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The seed of love, courage, and urgency toward the Green Oath reached us when on April 22, 1970; 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values. Although mainstream America largely remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962.  The book represented a watershed moment, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries, and beginning to raise public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and links between pollution and public health. The green march hit the zenith in the year 1977, when Wangari Muta Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement. In 1984, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for "her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace". That award not only hailed the goodwill and indomitable spirit of an activist, but also announced to the world, it's an emergency. A desperate SOS. Our planet is in grave danger, so are we. The call was heard by the people truly closest to nature, the tribals. The world witnessed a do or die movement to save trees, internationally known as The Chipko Movement. Chipko Andolan was primarily a forest conservation movement in India that began in 1973 and went on to become a rallying point for many future environmental movements all over the world. The world immediately took notice of this non violent movement, which was to inspire in time many eco-groups by helping to slow down the rapid deforestation, expose vested interests, increase ecological awareness, and demonstrate the effect of common men solidarity. Above all, it fired up the existing civil society in India, which began to address the issues of tribal and marginalized people in mainstream discourse. The green wave was intercepted by the peoples near Lataguri. The workers of West Bengal Forest Development Corporation have been cutting trees on a stretch of NH31 for the construction of an over-bridge. Based on a petition by an environment activist, Subhrajyoti Chatterjee, who on behalf of at least 20 NGOs that work for nature, environment and wildlife conservation, alleged that the trees were being felled in the Dooars, which falls under the purview of national wildlife sanctuary, without prior approval from the central government. The result of the WAR was reported in The Telegraph that rejuvenated the green warriors:

 

Calcutta, April 7: Calcutta High Court today issued an interim stay on further felling of trees near Lataguri under Nagrakata police station of Cooch Behar till further order.

 

The next Wall of human bonding with the sunny spots of greenery was at the Jessore Road. As a response to an appeal posted in social media by a young green-mate Ripon Arya, to save the trees of Jessore Road, hundreds of people in Bonga, walked with candles to protect the ancient affection that they share with the grandfatherly trees around. A medical student, Ra Hul, walked 30kms to protect the unmoved love that trees transmit. A poet and creative artist, Bibhash Roy Chowdhury composed and crafted Street plays for the trees of Jessore Road. When Ra Hul walked another 30kms, he was blessed with the songs of renowned musicians like Pallab Kirtaniya and the humming vocals of the mass. Simultaneously, the ‘Jessore Road Gachh Banchao Committee’ was formed to encounter the crisis hand in hand. This was the first time in history that Calcutta Press Club, with the initiative of Sabuj Mancha, held a state level Press Conference against the environmental distress brought upon by human interference in Lataguri, Jessore Road, Santipur, Taki Road and the Sunderbans. The Jessore Road Committee made another 53km walk along with green-mates like Ra Hul, and this time they got the attention of media. Jessore Road Movement became THE Movement of common people. The green contagion reached Taki Road, where the green-mates walked 16kms to save the tress. Here the Movement got the inspiring embrace of Rina Das Basu and Kaberi Basu Ganguly, who hugged the trees like Chipko activists, in order to protect them with their lives. This Movement also got successful to have an interim stay order on further felling of trees.

 

The green-mates fought vehemently for the vast swamp that keeps the city flowing. East Calcutta Wetlands, the name was coined by Dr. Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, Special Advisor(Agricultural Ecosystems), Commisssion on Ecosystem Management,IUCN who reached this incredible but neglected part of the city searching the answer to a question: What exactly happens to the city sewage? These natural water bodies which were known just as fisheries provided the answer. Devised by local fishermen and farmers, these wetlands served, in effect, as the natural sewage treatment plant for the city. The East Kolkata Wetlands host the largest sewage fed aquaculture in the world. The green-mates like Dr. Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, Jayanta Basu, Naba Dutta, Shasanka Dev, Shantanu Chakraborty, Banani Kakkar, Dr. Ashish ghosh, Kallol Roy surveyed the entire area to take measures to save this one of its kind landmass. After the decision to extend Salt Lake City by converting more wetlands in the area, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by CSO saved the Wetlands by a landmark judgment of Justice Umesh Chandra Banerjee of Calcutta High Court.The East Calcutta Wetlands were designated a "wetland of international importance" under the Ramsar Convention on August 19, 2002. This was a landmark triumph for the green-mates, though the struggle is not over, in fact no struggle is over. Since we have just started to understand the global crisis in its full impact, the real struggle has only begun. To include you into this green war, Greenwalk evolved and is evolving day by day. Greenwalk is you. Rise to yourself and you are us. Let's walk.

THE BEST TIME TO PLANT TREE IS NOW

Say Yes to a green home. No to the Greenhouse.

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