Category Archives: Environment

CREW launches Wild Madhya Pradesh

Newsroom24x7 Network

Bhopal: Crew – Crusade for Revival of Environment and Wildlife, a not for profit organisation, Sunday 27 June, launched on Youtube a wildlife documentary titled “Wild Madhya Pradesh”.

Through this documentary, Lalit Shastri, founder President of CREW, especially addresses the young generation across the world urging them to come closer – much closer to nature and wildlife.

The documentary underscores how the tiger began its journey on Earth about 2 million years ago and has roamed in the Central Indian Highlands for billions of days and nights.
Central India is the heart of India’s wildlife. For several million years this part of the world has remained covered with Asian sub-continent’s largest forest tracts that have all through remained a perfect tiger habitat. Around 15 to 20 % of the world’s tigers, of course in the natural habitat, are found in this landscape.

We are trustees of nature, biodiversity, flora, fauna, rivers and forest ecosystems. We have to watch and protect our forests and wildlife from reckless exploitation for human greed. – Lalit Shastri

Water Capital of India

The Central Indian Highlands and the river basins of Madhya Pradesh form a huge watershed with Narmada river along with Chambal, Betwa, Son, Mahi and their tributaries charging rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Tapti, Mahanadi and Godavari. This landscape ideally should be treated as the water capital of India since it broadly takes care of almost 40 per cent of the water requirement of at least 10 Indian States.

The herbivore population in this territory is mainly represented by gaur, also called the Indian Bison, sambar, cheetal or the spotted deer and black buck. This region is also famous for the hard ground barasingha.

Kanha Tiger Reserve

The Kanha Tiger Reserve, apart from supporting the tiger population, has also played an important role continuously for so many years and saved from extinction the highly endangered hard ground barasingha – the last world population of this deer species.

Only recently, a few Barasinghas from Kanha have been relocated in Bori Sanctuary while some also have been brought to Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal.

Bori – the first Protected Area in the Country

When Bori sanctuary near Hoshangabad was declared a Protected Area by the British in 1861, it became the first Protected Area in the country.

Due to the forest management practices, we can still see living forests in this Central Indian landscape and one can truly call it a perfect tiger habitat.

Panna Tiger Reintroduction Project

The Panna Tiger Reintroduction Project was taken up to repopulate the Panna Tiger Reserve in 2009 after the last of the Panna tigers had vanished. History was created when a Panna tiger–Panna-212 discovered the Panna-Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve corridor and paired with a tigress in the Sanjay Tiger Reserve adjoining Bandhavgarh in 2017.

Living Forests

If we want to protect the tiger, we shall have to ensure our forests remain living forests. A forest can be a living forest only when the different strata of the forest community are intact; when there is abundance of grass, shrub, moisture, and enough worms, insects and reptiles to burrow the soil and make the ground porous to allow rainwater to percolate and recharge ground water; and when there are birds, bees and butterflies that serve as pollinators and seed dispersing agents.

Our forests can regenerate only when all this is constant. Let us not forget that the ecosystem has to be intact for survival of not only the carnivores and herbivores but also humankind.

The wildlife footage for thee documentary – Wild Madhya Pradesh – has been shot over a 20-year period. Most of the video footage used for this documentary has been recorded on first-generation DV handy-cams that could be treated as symbols of evolving technology. It has been produced to build awareness about conservation and protection of biodiversity, forest and wildlife. The documentary showcases the flora and fauna of Madhya Pradesh in its full grandeur. It contains exclusive video footage with special focus on Tiger that sits at the apex of the biotic pyramid and has to be protected at all cost.

Today tiger is greatly threatened. Only if we protect the tigers and ensure they continue to breed in their natural habitat we will be able to address the problem of climate change and guarantee the survival of humankind.

Just sit back and enjoy the documentary

Just sit back and enjoy the magnificent wildlife of Central Indian Highlands and treat this video as an ode to Wild Madhya Pradesh.

Eco Crusader Sunderlal Bahuguna’s life and work will act as beacon forever

Newsroom24x7 Network

World renowned Environmentalist and ‘Chipko’ movement leader Sunderlal Bahuguna passed away on Friday 21 May afternoon due to COVID-19. He was 94.

Bahuguna was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS), Dehradun after testing positive for Coronavirus.

Bahuguna, a front ranking activist for the protection of ecology and environment, had led from the front a huge movement against the Tehri dam by building awareness and educating the villagers to protest against the destruction of the forests and the Himalayan slopes. He was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2009.

A Century of Service

Always down to Earth…

Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna, Padma Vibhushan lived a life of service for nearly a century. 
My grandfather Shri Ram Prasad Bahuguna was a freedom fighter in the Tehri Andolan led by Shri Sridev Suman. It was a freedom struggle against the British and the princely state supporting them in the hill region of the Northern Province. I remember my father recounting how dada ji had narrated about Sunderlalji escaping the prison disguised as a ‘sikh’. The brilliance of Sunderlal ji lay in how he communicated about the Tehri freedom struggle at the national level. The erstwhile King had found this out.

Post independence, Sunderlal ji organised the anti-caste movement in Garhwal. It was during this time when he met Vimla Ji who was working in the Ashram of Sarla Behen, a Gandhian in Kumaon. During my meeting with Sunderlal ji and Vimla ji in 2019, Vimla ji proudly shared how she agreed to Sunderlal Ji’s marriage proposal on the condition that he will work with her in an Ashram in the hills and not join politics. 

The couple then worked under the guidance of Vinoba Bhave and travelled widely in the hills. It is during this time that Sunderlal Ji’s attention drew to the ecological degeneration in the mountains. In his 90s, he oft remembered and narrated these long and arduous ‘padyatras’ in the mountains. He kept emphasising that the native broad leaved forests are dwindling.

Sunderlal ji found his true calling in saving the environment and brought the attention of people at national and international level to the ‘Chipko movement’. During his later years, he remained opposed to big dams. To bring attention to the harm they cause to the ecology, he fasted many times. 

Sunderlal Bahuguna ji was an epitome of humility and kindness with firmness in what he believed was ‘just’. He lived a life with a message which we should all try to emulate.

Abhilasha Bahuguna, Co-Founder Looms of Ladakh

A few hours ago received the sad news of passing away of Shri Sunder Lal Bahuguna. This is the greatest loss to entire world humanity and particularly the people of India and Uttarakhand. The world and India had lost the biggest environmentalist of present time. It is a personal loss for us as he apart from being part of Bahuguna family was the first cousin of my mother. With his death an era has come to an end.

He sacrificed his comfort and future for the environment so that the people can live on this planet happily. He was brilliant and had the foresight to lead the world on conservation of forest and environment. But as my Mother used to say his frugal and vagabond life style has made his family determined to succeed in worldly affairs leaving him to achieve his mission. In this he was ably assisted by his wife who was herself a great social worker. She was a good friend of my Mother and used to hear stories from mother.

On quite a few occasions I had interacted with him and discussed with him the issues of Himalayan forests particularly. When I was Inspector General of Forests in the Ministry during early 2000 he was sitting on a Dharna against the Tehri Dam. The Dam had almost completed and there was no other way to stop it so we have to grant the final forestry clearance to it in 2003.

He was the Guru of many and groomed several environmentalists but none come closer to him to meet his humility, intellect, stature and commitment. Many are in the profession to get some awards here and garner funds.

A true Saint today passed away physically but such divine souls never die. The legacy he has created is to be cheered as the vacuum in leadership he has left difficult to fill up. Let all Indians vow to live a life of restrain with nature because the pandemics and natural calamities like cyclones and cloud bursts are the results of over exploitation and misuse of nature. Rest in peace and thank you for coming to rescue the nature.

Dr. VK Bahuguna, IFS retd, Chairman Centre for Resource Management and Environment and ex-DG ICFRI

Sunderlalji was much concerned, well after 40 years of his Chipko Andolan for saving forests in the hill region of the then Uttar  Pradesh. He said no government  makes policy keeping trees at the center of it. He was particularly critical of bureaucrats…

Abhilash Khandekar, Senior Journalist, Member Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Board, Chairman Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association 

To me Sundarlal Bahuguna represents a legend and even in his passing, his legacy will forever be a beacon of hope for a greener and sustainable spaceship earth. He will forever enlighten humankind to show the way forward for the resurgence of our doomed destiny out of the throes of environmental disrepair and despair. To me he presented hope not only in words but also deeds such as the ‘Chipko Andolan’ that we with resolve can struggle both individually and jointly for a purpose larger than our own short-sighted selves for the sustainable future of planet earth.

Dr Anoop Swaroop, Chairman Global Knowledge Alliance, Chair of the Center for Global Nonkilling, recipient of Hiroshima Peace Award and former UNSC representative for Darfur

I joined Indian Forest Service in 1987, and I remember vividly Sir’s talk to us at IGNFA. I have fullest regards to this simple human being who brought the importance of trees in the common public during his times in the Independent India at a National level through the ‘Chipko Movement’. He was a great conservationist to the core. My salutes to the noble soul.  

R.Sreenivasa Murthy,  IFS Retd,  Bhopal.

The life of Sunderlal Bahuguna will guide us forever. All that he lived for will continue to act as a beacon for the entire world that faces the challenge of global warming like never before. Bahugunaji should be our guiding spirit in the 21st Century when we do not hear even faint voices against illegal mining, continuous encroachment and plundering of forest land – a process shielded by the charade of forest rights. There is massive devastation of the catchments of major rivers and thier tributaries, extensive erosion of slopes along our mountain ranges; a lot is getting destroyed every day.

Lalit Shastri, Editor-in-Chief Newsroom24x7

Dramatic rise in numbers of people concerned about nature loss as ‘eco-wakening’ grips the globe

Newsroom24x7 Network

  • Research shows undeniable shift in behaviour in response to planetary crisis
  • Concern about the loss of animal and plant species increased from 82% to 90% in India and the popularity of google searches relating to nature loss and biodiversity grew by 190% in the country
  • A staggering 71% rise in popularity of searches for sustainable goods over the past five years, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide 

New Delhi: New global research, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and commissioned by WWF, shows that public interest in, and concern for nature has risen markedly (16%) in the past five years (2016-2020) and continues to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic. The figures come ahead of International Day for Biodiversity being held on 22nd May by the UN to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.

People all over the world, particularly in developing economies are increasingly aware of the planetary crisis, and this is affecting their behaviour in a rapidly growing global mood that WWF has dubbed an eco-wakening’. In a clear validation of a growing trend, concerned individuals and consumers are acting on their concerns and demanding action over nature loss and biodiversity in an assortment of ways.  

The report entitled “An Eco-wakening: Measuring global awareness, engagement and action for natureshows digital activism at play with a 65% increase in the number of Twitter mentions, amplifying concern for nature worldwide, with mentions of nature and biodiversity increasing from 30 million to 50 million in the last four years. A variety of influencers such as spiritual leaders, politicians, major news organisations and celebrities, have used their voice on behalf of nature, with social media posts reaching a combined audience of almost 1billion people worldwide. 

The research also reveals that consumers are voting with their google clicks that are showing a growing popularity of nature-related searches driven primarily by Asian countries such as Indonesia (53%) and India (190%). Additionally, increasingly large numbers of people see nature loss as a serious global problem, with 96% of respondents located in Latin America indicating this, the highest of any region surveyed. This shift in public sentiment reflects a hard reality, as people in emerging markets are most likely to experience the devastating impacts from the loss of nature.

Building on an era of protests and petitions, more consumers all over the world are now changing their behaviour, such as amending their purchasing habits in line with their values. The analysis found a staggering 71% rise in popularity of searches for sustainable goods since 2016, in high-income countries, such as the UK, the US, Germany, Australia and Canada. However, the trend goes beyond these countries – in fact it has also accelerated in developing economies. This pressure is forcing corporations to respond, particularly in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, fashion and food sectors.

But despite the extraordinary speed of its destruction, nature is rarely at the top of the global agenda, even though its loss represents a huge threat to the global economy and our health:

“The results of this research are crystal clear: concern over the impact we are having on the natural world is growing rapidly and particularly in emerging markets, where people are feeling more acutely the impacts of deforestation, unsustainable fishing, species extinction and the decline of eco-systems”, said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.

He goes on to obseeve: “The science and the economics are clear. The public sentiment is now clear. And – the solutions are clear too. Society is supporting a transformation of our economic and development model towards one that finally values nature as our moral duty to all life on Earth, and for the crucial services it provides to our economy, wellbeing, health and security. This is a truly historic ‘eco-wakening’ and the chance to rebalance our relationship with the planet.” 

Loss of nature is increasing our vulnerability to pandemics, undermining efforts to tackle the climate crisis, and threatening livelihoods. Leaders are scheduled to make critical decisions later this year on climate and the environment. Together, they represent a momentous opportunity to reverse biodiversity loss and secure a nature-positive world this decade, in support of climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Uttarakhand: Another disaster in the making?

Nivedita Khandekar

Even when the scientists across the globe are yet to establish the exact turn of events that led to the disaster in Chamoli in February first week, recent satellite imagery has warned of a similar impending disaster.

Overview of the site of the rock ice avalanche from Feb 7, 2021 (courtesy: Scott Watson)

A month after the disaster in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand that saw more than 70 dead and 130-odd missing, a premier global scientific organisation has warned that mass movement activities are still occurring in the zone where the initial rock and ice had failed in that high-altitude Himalayan region.

Massive flash flood was triggered due to breaking of a glacier in Nanda Devi massif leading to an avalanche in the Rishi Ganga valley above Joshi Math in Chamoli district on February 7. Two hydroelectric power projects – NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project and the Rishi Ganga Hydel Project – were extensively damaged and the floods trapped several hundred labourers in the projects’ tunnels. More than three weeks later, as rescue operations continue, government has declared 72 people dead and 133 missing in the disaster.

Even when independent scientific and government’s environmental organisations are researching the exact cause of floods, there is some clarity now, thanks to satellite images.

Earlier, scientists had said that a major rock/ice avalanche detached itself at an elevation of about 5,600 m above sea level from a North facing slope Northeast of Trishul Peak in the Nanda Devi mountain. This caused the massive floods in the Rishiganga / Dhauliganga river.

Analysis of satellite imagery from the area show that this event occurred due to failure deep within the bedrock of the mountain, and the glacier ice was most probably entrained with the collapsing block of bedrock. The failing mass covered an area of around 0.2 km.

Scientists working under the Glacier and Permafrost Hazards in Mountains (GAPHAZ) have found out.

GAPHAZ is a scientific standing group of the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences and the International Permafrost Association.

Historical imagery also indicate that a similar event has occurred in the neighbouring glacier just East of the current in September 2016, the analysis said, adding, “However, the initiation of the failure as well as the eventual trigger of the avalanche remain unclear. It is also important to note that unstable geological configuration and steep topography can, on its own, be a sufficient driver of large slope failures.”

But what the scientists have to say further from the in-depth analysis of satellite images is alarming. “Recent high resolution satellite imagery indicate that mass movement activities are still occurring in the zone where the initial rock and ice failed (on February 7). In case of another slope failure and avalanche, it can be critical for people and infrastructure downstream, close to the riverbed. It can be normal follow up activity of the main event, but it cannot be excluded that important secondary events can occur,” the study warned.

During the short tenure, high in intensity event on February 7, large volumes of material have been eroded from the mountains and deposited along the river channel. In combination with water from rivers, snow melt, heavy (monsoon) rainfall or overflow of temporary lakes, debris flows can be triggered from these depositions. “Erosion by the flood probably has undercut some slopes, and this instability could affect roads, villages and other infrastructure located far above the riverbed,” the study added.

Lauding the response to this disaster by the Indian and international science community as “extraordinary”, what with first analyses being provided within just about 24 hours, Dr Christian Huggel, Environment and Climate: Impacts, Risks and Adaptation (EClim), Glaciology & Geomorphodynamics, Department of Geography, University of Zurich, attributed it to the revolutionary developments in the satellite remote sensing over the past decades and coordination of the science community in international commissions such as GAPHAZ.

“While the Himalayan region is particularly prone to, and impacted by climate change, enhancing mass movement turn-over (such as sediment flux, or extreme events as in Chamoli), large slope failures (rock-ice avalanches) as in the case of Chamoli/Ronti Peak are often difficult to attribute to climate change. Such efforts need in-depth understanding and field and remote sensing data, for instance on geologic structure, permafrost occurrence and thermal distribution and perturbation, glacier decline history and mechanical stress changes in the affected steep slopes. Thorough investigation of the case will improve our understanding on all levels and hence provide the basis for targeted actions,” Dr Huggel said in a statement.

An analysis by the New Delhi-based Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CCEW) in February after the Chamoli disaster has revealed that more than 85% of districts in Uttarakhand, home to over nine crore people, are hotspots for extreme floods and its associated events. The frequency and intensity of extreme flood events in Uttarakhand have increased four-fold since 1970.

Similarly, associated flood events such as landslides, cloud bursts, glacial lake outbursts, etc. have also increased four-fold during this period, causing massive loss and damage. Chamoli, Haridwar, Nainital, Pithoragarh, and Uttarkashi districts are the most vulnerable to extreme floods, the CEEW study said.

According to a report on climate change released by the Ministry of Earth Sciences last year, the Hindu Kush Himalayas has experienced a temperature rise of about 1.3°C during 1951–2014. The increase in temperature has led to micro climatic changes and faster glacial retreat in Uttarakhand, thereby triggering frequent and recurrent flash floods.

Nivedita Khandekar is an independent journalist based in Delhi. She writes on environmental and developmental issues. She can be reached at or follow her on twitter at @nivedita_Him