Small Steps Big Leaps: Meet Our Champions’ Big Wins for the Environment
It's we who should take responsibility for land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience to keep Mother Earth safe. Meet our unsung heroes who initiate simple but effective steps to do the same & inspire us in many ways.
 Small Steps Big Leaps: Meet Our Champions’ Big Wins for the Environment
“Our Land, Our Future”: Emphasizing On Big Environmental Winnings - THE ANTS

“Our land, our future”.

Do we all consider the same? Probably not!

The Earth is our home, yet we, mankind, have become ruthless in destroying and depleting its wealth and resources for our own greed, ignoring the fact that its nourishment and restoration are indeed needed for our survival.

Every year, World Environment Day promotes awareness of how we can individually take small steps but make a big leap together for nature conservation. This year, World Environment Day 2024 is celebrated with the theme “Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience.”

Aiming for the same goal, THE ANTS organized a virtual event, exemplifying real groundwork to help us understand how to care for and make a positive impact on our planet.

The guests, thrilled to be part of this program and eager to open our eyes through their dedication, were:

Jeet Milan Roche: A plant lover and protector determined to turn cemeteries and dumping yards into lush green forests.

Arvind Tharunsri: A professional scuba diver whose expeditions aim to clean garbage from the ocean to save marine ecosystems.

The program kicked off with a panel discussion where they highlighted how their passion for environmental conservation started, how we can mobilize youngsters into this journey, and which practical steps we and our government can take.

Jeet Milan Roche began by emphasizing what nature means to him. He shared his journey, which started in 2005 when he was working in the IT sector with a hectic schedule. Despite this, he managed to plant trees and show his unconditional love for nature.

So far, he has planted over 300,000 trees, averaging 12,000 saplings each year. He initiated planting around 12 schools in Mangalore under the project “Shalegondu Vana.” He has also planted more than 18,000 to 20,000 saplings in over 23 cemeteries and targeted the same number for dumping yards.

Additionally, he aims to transform a 40-acre dumping yard full of medical waste into a lush green oasis, or more precisely, the “lungs of the cities.” When he asked how it was possible to plant in a mountain of garbage, he enlightened us with the Miyawaki technique.

Through this process, with the help of biomining segregation, 30-40-year-old waste is transformed into mud, which is used as the main soil for planting. Till now, 12,000 plants have been planted, and this year, 7,000 more will be added to cut down the rotten and unbearable smell and smoke emanating from the place.

His compassion, knowledge, and practical decisions led him to choose mangroves for soil conservation in the shore despite their challenges, as mangroves can only be planted during low tide.

“I took a pledge that I’ll plant 1 lakh mangrove saplings each year. This year, in my first drive, I planted around 45, 500 mangrove pods and I would plant 1 lakh mangroves hereafter by 2025” – said Jeet.

Not only the plantation, but his interest in serving nature also took him to clean up drive on the sea beach where he found 30% of waste collected as footwear. This made him initiate a program where he collects footwear from people, and recycles or repairs it for further use.

To make the program go on, Jeet then invited input from Arvind Tharunsri, who shared his diving journey, which began in 1997. The ocean’s immense beauty led him to choose diving as a career, and he started his own company in Pondicherry.

On his first dive, he and four fellow marine divers collected 400 kgs of waste. He regularly collects waste from the deep ocean and carefully removes ghost nets. So far, he has rescued and released two whale sharks, and 20 sea turtles, and removed 15,000 kgs of plastic and ghost nets.

Arvind shared that his 10-year-old daughter is part of this cleanup journey, and together, they have cleaned up 3,000 kgs of plastic. Inspired by her, 40 other kids have joined the effort.

“There are still a lot of people throwing plastic and many still collecting it. Giving awareness to these people is mandatory. So, I engage others and teach them how important it is to save the environment and control the damage that plastic causes” – stated Arvind.

Arvind emphasized that as this is a long-term process, we should engage the next generation. The reason why he arranged summer camps on his farmland, surrounded by a reserve forest, where participants enjoy entertainment but must also clean plastic from the forest.

Seeing Arvind and Jeet’s dedication encourages us to become enthusiastic about our efforts. However, questions remain on how to approach this in our daily lives and what additional steps the government can take.

To conclude, both Arvind and Jeet shared their thoughts. Arvind suggested engaging kids to stop using plastic and encouraging them to make their homes plastic-free zones. He also stressed teaching them not to dump plastic, which often ends up in water bodies.

Jeet added that to fix the problem, we must start from home, where adults should be aware of their lifestyle and approach to nature, setting an example for children. Additionally, he urged the government to control the exploitation of nature to prevent greenery in the cities from turning into concrete jungles.

This conversation highlighted many important points and can be stretched longer. However, from here, we should understand that we have already harmed nature significantly, as evidenced by heatwaves, unexpected monsoons, and floods. 

Therefore, we must step forward to conserve, love, care for, and respect the unwavering blessings from Mother Nature because “We Are Generation Restoration” and “Our land, Our Future.”

Finally, we want to say, don’t forget to share stories with THE ANTS. Together, we can inspire others by showing real-life examples of how “Winners don’t do different things, but they do things differently.”

  • Mousumi Paul

    I’m a passionate SEO specialist & content marketer dedicated to thriving businesses in the next-gen digital sphere. And I believe “words have the power to make a difference in your thoughts.