Western Ghats world heritage: label or catalyst for action

The Western Ghats in India tell a fascinating tale of competing interests and agendas. Recently declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO after a persistent 10-year campaign by the Indian Government, the Ghats have been the subject of a number of different agendas, pursued by conservationists, state and central government officials, UN officials, Indian and international scientists, forest-dweller activists and development and mining advocates alike.

No one can dispute that the Western Ghats, a 1600km mountain range stretching along the west coast of India, are a “biodiversity hotspot, containing over 5 000 flowering plants, 139 mammals, 508 birds and 179 amphibian species”.

Map of Western Ghats, IndiaSource: IUCN

This stunning timelapse photography by renowned wildlife photographer Sandesh Kadur gives you a glimpse into that other world. 

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Chipko Movement – Tree Huggers

During a recent meeting with a prominent Indian Australian businessman and educator, in which we were discussing environmental education projects in India, I was introduced for the first time to the “Chipko movement”.

Until that point, I had been unaware that in the early 18th century, and more recently in the 1970’s, “an organized resistance to the destruction of forests spread throughout India and came to be known as the Chipko movement. The name of the movement comes from the word ’embrace’, as the villagers hugged the trees, and prevented the contractors’ from felling them.” The Chipko movement originated in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand in northern India (later spreading throughout India) and was inspired by Gandhi’s philosophy of Satyagraha.

Tree Huggers

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