Environmentalist John C. Jacob dead

Special Correspondent

KANNUR: John C. Jacob, one of the pioneers of the environmental movement in the State, died near Payyannur here on Saturday. He was 72.

John C., as he was popularly known, had been ailing for sometime. He breathed his last at an Ayurveda hospital at nearby Ezhilod early morning. A widower, he had been staying alone in a rented house at Edat near Payyannur. The body was cremated at Payyambalam here in the afternoon.

Forest Minister Benoy Viswom was among those who paid their last respects to the deceased who had been a crusader for the cause of environmental protection.

A former professor of zoology at the Payyannur college who inspired a generation of students in the green cause, John C. Jacob, a highly respected environmental activist, had been in the forefront of the agitation to save the Silent Valley. The small green movement — Zoology Club — he started at the Payyannur college in 1972 inaugurated the campus-based activities for conservation of nature and expressing protest against threat to the ecology.

Having completed his studies in zoology at Madras Christian College (MCC), a campus that, in his own words, had helped him espouse the environmental cause, John had become a prominent environmental activist in the 1970s with his active involvement in the organisation of the Silent Valley agitation and in conducting nature camps for students to help them imbibe environmental awareness.

Born at Kurichi in Kottayam district, he had joined St. Joseph’s College at Devagiri in Kozhikode in and moved to the Payyannur college in 1965. He had taught zoology at the Payyannur college till he retired in 1992.

John also authored the books ‘Prakrithi: Nireekshanavum Vyakhyanavum’ and ‘Urangunnavarude Thazhvarakal’. He had been awarded the Kerala Biodiversity Board’s Haritham Award and the State government’s Vana Mithra Award in recognition of his contributions to the environmental cause.

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