We do whatever is in our power to protect the environment of the mountains we live in so that present and future generations can enjoy their natural beauty, wonderful climate and abundant resources. We are trying to limit the damage to Nature caused by people. We are concerned about the disappearance of forests, the depleting biodiversity, the loss of natural habitats for wild animals, the drying up of mountain springs, the pollution of rivers with sewage, non-biodegradable waste being dumped on hillsides and along pathways, the chemicals used to grow our food, public health, the loss of traditional livelihoods and about the big threats to our planet of global warming and climate change. We believe that concerted and far-sighted action is required by government and citizens together to save the Himalayan region.
Our first priority is to introduce environment-friendly solid waste management by applying the three ‘R’s - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We are promoting segregation of waste at source, door-to-door collection of it, decentralised composting of green waste, recycling of inert materials and controlled incineration of hospital and insanitary waste. We want to put a stop to littering, dumping and open burning of waste through creating awareness, offering community-based alternatives and demanding the imposition of fines on those who violate the rules. We have proved that residents are willing to cooperate in this endeavour.
Protecting Biodiversity and organizing reforestation
With the help of the Department of Forests, we are converting community forests, largely composed of pine trees that cause water scarcity and forest fires, into fast growing indigenous forests using Prof Miyawaki’s method to enrich the soil and conserve humidity. Companion trees of different heights are planted in close proximity to create dense forests that prevent soil erosion, regenerate mountain springs and become a habitat for birds and wild animals.
Promoting organic farming
We are raising awareness about the irreversible harm caused to the soil by using chemical inputs for food crops. We provide technical expertise for organic farming and an alternative to chemical fertilisers through the composting of green waste. In partnership with the G. B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, we have undertaken research on the nutritional value of stinging nettle (Urtica Dioica) as a potential food crop. With funding from the National Mission of Himalayan Studies (NMHS), we are in the process of developing marketable food supplements from it so as to make it a livelihoods option for mountain farmers.
Preventing Pollution of water sources
We are cleaning the waste thrown into naulas, the mountain springs with which Almora was doted. Only a few of the over 300 still remain. Our clean-up operations concentrate on removing waste from slopes near streams and rivers so that waste does not wash into them during the monsoons. We are demanding strict enforcement of rules concerning sewage and waste water treatment and promoting cost-effective ways of cleaning waste water before it enters ponds, lakes or streams.