In the name of progress, we have been causing a lot of harm to our environment, which in turn has led to what we today call global warming and climate change.
Over the years, there has been numerous outcries, countless petitions, and strikes held across the world to bring the issue to the notice of respective authorities and governments.
Understanding the gravity of the situation, and realising it’s not too late to change the course, many individuals have single-handedly fought for the cause in their own way.
Doing her bit to protect the environment is Chikapalli Anasuyamma, a resident of Sangareddy district in Telangana.
The 49-year-old has planted nearly two million plants on wastelands, for which she has won the UNESCO Equator award in New York in September this year, reports The Hans India.
Speaking on the same with Down To Earth, she said,
“Till now, I have grown over two million plants on waste gubbadis or hillocks, and planted two dozen neighbourhood forests”.
However, Chikapalli's tryst with greenery did not start all of a sudden. After separating from her husband, she was doing menial jobs. Later, she became a member of the Deccan Development Society (DDS), a women’s group, which is into turning wastelands into forests.
What started with a small nursery, Chikapalli went on to turn wastelands into forests around her village. Thanks to her hard work and determination, today 16 villages are benefitting from her deeds, due to which she is now popularly known as Gubbadi Anasuyamma.
In one of the forests that she planted in a neighbourhood village, which is spread across 12-16 acres, timber, fruits, and medicinal plants are grown.
However, one of her most memorable initiatives was at Indoor village in Telangana. The village was one of the 49 villages that got submerged in 1990 due to the Singoor dam project. On learning the fact, Chikapalli soon arrived at the location and convinced the tribals that the nearby hillock can be developed into a source of food and livelihood to the community.
The green crusader also trained around 40 Dalit women to develop a neighbourhood forest spread across 28 ha hillock.
“Every day, women would patiently carry pots of water to make the land moist. Soon, it started to bloom, and a part of the hillock turned green”.
Today, there are 0.3 million trees in the forest, which took five years to grow into a complete forest. It has also emerged as a source of fuel, medicinal herbs, and food for the community.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)