On the occasion of World Environment Day this week, a group of people set out to save the environment in a fun and more informed way. The Institute for Applied Research and Innovation (InARI) at Bengaluru, had organised a walkathon, “Walk of Life” at the break of dawn. I was a part of the event as SciRio was covering the event as their official media partner. As we were setting things up, an enthusiastic jogger passing by us stopped me and asked, “It is World Environment Day today and so you have to be saving the environment by planting trees, clearing garbage from the streets, etc. but are you having a Walkathon instead? Isn’t it supposed to be done on World Health Day or something?” I smiled and said, “Yes, of course planting trees is one the most important ways to save our environment but do you know which ones to plant where?” She was pleasantly surprised. “How does it matter? All plants give us fresh air and shelter”, she said. Without a pause, I asked her to join us for the walk while she can find out why we were having a walkathon on World Environment Day.
The event started off on a cheerful note. All the participants were engaging themselves very well with the volunteers and their peers. Dr Rajani Kanth Vangala, Director of InARI addressed the gathering by introducing the institute and thanking the media partner SciRio and the event sponsor uremart.com for their contributions in bringing the event together.
We started our walk from InARI and took a 3 Km tour around Ramanjaneyanagar discussing about trees that are growing around here. It was no surprise that we could find a lot of that were not of local origin, just like at Chandapura. In fact, Mrs Deepti, one of the participants of the walk was surprised to find that there were several trees (like Honge – Pongamia pinnata) that were in fact foreign to the locality she lives in, because she herself has planted a couple of them in her backyard as it was prevalent around Ramanjaneyanagar. We also saw some trees that were indeed local like Sampige (Magnolia champaca), Ashwatha (Ficus religiosa), Mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni), Gulmohar (Delonix regia), Spathodea (Spathodea campanulata) and Nerale (Syzygium cumini) etc. With this being the scenario, when asked if the residents saw any local birds such as sparrows (Passer domesticus), parrots, koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) etc. they reported that they could mostly spot pigeons and crows. Now they understood why they saw what they saw. No local trees = No local birds, hence no diversity. Our jogger friend, Nanditha had her eureka moment!
Mr Nagendra, one of the walkers has something to share. Let’s hear from him.
Halfway through the walk, we had set a watering hole for anyone who wanted to take a break and have water in an eco-friendly, pocket-friendly paper cup that is completely biodegradable. Our walk continued while we advertised our event and cause using handmade posters made by the volunteers exclusively for the event. Kids who were with us for the walk were really excited to be a part of the walk.
Being as enthusiastic as they always are, not for once did they stop hoarding the posters in their hands constantly leading the bunch. They chatted about why they did not want to use plastic when they are only 9-years old! They reminded me of Greta Thunberg. Now I have no second thoughts that the earth’s future is secure in the hands of the future generations. Our only responsibility at present is not to ruin our environment to irreparable levels.
As we took a detour to complete our walk, we stopped by at Brindavan Upachar where they were kind enough to sponsor refreshments to all our participants. As we reached the institute, all the participants were presented with their certificate of appreciation along with souvenirs sponsored by uremart.com.
The event ended on an eco-friendly note as a lot of the participants bought eco-friendly products exclusively made and marketed by Jarani Solutions Pvt Ltd on uremart.com. Nanditha was overwhelmed by the scientific insights of the activity and said she was glad to have participated in the event. She was enthused to find out more about any such upcoming events. I’m glad everyone went back with eco-friendly minds. (If you know what I mean!)
A special thanks to Dr Poornima V for her efforts to have mostly planned and organised the event. Presenting all the creative hands and volunteers of the event for making the event a success.
I am the Founder and Managing Editor of SciRio, a digital ecosystem for science communicators who want to communicate science to people who are non-experts in any fields of science. After stints as a Research Associate at the Indian Institute of Science and Centre for Human Genetics working on Cancer Research and Developmental Biology, I shifted gears to communicating science and become an entrepreneur.
I established SciRio to support science communicators in networking better, finding appropriate training and resources, and ultimately provide unexplored opportunities to science communicators.