Les jeunes encouragent la nature pas la violence
Une organisation au nord de l´ Inde forme les jeunes gens dans le but de protéger les forêts qui les entourent.
In the state of Assam in northeast India, the youngest of citizens are leading the charge to protect among the oldest of resources: the region's endangered forests.
Founded by life-long environmentalist Soumyadeep Datta, Nature's Beckon connects the youth of Assam with the area’s fragile ecosystem by training young leaders to protect them. This organization gives young people an alternative to falling into a life of violence and directs them to become involved, responsible leaders.
"There was little driving our boys forward before they got involved in the green movement," says Lama Gyano Pal Bhikshu, the spiritual and secular head of the Buddhist village of Namphaka in Upper Assam. "They were quite aimless, their sights limited and unfocussed. Now one can perceive a sense of purpose, of confidence."
For Nature’s Beckon volunteers, involvement begins with researching the flora and fauna found in fragile ecosystems in order to map out new – and protect existing – government-protected sanctuaries. They then meet with residents of the nearby villages to discuss their findings and come up with ways the whole community can become involved in protecting the surrounding natural treasures.
All village residents – young and old – are encouraged to participate in the discussions, but a special effort is made to engage the younger generation and give them space to express their opinions. This attention is often exhilarating for rural youth since their junior status rarely gives them an opportunity to think through, much less voice, their individual opinions.
While the youth never openly rebel against authority, they subtly begin to exert their own influence and establish their authority through the power of collective decision-making. They become young leaders.
Nature’s Beckon also reaches out to government agencies. By holding workshops and discussions with officials, the historical walls of distrust and hostility between citizens and the government are gradually broken down.
The mission of Nature’s Beckon is showing strong signs of growth. The group estimates that more than 200,000 people in the 500 villages that surround Assam’s wildlife sanctuaries have benefited from the organization’s activities since it was founded in 1982. Additionally, some 4,000 young people have served as volunteers, of whom 500 are active leaders who are driving the movement forward. These volunteers help villagers with a number of eco-friendly income-generation and augmentation projects that boost villagers' standard of living and awaken a sense of wonder about their environment.
To date, nearly 800 square miles of forested land in Assam are officially protected – about two-thirds of this area due to the efforts of Nature's Beckon. This landmark youth-driven humanist movement is steadily protecting the environment and uniting young people across the state.
Reported by Sujoy Das