"Role of urban citizens in environmental conservation and protection"
by Piyush Manush
Piyush Manush is a farmer, environmentalist, entrepreneur and social activist at Coop Forest. Along with few people in 2010, He formed the Salem Citizen’s Forum, a collective of urban citizens that engaged in people welfare activities. The Forum adopted the Mookaneri Lake, a 58-acre located at the foot of the Shevaroy hills, was conserved from massive pollution. He has also made contribution to revive water bodies like Ammapettai Lake, Kundukkal Lake, Ismailkhan Lake, Arisipalayam Pond and Pallappatti well. He opposed commercial mining in Kanjamalai hills and he stands against encroachments and land mafia. He created ‘Coop Forest’, an initiative for forest preservation, on a hilly terrain in Dharmapuri. He won the CNN-IBN Indian of the year 2015 award representing people.
Can man create a forest and make a living out of it? He started planting trees in the city, discovered vermi-composting, began producing plates out of areca palm leaves and manufactured charcoal after his graduation. The Coop Forest that he initiated teaches us how. There are lot of green ventures involved in the forest which includes bee-keeping, mushroom cultivation, bio-gas generation. The 150-acre land is owned by a cooperative of people. The forest, which was once a dry, lifeless terrain, is now also home to thousands of trees such as neem, rosewood, mango, custard apple, jack fruit, chiku, silk cotton and pungam. Piyush organizes educational camps for school children. He had managed to connect many like-minded people who regularly discuss and find solutions to every civil, social and environmental problem and have managed to clean up six lakes in the Eastern ghats region. His hope is to increase the number of sustainable development initiatives in this country and the biggest challenge is questioning people’s notion of development. His talk will be about the role of citizens in environmental conservation and protection.