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Meet Arun Krishnamurthy, The Rockstar Activist Working For Environmental Conservation

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By Mayank Jain:

This post is part of a series of content focusing on covering inspiring work of Indian youth, brought by Youth Ki Awaaz in collaboration with Potentiaa

A young kid, who saw his favourite lake getting polluted as he grew up watching birds and life around him, was determined to do something about it and now, he has come a long way from there. From being a curious nature enthusiast to a champion of India’s environment conservation, Arun Krishnamurthy is a role model for all of us.

Arun Krishnamurthy, pictured during the clean-up of Lake Kilkattalai, is determined that India’s urban lakes will not disappear through neglect. Chennai, India, 2012
Arun Krishnamurthy, pictured during the clean-up of Lake Kilkattalai, is determined that India’s urban lakes will not disappear through neglect. Chennai, India, 2012

His journey began right at that pond where he used to enjoy watching Kingfishers and soon he was working with volunteers when the pond got polluted. “Watching a kingfisher hover over the pond and take a deep plunge to catch a fish was always a treat. Eventually the pond started getting polluted and it struck me that something had to be done and we can’t stay mute. When I showed interest in cleaning the pond, several interested volunteers joined and that’s when it struck me, that when there is an initiative, like-minded people will get together,” he tells us.

Arun 1

 

He is an engineer in Microbiology specialization from the Madras Christian College and he completed his Master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi. He has produced and directed two environmental documentaries in the year 2010 and 2011 on aqueous environment and the other one on sea turtles, respectively. He also founded his own company called Krish Info Media and worked with the Reserve Bank of India and Delhi Police on ad films.

Arun has donned many hats before going into environmental conservation completely with his organization Environmentalist Foundation of India, founded in 2011. He says his vision made it all possible, When there was a vision, help followed from unexpected quarters. Necessary help in the right proportion was always available. Human resource has always been the most important of them all. That we have been able to gather through our work.”

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He started early in 2008 with the Jane Goodall Global Youth Summit, Florida where he represented India. He then attended International Youth Forum on Climate Finance, 2010 in Shanghai. He became the British Council Climate Champion in the same year and went on to win Google’s Social Impact Award in 2011. One of the biggest recognitions for him came in through Rolex Awards for Enterprise where he became one of the 35 Young Laureates and won 50,000 Swiss Francs as an award and support. He kept going and he emphasizes the importance of it by saying, When you are committed to a cause, results are bound to come your way, although it may take time, it will come one day.”

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He started Environmentalist Foundation of India in 2011 which is now active in 9 cities and has over 900 volunteers. The commendable part is that most of these are below 20 years of age. The foundation has conducted over 100 programs in schools to raise awareness among youth and students. The foundation has already restored 6 lakes across India and they have a target to adopt 20 lakes and restore them by December, 2014.

In this journey, Arun’s school and college gave him experiences and perspectives that he holds close to him and says,My school and college have always had a great influence on my thinking. More than books, the atmosphere and the experiences at these institutions guided me to do what I am doing today.”

Arun Krishnamurthy recruits volunteers for his lake restoration project at the GT Aloha Vidhya Mandir school. Chennai, India, 2012
Arun Krishnamurthy recruits volunteers for his lake restoration project at the GT Aloha Vidhya Mandir school.
Chennai, India, 2012

EFI works closely with US Consulate in Chennai and Hyderabad, The German Consul, British Deputy High Commission and The Finnish City Council of Joenso on environmental conservation programs. Arun concludes the conversation by saying that they are on the lookout of volunteers for the organization, “We only request people to volunteer with us, nothing else. The more the volunteer force, greater the work that could be completed.”

To know more about this story and what I think, follow me on Twitter at @mayank1029

You must be to comment.
  1. Mamta Sharma

    want to work with environment NGo , i m based at Chandigarh.
    suggest me to work with which one reputed NGo.
    or i can stat my own in chandigarh .

  2. Raj

    really doing well Mr Arun.
    i just want to meet this guy, and exchange some ideas on environment. feel free to call me on +91 9813491733

    1. Shreya

      You can write to arun@indiaenvironment.org.

      Thanks

  3. sneha

    I want to join.

  4. sneha

    I love to do things like this.

  5. Gowsika Rana

    I am interested to do these things so plz help me to know about environmental degradations and ways to relieve from that.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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