Staff Reporter

Need to create awareness about country’srich

flora and fauna

Rebecca Pradhan bags T. N. Khoshoo memorial award

NEW DELHI: “We have to create awareness about our country’s rich flora and fauna and its conservation and ensure that people understand that the preservation of it can provide them livelihood. Only then can we achieve a viable conservation model for the country,” said senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh at the T. N. Khoshoo memorial award and lecture organised by the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment here on Monday.

“We all have a role to play in the conservation of our environment. Global warming is today a reality. The State, media and the civil society need to work together to bring about a positive change in our attitude towards conserving our environment. There is also a need to re-look into the Indian Forest Act understanding that conservation of our forests can happen only if the livelihood of the people dependent on the forests is looked after,” he added.

The T. N. Khoshoo memorial award this year was bagged by Rebecca Pradhan, who has been part of the environmental conservation efforts in Bhutan and has written extensively about the extraordinary biological richness of north-eastern Himalayas and particularly Bhutan.

She is also the author of two books, “Wild Rhododendrons of Bhutan” and “Threatened Birds in Bhutan”.

The award was constituted in 2004 in memory of the world-renowned environment scientist, writer and administrator T. N. Khoshoo and carries a cash award of Rs.1 lakh and a plaque.

Present at the function was Jawaharlal Nehru University Chancellor Yash Pal, Union Environment and Forests Secretary Meena Gupta, and writer-historian Ramachandra Guha among other dignitaries.

Expressing concern over what the current political change in Bhutan means for environmental conservation, Ms. Pradhan said: “We worry about any possible policy changes in Bhutan and have adopted the middle path of development allowing environmental conservation.”

She also highlighted the need for engaging the community in environmental conservation.

Mapping out the “Rise and fall of the Environmental Movement in India”, Mr. Guha said: “We too need to adopt the middle path when we speak about development and conservation of the environment. Currently the environmental movement in India is going through a phase where both the State and media are deeply hostile to environmental issues. We need them to become proactive.”