There’s no time better than now to think about all of nature’s wonders and reassert the importance of protecting our environment. This World Conservation Day, we tell you about five Indian NGOs that are doing wonders in helping build a better tomorrow, today. By Bayar Jain

1. Nature Environment and Wildlife Society (NEWS)


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Dating to 1991, this Kolkata-based NGO brings a fusion of scientific research, knowledge dissemination, community engagement and policy advocacy to achieve sustainable development. Understanding the interconnectedness of different ecologies to form one cohesive ecosystem, NEWS imbibes a multi-pronged approach to ensure sustenance. Catering to the climate change crises, dabbling in water conservation, ensuring proper waste management, undertaking wildlife conservation projects, and promoting ecotourism are just some of the many aspects under their massive umbrella. However, it’s not all words for NEWS. Over the years of its existence, this NGO has many stories of success credited to its name. Think, restoration of Sundarbans mangroves with the help of locals, surveying the flora and fauna of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary to help conserve the multi-diversity, or even setting new paradigms of ecotourism at Sundarbans.

2. Vanashakti


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With a name roughly translating to ‘power of the forest’, Vanashakti’s focus on nature conversation is evident. Fuelled by the goal of emphasising the critical role played by forests, this entirely citizen-organised Mumbai-based NGO focusses on all things ‘tree’— forests, mangroves, and wetlands. However, at Vanashakti, conservation extends well beyond the woods. A major goal of this organisation is to generate livelihoods for forest dwellers and communities dependent on ecosystems, in turn creating assurance of their future. The NGO has been instrumental in preventing the deforestation of Mumbai’s Aarey colony, a dense forest area that is slated to lose over 33 hectors of land to pave way for a metro car shed. For this, the NGO filed a case in court to declare Aarey as an Eco-Sensitive Zone. That aside, they even worked in the revival of Mumbai’s Ulhas River, the last perennial river of the city; protect and conserve the Morjim turtle nesting site in Goa, and rescued the Sewree Mangrove Park of Mumbai among others.

3. Swechha


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An NGO that came into being as a collective response towards the need to protect river Yamuna, today, Sweccha has catapulted to take education and enterprises—apart from the environment—under its purview as well. The illustrious team believes that societal wants play a big role in damaging our planet, and it is up to us to ‘Wake up and Act.’ Whether it is the drying Yamuna, an overflowing landfill, or a fast-depleting green cover of the city, Sweccha attends all the issues, and more.

4. Dakshin Foundation


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Working in a mosaic of land and seascapes, Dakshin Foundation combines their skills in natural and social sciences to mend the delicate relationships between humans and their environments. The NGO aims at building and enhancing community rights in environmental decision making through projects such as enhancing fisher inclusion and representation in coastal planning and decision-making in Odisha. By doing so, Dakshin Foundation aims to promote ecologically and socially appropriate approaches to conserve and manage India’s coastal, marine, and mountain ecosystems.

5. Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust (SLC-IT)


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Working in the Trans-Himalayan regions of Ladakh and Spiti, SLC-IT is designed to save the mountain ecosystems in collaboration with local communities of the areas. Established in 2000 as a part of the Snow Leopard Conservancy, the Indian counterpart of the NGO followed three years later under the guidance of Rinchen Wangchuk, a Ladakhi mountaineer and conservationist. Snow leopards—once a thriving species in the mountains, now dwindling at accelerated rates—make up a majority of their goal. Creating livestock enclosures, promoting ecotourism in the mountains, promoting local handicrafts, converting waste to usable energy, etc. are some of the other aspects they delve into.

Related: Here’s How The Coronavirus Lockdown Is Affecting The Environment (In A Positive Way)