiko Movement emerged in Uttara Kannada and Shimoga districts of Karnataka, in 1983, led by facilitator Pandurang Hegde. Aimed at halting deforestation and preserving ancient livelihoods, it echoed the Chipko Movement. Locals embraced trees marked for felling, employing marches, folk arts, and afforestation drives. The movement advocated for alternative energy sources, achieving success, with the project currently halted.

6. Narmada Bachao Andolan

The Narmada Bachao Andolan, beginning in 1985 along the Narmada River, opposed large dams' construction, led by Medha Patkar, Baba Amte, and various activists. Initially focused on proper rehabilitation for dam-displaced people, it evolved to advocate environmental preservation, demanding a lower dam height. The movement, while not fully successful, challenged development paradigms, embodying Gandhian principles.

7. Tehri Dam Conflict

In the 1990s, Sundarlal Bahuguna led protests against the Tehri Dam on the Bhagirathi River in Uttarakhand. Concerns included town displacement and ecological damage. Despite national attention and support, particularly from Bahuguna, the movement failed to gain significant traction nationally or internationally due to insufficient popular support.

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