Leave forests, Rivers to adivasis: Medha Patkar in The New Indian Express Edex 40 Under 40 Eco Conclave

Time’s running out and nature won’t stick around too long if we go at the rate the human race is going.

Published: 10th August 2019 03:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th August 2019 03:18 AM   |  A+A-


Social activist Medha Patkar with the awardees at the Edex 40 Under 40 Eco Conclave in Hyderabad on Friday | Vinay Madapu

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Time’s running out and nature won’t stick around too long if we go at the rate the human race is going. That was the clear message that everyone from environmentalists, climate change activists, agricultural scientists to schoolchildren sent across at The New Indian Express Edex 40 Under 40 Eco Conclave, held in Hyderabad on Friday. 

Nearly 40 young environmentalists from across the country, including IAS officer Hari Chandana Dasari, were awarded for their service and making a difference to the society.  Kavitha Kalvakuntla, founder-president of Telangana Jagruthi gave away the awards. 

Noted activist and convenor of Narmada Bachao Andolan Medha Patkar spoke about what she has been speaking all her life -  water. “There will not be any water left in the future if citizens do not question the paradigm of mindless development,’’ she said. 

“Rivers which are flowing are being destroyed. Numerous dams are being constructed. What have the dams brought us apart from electricity?  The United States of America has decommissioned and demolished around 1,000 dams because they understand that it is bad,” the social activist said.

Much like the award-winning photographer Shekar Dattatri’s point about how nature would be fine if it weren’t for humans, when he said, “Tomorrow if humans die, nothing will happen to the earth - you’ll find tigers roaming the cities in a few years. However, if insects die, human beings will be wiped off the face of the earth in ten years.”

Patkar also said that nature and forests needed to be left alone to their original conservators, the Adivasis. “It is true they use the natural resources, build their settlements in forests, but they are the only ones who can restore forests.” 

Apart from Patkar, the other eco-warriors who addressed the event were Prashant Lingam of Bamboo House India, who spoke about the horrors of plastic waste, Tarun Jami of Greenjams Infrastructure stressed on increasing ‘design intelligence’ to reduce carbon emissions.  Kaajal Maheshwari of Hyderabad Rising made a point that protesting for the environment was an apolitical issue, while Manikonda Vedakumar of Forum For a Better Hyderabad pointed out how Hyderabad has changed from a city known for its gardens and lakes to a concrete jungle now. Telangana DGP M Mahendar Reddy and ITE&C secretary Jayesh Ranjan were present.  

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