The issues and concerns of environmental movements in India

The issues and concerns of environmental movements in India


An Environmental movements is a type of social movement that involves an array of individuals, groups and coalitions that perceive a common interest in environmental protection and act to bring about changes in environmental policies and practices. Environmental and ecological movements are among the important examples of the collective actions of several social groups.

The issues and concerns of environmental movements in India

Cause of Environmental Movements

·      The increasing confrontation with nature in the form of industrial growth, degradation of natural resources, and occurrence of natural calamities, has resulted in imbalances in the bio-spheric system. 

·      Major reasons for the emergence of environmental movements in India are as follows:

·      Control over natural resources

·      False developmental policies of the government 

·      Right of access to forest resources

·      Non-commercial use of natural resources

·      Social justice/human rights

·      Socioeconomic reasons

·      Environmental degradation/destruction and

·      Spread of environmental awareness and media

Many environmental movements have emerged in India, especially after the 1970s. These movements have grown out of a series of independent responses to local issues in different places at different times. 

The issues and concerns of environmental movements in India

Some of the best known environmental movements in India have been briefly described below:

The Silent Valley Movement

·      The silent valley is located in the Palghat district of Kerala.

·      It is surrounded by different hills of the State. 

·      The idea of a dam on the river Kunthipuzha in this hill system was conceived by the British in 1929. 

·      The technical feasibility survey was carried out in 1958 and the project was sanctioned by the Planning Commission of the Government of India in 1973. 

·      In 1978, the movement against the project from all corners was raised from all sections of the population. 

·      The movement was first initiated by the local people and was subsequently taken over by the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP). 

·      Many environmental groups like the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Silent Valley Action Forum participated in the campaign. 

Bishnoi Movement

The issues and concerns of environmental movements in India

Amrita Devi led this effort, in which 363 people gave their lives for the preservation of their forests. This was the first movement of its sort to establish the concept of hugging or embracing trees for their protection on an ad hoc basis. This moment is popularly known as the Bishnoi movement.

Chipko Movement

·      The Chipko movement in India is one of the world’s most well-known environmental movements. The Chipko movement attracted international attention to the Alaknanda drainage basin’s environmental problems in the midwestern Himalayas. The Chipko movement, which began in the pre-independence era to protect Himalayan forests from destruction, has its origins there

·      During the early decades of the twentieth century, many protests against colonial forest policies were organised. The people’s principal demand during these rallies was that the forest’s benefits, particularly the right to fodder, be distributed to local people. In 1960, a massive road network was built in the area for border security purposes, in addition to taking on numerous other types of undertakings.

·      All of this was devastating for the area’s woodlands as well as the overall ecology. The removal of trees and then rolling them down slopes weakened the higher soil, which was eroded even more during rain, resulting in the terrible Alaknanda flood of 1970 July, which wreaked devastation in the upper area of the catchment

·      During the 1970s flood, Dasholi Gram Sarajya Mandal, Gopeswar, a social service organisation in Uttarakhand, came to help with rescue efforts

·      The Mandal’s volunteers understood that land and forest, as well as man and forest, we’re all intertwined. Then they began teaching the public about the negative consequences of deforestation on the slopes, eventually forming a movement

·      The movement’s name, ‘Chipko,’ is derived from the Hindi word ’embrace’. The people are alleged to have hugged, embraced, or adhered to the forest trees to keep them from being felled by the contractors. In a meeting in the Mandal on April 1, 1973, Chandi Prasad Bhatt proposed the concept of ‘loving’ the trees to fight tree chopping. The name ‘Chipko’ comes from a mutually agreed-upon tactic of clinging to trees as nonviolent direct action

Appiko movement

The issues and concerns of environmental movements in India

·      One of India’s forest-based environmental movements is the Appiko Movement. The protest took place in the Western Ghats of Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district.The ‘forest district’ of Karnataka is Uttar Kannada, which is part of the Western Ghats

·      The area has a lot of woodland and a good microclimate for income crops like black pepper and cardamom. The rich forest resources were used during colonial control; teak trees were chopped to build ships, and timber and fuel woods were brought to Mumbai

·      The government began chopping trees for revenue after independence, and the forest department, which continued the colonial forest policy, transformed the tropical rainforests into monoculture teak and eucalyptus plantations

·      Protesting plans to establish teak plantations, a group of Balegadde village youngsters wrote to forest officials, requesting that they not cut the natural forest. However, this request was turned down. The peasants then agreed to start a movement

·      S. L. Bahuguna, the Chipko movement’s architect, was requested to gather locals to take an oath to safeguard trees by embracing them. People hugged the trees when the axe-men came down the Kalase forests in September 1983, and the ‘Appiko movement’ was born

·      The Appiko movement was successful in achieving its goals of preserving current forest cover, replanting trees on degraded land, and harnessing forest riches while keeping natural resources in mind

·      The Appiko movement rescued the people’s fundamental life resources, such as bamboo trees, which could be used to make handcrafted products that they could sell for a few rupees. It also preserved medicinal trees for local people to use

Narmada Bachao Andolan

The issues and concerns of environmental movements in India

·      The struggle against the Narmada River Valley Project is India’s most well-known environmental movement. The Narmada is the Indian peninsula’s greatest west-flowing river. In a sequence of falls, the Narmada weaves its way to the Arabian Sea across 1,312 kilometres through gorgeous forested hills, lush agricultural plains, and tiny rocky gorges

·      The Narmada River Development Project, which involves the construction of thirty huge dams and several smaller ones on the river and its fifty-one main tributaries, is one of the world’s largest multipurpose water projects. The initiative will improve food production and hydropower generation in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra, as well as reshape the valley and the lifestyle of its population

·      Dams and reservoirs will displace 1 million people and sink 350,000 ha of forestland and 200,000 hectares of agricultural land, according to estimates. The Sardar Sarovar Dam, which is now being built in Gujarat, is experiencing strong opposition from tribal tribes that hunt and graze in the forest gorges, as well as peasants who would be displaced by the reservoir’s inundation, which will submerge over 40,000 hectares of land and 250 settlements

·      The movement’s current leaders, such as Medha Patkar, are seeking to provide adequate rehabilitation programmes for those who have been displaced by the project. Human rights advocates have been the articulators of anti-dam protests as a result of the state’s poor implementation of rehabilitation programmes. Their demands included the dam’s complete closure, as well as resettlement and rehabilitation benefits for the displaced people

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