10 INDIAN ENVIRONMENTALISTS YOU MUST KNOW

Indian Environmentalists You Must KnowHaving a passion for environment and actually going out there and making a difference are two altogether different things. On the occasion of World Environment Day,

MensXP brings to you a list of 10 Indian environmentalists whose work will astound and provoke you into doing something for Mother Nature as well.

Mike Pandey

Indian Environmentalists - Mike Pandey

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Mike Pandey is the most well-known face of India’s environment campaign. Pandey, who started out as a wildlife filmmaker, has gone on to win many awards and has been relentlessly pressurizing governments at every level to balance prosperity with sustainabaility. Pandey has been an eco-warrior for three decades now and shows no signs of stopping.

Mansukhlal Raghavjibhai Prajapati

Indian Environmentalists - Mansukhlal Raghavjibhai Prajapati

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Mansukhlal Raghavjibhai Prajapati is the founder of Mitti Cool Fridge, a refrigerator made completely of clay. The fridge can hold perishable items for a week and cools water and milk. It is extremely cheap and a life-saver in many villages of the country. Prajapati’s next goal? Creating Mitti Cool House, a home that will cool itself without any external help.

Chewang Norphel

Indian Environmentalists - Chewang Norphel

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Chewang Norphel is a civil engineer by profession and has earned the nickname of Ice Man for his work in developing artificial glaciers. In remote regions of the country such as Leh, Norphel’s work is literally groundbreaking as artificial glaciers have helped increase groundwater and increase the season for irrigation. Award-winning filmmaker Aarti Srivastava has also shot a documentary feature on his environmental work called White Knight.

Madhu Bhatnagar

Indian Environmentalists - Madhu Bhatnagar

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Madhu Bhatnagar, a teacher by profession, created an Environmental Education Policy and is the Head of Environment at The Shri Ram School, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi. Her school was the first to implement rooftop rainwater harvesting in 1999, a practice that has since been replicated across the country in at least 2000-odd schools. Bhatnagar believes in the power of children to make a difference to society. This Indian revolutionist has created a Junior Tiger task Force and her students have written letters to influential decision makers and travelled to national parks. She is working to put an end to monkey and sloth bear dances as well.

Tilak Vij

Indian Environmentalists - Tilak Vij

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Growing increasingly troubled by the man-animal conflicts in Himachal Pradesh, Tilak Vij did something that very few people would even consider. He quit a well-paying job in Germany to save animals in the state. He has created six nature clubs and encouraged growing trees to increase the state’s green cover. He now plans to set up a leopard conservation centre with the help of Himachal Pradesh state government.

Abdul Wadud Banatwala

Indian Environmentalists - Abdul Wadud Banatwala

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When Mike Pandey made thecritically-acclaimed documentary Shores Of Silence on endangered whale sharks, he had Banatwala to thank. A hotelier by profession, Banatwala has contributed significantly to saving whale sharks by educating fishermen about the animal’s necessity in the seas. Today, a majority of fishermen along the coast have sworn off killing these elegant creatures.

Billy Arjan Singh

Indian Environmentalists - Billy Arjan Singh

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He may have died in 2010 but Billy Arjan Singh’s legacy is as alive today as it was when he passed away. Singh was a hunter who turned into a conservationist and a famous author and he was the first person to suggest that tigers and leopards could be sent into the wild after living in captivity. An avid hunter in his youth, Singh changed so drastically that he was awarded the Padma Shri in 1975 and World Wildlife Fund’s Gold Medal in 1976 as well as the Padma Bhushan in 2006.

J Vijaya

Indian Environmentalists - J Vijaya

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Her impact on the environment can be gauged from the fact that J Vijaya has an entire genus named after her. India’s first woman herpetologist, Vijaya is credited with bringing the plight of Olive Ridley turtles into the open. Her work for turtles led to forest cane turtle being renamed Vijayachelys silvatica in her honour. Perhaps the greatest travesty to nature occurred when she passed away at the young age of 28. However, the efforts to save the turtles is still ongoing and has been taken up by various local and government bodies.

M.Y.Yoganathan

Indian Environmentalists - M.Y.Yoganathan

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Yoganathan’s is the most inspiring story in this list. This man works as a conductor with the Coimbatore Transport Corporation and does not know how to read or write. Yet, Yoganathan is single-handedly responsible for planting 38,000 trees over the past 26 years. He did not let his illiteracy deter his mission too as this Indian environmentalist went about teaching students the importance of environment conservation in schools across Tamil Nadu.

John Abraham

Indian Environmentalists - John Abraham

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No, the actor is not in this list for acting in Kaal or even for being a PETA member. Rather, John Abraham makes this list for working away from the media glare and helping to create India’s first elephant village in Maharashtra with the help of local bodies and helpful communities. He was also awarded an EcoWarrior Award for helping elephants find a new home in natural surroundings.

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