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Child environmentalist

Only a few people recognise their calling in childhood and begin to work passionately towards it. P. Sahitya, a class IX student of Vidyodaya School, knows what she wants to be: an environmentalist and a wildlife activist. Trees and plants have been her playmates and fork and shovel her toys since a young age.

As she would assist her mother in watering and taking care of the plants in their backyard, Sahitya got drawn to nature. Seeing her daughter’s interest in nature and environment, her mother Vasundhara got her enrolled in a youth Exnora. “She would wake up early in the morning to help me water the plants and plant a few saplings. She made this a practice before getting ready for school every day. In the evening again, she would head to the garden in our backyard to tend to the plants. To encourage her to learn more about environment, I got her enrolled in Exnora,” says the mother.

In the last four years, Sahitya has not missed any of the talks and programmes on environment conducted by the NGO. She knows her efforts alone cannot save the environment and she is reaching out to others with her message. Guests at her house are treated to an interesting trivia about nature, tips on how to grow a garden and a talk about why plastics should be avoided. Even her classmates are drawn into her ‘activism’ with Sahitya holding discussions about conservation issues.

“I started presenting a sapling to my school on my birthday every year. I insisted my classmates do the same.

Now, all of them bring a sapling on their birthdays and plant it on the school premises,” says Sahitya, who helped her relatives and neighbours set up terrace gardens.

She also managed to convince her school management to reduce the use of plastic as much as possible.

Also a wildlife enthusiast, she recently got a chance to go to Parambikulam Tiger reserve in Kerala on a week-long camp with Exnora members. “I learnt about forest protection and importance of saving the wide life for ecological balance. We also enjoyed a trek up the hill,” says Sahitya, who next wants to visit Kabini forest Wayanad.

For her young age, she has a lot of knowledge in solid waste management and composting. After attending a workshop on the same, she started segregating waste and composting at home with help from her mother. Today, they use the manure made from waste generated at home for the plants. She also demonstrates how to use the Khumba and tumblers for composting at Exnora meetings and talks about practice of solid waste management. “To gain more information on putting waste to good use I visited the Exnora Green Home in Pammal and also went to Vellore to see how village waste management and vermicomposting was done around the Golden Temple there,” says this young environmentalist, who recently won the Prakruti Ratna Award from Exnora International.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 1:11:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/child-environmentalist/article6069066.ece

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