India is a land of philosophy of nature and its conservation Gandhi preached, plain living, high thinking. Gandhi’s model of economic growth is a kin to the sustainable growth which the present day environmentalists profess, where as our leaders, policy makers profess to western model of economic growth. Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s speech on the 1970s conference on Human Environment was highly acclaimed. She established a National Committee for Environmental planning and cooperation. Soon after a series of enactment of environmental laws for Environmental protection-were passed in the parliament, the U.N. conference on the world wild life protection Act 1972 was enacted and Gandhi was a great environmental activist of the world and for which she was awarded the prestigious International Union of Conservation of Nature Award.
In recent years so may grass root environmental movements launched against the developmental activities that have threatened the ecological balance.
Major Environmental Movement in India:
It was started by noted environment list Sunderlal Bahuguna in 1970 to safe guard the rich forest of western Himalaya Range. This movement was basically a people movement to resist the cutting of trees. There were frequent floods in the Alkanand River catchment area due to cutting trees for developmental world like the construction of roads, river dam project etc. The people of village Gopeswar formed and association called Dasholi Gram Saraja Mandal in 1970 mainly to provide relief to flood affected people in that area. Then they diverted their attention to the importance of forest cover and under the leadership of Bahugun a made a movement to protect environment and ecology and the movement draws the attention of the Govt. and World Bank.
Silent Valley Movement:
An NGO of Kerala called Kerala Sastraiya Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) raised their voice to stop the silent vally Hydral Project in 1978. Silent valley is rich in tropical forest with enormous bio-reserve. The state Govt. of Kerala wanted a hydroelectric project for the power hungry state inside a deep tropical forest in silent valley. This tropical forest was the only remaining one in the country. The environmentalist objected to the project and field a case in High court, which they lost project was cancelled by the help of Mrs. Indira Gandhi.
Narmada Bachao Andolan:
In the state Madhya Pradesh. Gujarat, it was started to protest the construction of dam around thirty in numbers on the river Narmada to produce hydroelectricity and irrigation facility to the drought prone area of Kutch: Gujarat social activist Baba Amte and Environmentalist. Madha Patkar is the two leaders to fight against the Govt. and judiciary for the benefits of tribal of that affected region. Noted writer Arundhati Ray also joined the movement. It was estimated that two big dams construction on the river Narmada costs Rs. 30,923 cores and Rs. 8190 cores by way of environmental loss. Besides this the project will submerge about 130482 Hectors of which 55681 hectors are prime agricultural land arid 56066 hectors are forests. The two dams namely Sardar Sarovar Project and Narmada Sagar Project have enormous utilities to the people for supply of electricity and irrigation but the estimated environmental cost is too much to ignore according to the report by environment scientist.
It was started in 1983 by the people of village Balegadde district Uttar Kannada of Karnataka state. This district is a part rich forest of Western Ghats. The people of this village protested the cutting of teak trees by Chipko way of embracing the trees. The activists spread the movement throughout the region by padayatras, meetings, folk dance etc. The movement mainly focused on to conserve to grow trees. This movement has played the most crucial role to preserve the environment and ecosystem of Western Ghats.