Friday, June 4, 2010

'Why hasten our extinction?'

Pooja Bhale's zealous work towards the protection of wild-life and the larger cause of environment is an attitude that many more people can do well to emulate




While most of us take a cursory interest in environmental issues and related concerns, for Pune-based 26-year-old Pooja Bhale, it is a life-long commitment and a way of life. A qualified conservation biologist, the young achiever is running an organisation called Protecterra Ecological Foundation that aims to spread awareness about the environment, with special focus on wildlife protection.
Pooja always had her mind set on environmental studies and by 18, she was in London pursuing a course in it. “As a kid, I remember my mom telling me a story about a baby elephant who gets separated from its mother in a poaching incident. It stayed with me for a long time and I knew then that I would do something related to wildlife."



“Often, people don't know how they can contribute towards wildlife protection. The 'Save Tiger' campaign was great, but you were never told how you could make a difference. What we can do is watch our individual habits - stop littering, not play blaring music near jungles. We also need to strengthen our wildlife protection laws. Right now, the conviction rate is less than 0.01 per cent. The more we protect our environment, the better the chances are that we retain our wildlife. Our economic stability depends on our ecological stability. Otherwise, both collapse,” she says.
In 2008-09, she helmed the 'conservation awareness programme' at the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), Delhi and worked as assistant to prominent wildlife conservationist and executive director of WPSI, Belinda Wright.
In the next few months, she intends to have an army of volunteers who can work towards targeting different age groups. "When I go to schools, I see that a lot of children are well-aware about the problems of pollution, climate changes, and so on. It is the adults who need to be re-educated about their civic responsibilities," she says.

Besides the various schools Pooja visits and the workshops she conducts, her diligence towards the cause prompts her to even talk to perfect strangers at a traffic signal, if need be. "I live my work. I am collaborating with a Mountain & Adventure Group called Trekdi. The message is to respect one's surroundings. Not many know that the stretch to Mount Everest has an incredible amount of garbage. I'm also associated with another group, PEM in Ratnagiri, which empowers rural people and educates them on environment," says Pooja, who herself is heavily into adventure sports.

At the moment, her own home (a sprawling bungalow in Aundh) is where the action lies. "I intend to get my own place soon. I have a 300-plus collection of books related to environment and about 100 documentary films on it. The idea is to create a dialogue first. But for me, it's not about merely imparting information only. It is about empowering people to make a difference," she says with youthful zeal.

Pooja's passion for nature extends to all walks of her life, and no slack is cut for friends and family. Any one bringing a plastic bag to her place is duly fined Rs 5. "And if it's my mother, I take Rs 500," she says, without being amused. "My father is a builder, and I ensure that every project of his is environment-friendly." And understandably, every conceivable eco-friendly measure from rain-water harvesting to solar heating is adopted at her place.

“Extinction is the rule of evolution. That is bound to happen, but we are quickening the pace and losing our species faster than ever before. I hope our environmental concerns pick up as a movement, wherein each person feels responsible for the consequences of their actions,” she says.

- Sandhya Iyer

For more details, contact www.protecterraef.org

13 Comments:

Blogger Pooja said...

You are a doll!

Thank you so much...

June 4, 2010 at 3:08 AM  
Anonymous sandhya said...

Hey thanks, keep in in the loop about Protectera.

July 17, 2010 at 5:46 AM  
Blogger ashwini said...

hi pooja,
WISHING U MANY MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY.AM SORRY I MISSED OUT ON D GRAND LAUNCH OF UR FOUNDATION, AS I WAS TRAVELLING IN ARUNACHAL.WISHING U LOADS OF SUCCESS IN UR NOBLE VENTURE.....UR A TRUE HERO.AM THOROUGHLY IMPRESSED.SHALL CALL ONCE I REACH BACK AT KOLKATA.My email ashwinikumar1960@gmail.com.
warm regards
Brig Ashwini Kumar

March 13, 2011 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger vishu said...

hii pooja.its vishal.aap bohot acha kam kar rahi ho.keep it up. kash mai bhi kuch kar pata? aisa to sab log bolte hai but i would realy like to do something for my city. not so big as u done but for a beat. God Bless YOUR Protectera. ..............vishal
vishal.sutar9@yahoo.com (9028510121)

June 16, 2011 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger vishu said...

hey pooja have you played Badmiton..... ever? sorry, i thought so.

June 16, 2011 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger vishu said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 16, 2011 at 12:05 PM  
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