Lessons from the pandemic point towards environment protection for a safer tomorrow. Social distancing and sanitization are imperative for survival in the new normal but are insufficient to ensure a safe future. A closer look at the environmental status at the onset of the pandemic reveals improved air and water quality as well as increased biodiversity, but resumed commercial activity post the lockdown phase is likely to make these achievements redundant. With a heightened focus on sanitizing and disinfecting our homes and workplaces, we must also consider doing the same for the planet.

Amidst these alarming concerns is a ray of hope - the eco heroes. Purification of water bodies, practising sustainable farming, harnessing clean sources of energy, promoting green spaces, animal conservation and more are gaining momentum across the globe at a citizen and community level to combat the cascading effects of climate change and rapid industrialization. If upscaled massively, these initiatives have the potential to inspire and revolutionize the way countries approach sustainability for a clean and green future.

Eco India, a joint venture between Scroll.in and DW, has been covering stories on initiatives undertaken by environmental activists, eco-preneurs and citizens, focusing on waste management, solar energy, ethical clothing, zero-emission innovations, and more. The show is back with its fifth season to laud the unsung heroes for their inspiring efforts towards a better tomorrow.

For over 100 weeks, the show has brought to the forefront compelling stories of change across India and beyond. Two years ago, the show began introducing viewers to not just environmental issues and solutions, but also various social, commercial, and political complexities that led to the situation that is today. Ranging from simple techniques to research-backed and tech-led innovations, what led to the success of these eco heroes was vigilance and sensitivity towards the declining state of the environment and the drive to build a secure future for the generations to come.

Eco India recently launched the 100th edition of the show, highlighting some striking stories over the past two years. The show began with its very first episode on how a group of citizens undertook the responsibility to tackle the deteriorating state of lakes in the garden city of India, Bengaluru. Once regarded as the primary source of water for the city, expansion and industrialization not only developed new ways of sourcing water but also led to negligence and pollution of these lakes. These citizens transformed some of these lakes and restored their beauty, receiving recognition from across the country.

Land ownership for women has been a disputed topic for years in India. Eco India featured an episode on a community of women in the drought-hit Bavi village of Maharashtra, who demanded ownership of one acre of land to practise climate resilient farming, and secure food for their families. Their determination earned the respect of their communities and also enabled them to provide food during the pandemic.

The show also covered the story of the Maldhari community of the Kutch region in Gujarat, and their resolve to conserve their Kharai camels. When salt manufacturers began destroying mangroves in the region, this community became increasingly worried about the well-being of their camels, who usually grazed in those mangroves, and on whom their livelihoods were largely dependent. Identifying camel wool as an alternate source of livelihood, these herders began weaving and selling cloth made from the wool, and are today using their resources to conserve the 6000 camels left in the region.

The show has covered many such inspiring stories over two years. Its 100th edition points out several insights from the show since its inception and the environmental results yielded by innovations created by India’s eco heroes.

Watch the special episode of the 100th edition of Eco India below.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team for the show Eco India, a joint editorial property of Scroll.in and DW.