Glass-clad monstrous concrete buildings topped by grotesque cell towers have come to symbolise human-centric urban development leaving very little space for equally important other forms of life.
Nature lovers who take a holistic view of conservation often lament that too much emphasis laid on ‘glamour species’ of the wildlife like the big cats has resulted in the neglect of the common species. An offshoot of this lopsided conservation policy is the rapid disappearance of the once-common house sparrows from cities, “the best bio-indicators of urban life and environment” as Mohammed Dilawar, one of the Time Heroes of Environment 2008, keeps saying.
In an attempt to shift focus and raise awareness of the rich flora and fauna found in “our backyards,” Nature Forever Society (NFS) and The Hindu have teamed up to conduct an all-India photo contest. It is a participatory approach to conservation where the citizens would not merely shoot pictures but explore and appreciate better the rich biodiversity around them.
Like conservation policy, nature photography too has wrongly come to be associated with a few wildlife species, expensive cameras and travelling to exotic locations. This has resulted in disproportionate availability of high quality images of threatened species and not many when it comes to common species.
The NFS- The Hindu BiodiverCity Photo Contest aims at encouraging common people to involve themselves in this pan-India mission of photo documenting the flora and fauna around them with whatever camera they have, including the mobile one.
The initiative is spearheaded by Mr. Dilawar, a conservationist with the NFS. Photographs can be of plants, insects, reptiles, birds, natural landscapes around human habitations. Those taken inside national parks and protected areas as well as those of domesticated and caged animals and pets are not allowed.
The contest opens on January 26 and participants can submit entries until the midnight of February 28. Registrations can be done at www.thehindushutterbug.com, The Hindu’s in-house app. Each participant can upload two photographs, share or like them at this site.
The winning photograph will be featured in The Hindu and top entries will be displayed online, at www.thehindu.com. Submitted images will be sent to The Hindu archives for future use with due credit.