Preserving natural ecology of Himalaya, Kumaon initially, then Indian Himalayan Region
Romola Butalia Aagnay Budhraja Rajiv Butalia Ayush Joshi
Romola Butalia – Writer, media person, practitioner in traditions of Himalayan yogis
The Himalaya are a vulnerable eco-system that must be protected from human greed and desecration. In this age, where nothing is sacred, the Himalaya are still venerated globally.
Within recorded history, we are in the midst of a climate emergency of unprecedented proportions. We must set everything aside and join hands now. If we do not respect the environment, we will not survive. The Earth will rejuvenate itself. Humans are writing their own death-warrant.
Aagnay Budhraja – Environmental Activist spearheaded Save Sattal movement
I find myself drawn to this cause for a simple reason. I believe that most people want to do the right thing and help other people and care for the environment around us. Most times, we don’t know what to do or how to go about it.
The reason I want to be part of such an initiative is to be able to help find solutions for the problems that we face as a society and to create a platform for change makers to use efficiently to bring about positive results in the world around us.
Rajiv Butalia – ex-Banker and Financial Strategy Consultant
Currently engaged in the movement to Save the Kumaon Himalayas, where I have been living for the past decade, and where I had lived and done considerable development work during my professional life. My environmental activism began when I witnessed the rampant destruction of my village, Chatola, in Nainital District. Illegal mining and land mafia, lack of concern for the Himalayan eco-system, for the original inhabitants who are vulnerable, for the sanctity of Himalayan spaces. Engaged in bringing together various individuals and organisations that can collaborate in social, scientific and conservational fields with the main purpose of saving the Kumaon Himalayas. The individuals and groups may have different philosophies, but the common agenda is protecting and preserving the environment and empowering people to protect the rivers, forests and mountains.
Ayush Joshi – Environmental Engineer & Researcher
Ayush Joshi is invested in the Himalayas for over a decade. He is an Environmental Engineer and Researcher who works on Interdisciplinary fields and is actively working on understanding Climate change in the Higher Himalayas. He Is currently heading a Non-Profit: Inclusive Development for Environment and Learning – IDEAL Foundation, is leading Youth team for Ganga Ahvaan, and is part of Team Save Kumaon. He has spent the last 5 years working on policies and water issues, waste management, assessing impacts of major construction in Uttarakhand and Ganga Himalaya protection.
We Support The Save Kumaon Initiative
Dr. Vishal Singh – Executive Director & Scientist, Centre for Ecology Development & Research
Born and brought up in the Kumaon region, I am highly attached to it’s natural environment, culture and traditional practices. Over the last two decades, development in the Kumaon region has been driven by sectoral and departmental mindsets with an utter disregard towards unique mountain characteristics. The key to Kumaon conservation is informed citizenry! The citizens-led initiative Save Kumaon can bring local people, scientists and policy makers together to solve complex environmental problems that the region is facing due to disconnected decision making, lacking ecological, socio-political and cultural dimensions. Citizens having access to traditional and scientific knowledge can create better conservation strategies and influence policy through culturally acceptable and scientifically backed evidence.
Namita Gokhale – Writer and Festival Director
(Namita Gokhale is a Kumaoni who has written five books about Kumaon and the Himalayas. The author of twenty books, she is also co-founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival and advisor to Himalayan Echoes – Kumaon Festival of Literature and Arts)
The Save Kumaon initiative is an important common platform for all those who are watching with dismay as the environment and cultural legacy of the region is destroyed by greed and shortsightedness. We need to make our voices heard and the concerns and issues articulated and acted upon.
Trilochan Sastry – Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Glad to support this. Thanks to those leading it. My two bits quoting Swami Vivekananda verbatim below. If this is the cradle of Indian spirituality let’s save it for ourselves for the future generations and for preserving our ancient heritage:
“… This is the land of dreams of our forefathers, in which was born Pârvati, the Mother of India. This is the holy land where every ardent soul in India wants to come at the end of its life, and to close the last chapter of its mortal career. On the tops of the mountains of this blessed land, in the depths of its caves, on the banks of its rushing torrents, have been thought out the most wonderful thoughts, a little bit of which has drawn so much admiration even from foreigners, and which have been pronounced by the most competent of judges to be incomparable. This is the land which, since my very childhood, I have been dreaming of passing my life in, and as all of you are aware, I have attempted again and again to live here; and although the time was not ripe, and I had work to do and was whirled outside of this holy place, yet it is the hope of my life to end my days somewhere in this Father of Mountains where Rishis lived, where philosophy was born…”
Vir Singh, Professor of Environmental Science, Environmental Writer, Climate Reality Leade
A geographical segment of the Himalaya, Kumaon is part of the Uttarakhand State of India with a glorious history. Whatever could be best in the world – in terms of beauty, inhabitants, culture, human ethos, natural resources and every aspect of the biosphere – it is there in Kumaon. I am lucky to have been intricately associated with Kumaon and love this land of the sacred Himalaya more than I love anything in the world. Every thought, every act, every policy, every philosophy and every law that helps Save Kumaon contributes to save the abstract of this world.
My love affair with the Himalayas is unending. It distresses me to see the ecological devastation of the Himalayas, and I support Save Kumaon as an absolutely essential initiative for any Himalaya-lover to participate in.
Dibakar Banerjee – Film-Maker
Kumaon must not be allowed to go the way of other hill idylls of India under the pressure of Capital, Big Business and human greed and apathy. We humans, and Indians, are responsible for its accelerating destruction and it is we who must own up and make good and save Kumaon. I wholeheartedly support the Save Kumaon initiative and look forward to this wave of awareness bringing about relevant changes in policy and thoughts that will define grassroots collective action that protects Kumaon from the irreversible death-drive of over development that benefits very few and destroys the lives of millions in the long run. I hope Save Kumaon and Kumaonis could one day be a shining example for all those living in fragile ecosystems and fighting to save it from the depredations of Big Business in collusion with the State.
Dr Suman Sahai – Scientist, Research & Advocacy
I am a scientist trained in genetics and work with a research and advocacy organization, Gene Campaign. We have been working in the Kumaon region for the past 20 plus years on issues of climate resilient agriculture, food and nutrition, livelihoods . Gene Campaign works with and through women farmers, increasing their skills and capacity to become self reliant. Saving the Himalaya from further destructive development is a non-negotiable imperative. I congratulate all those who have taken this terrific initiative and will be happy to join hands to take this work forward.
Deepak Sharma – Trustee & Secretary, Sri Sri Rural Development Program Trust, Himalaya Unnati Mission
We are happy to be a part of this initiative and take it as a part of a broader vision of Himalaya Unnati Mission to activate similar movements across Himalayas.
We will showcase this initiative to other partners and volunteers of HUM and inspire them to run similar initiatives in their states/districts.
Achla Sawhney – Retired Banker, social and environmental activist
I have been living in Kumaon for the past 12 years. I had moved here for the peace and quiet and the verdant surroundings that Kumaon had to offer. The idea was to live in a sustainable fashion and leave as little carbon footprint as possible.
I am a supporter for all the issues that maybe taken up to save our environment, especially the Kumaon region. My heart beats for our environment and it pains immensely when one witnesses the desecration all around. In the name of ‘development’ there is unsustainable construction activity: people build in the mountains and do not really live here, multi-storeyed houses coming up which do not blend with the environment, but stand out like sore thumbs on the violated hill side. The mounting garbage, for which there is no action plan by the community or the government. Indiscriminate sinking of borewells and making roads where none are needed, destroying the natural habitat in the process. Ruining the lakes by concretising the areas around, in the guise of tourist attractions. There is no end to all this. I will be happy to join hands and lend support to any endeavour to put a stop to all the environment-threatening action.
Samit Sinha – Branding Specialist
As a stakeholder in the natural health of Kumaon I have gone from “there’s nothing I can do about it” to “I can’t do nothing about it.” Reflections of the Fool on a Hill…
Tanul Mishra – Founder, Afthonia, a fintech focused incubator
An outsider looking in, my sanctuary is the mountains. The Himalayas have always offered solace to the human soul. Now they need our support to preserve them. The Himalayan eco-system is fragile and vulnerable, and it is imperative that we do what we can to preserve them, and thereby, ourselves.
Rajesh Ojha – Co-founder, Banjara Camps and Retreats & Partner in Melting Pot Food Company
I moved from the plains of Uttar Pradesh to the base of the Shivalik Hills, as a young man seeking higher education at Punjab University, Chandigarh. Subsequent rambles as a student led me beyond the foothills and known hill stations, deep into the pristine Himalayas. A maverick at heart, I was among the pioneers of camping in remote Himalayan locations, born from my love of hiking and camping in uncharted mountain terrain, which led me to actively encourage Himalayan adventure activities.
Mary Ann Banerji – Doctor, Professor
You have our support in fighting the widespread destruction of Kumaon. It is happening everywhere and will require eternal vigilance to curb the powerful and destructive forces. The powerful do not give up power to trample on our earth lightly.
Dr. Anil Bisht
I am happy to be a part of any movement that is trying to save our mountains and lakes from further destruction. I hope those spearheading the movement will let us know what other concrete steps we can take, apart from signing this petition. As someone said in an earlier message, we don’t always know what we can do and how to go about it. A concrete plan will make it easier for us to contribute.
If you wish to participate in the Save Kumaon mission, submit this form with details of yourself and how you can contribute.