Once upon a time, there was a small kid living in a village called Mudichur, about twenty nine kilometers away from the Chennai city. The kid remained always mesmerised by the abundant beauty of the nature and as he grew into a boy, realised the abundant agonies faced by the nature. He observed the deteriorating phase of nature and earnestly felt the immediate need to rescue it. The sight of dirtied ponds and lakes in his neighbourhood bothered him much, every time he went on a nature walk. He wanted to ameliorate, but as a small boy he didn’t know how to, until he got his spark from the man whom he sees as his inspiration. Mr Damodharan, the Head of the Village Panchayat, was the environmental trigger who instilled the sense of responsibility among the villagers and motivated them to clean up the ponds and keep the water bodies clean. Since then, the small boy would always dream of cleaning all the polluted ponds that he spotted. As the boy grew, his love for nature also grew enormously.
The boy-turned-man graduated in Microbiology from the Madras Christian College, Chennai and subsequently pursued the most privileged career at Google, Hyderabad. For most, grabbing a job in Google would bring in life’s fullness. But for this young man who also aspired to be an entrepreneur, it did not mean the same. He dreamt of a clean unspoilt nature even more now, on seeing the filthy environment in the metropolitans. His urge to serve the nature and start a company on his own, made him feel incomplete with his career, which he quit in about 3 years. He then studied in the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, and later joined the Roots and Shoots Organisation which brings together youth from preschool to university age to work on environmental, conservation and humanitarian issues.
The young man-turned-activist, after his brief stint at the social organisation was all ready to nail his dream. He started a self-funded, environment conservation organisation in 2007, known by the name “Environmentalist Foundation of India”, which is now a globally recognised environmental organisation. The organisation pools self-interested volunteers who join together, to restore the environment a little better. Initially, the EFI set – off with pond and lake conservation, which consequently spread out as very many environment conservation programmes like “Green Gramam” – the village development programme, “Waste Not” – the urban waste management programme, “Sparrow Reintroduction” – the sparrow bio-habitat recreation programme, “Herbs Restoration” – the planting of herbs and native plants around water bodies programme, “AniPal Zoo Volunteering” – the programme for creating awareness and campaigning for the animals in the zoos, “Urban Eco-Responsibility” – the programme to identify and work towards every city’s environmental concerns, “Composting” – the educating programme on compost making from kitchen wastes, “Bio Diversity Parks at Schools” – the programme for setting up of parks in schools to house various flora and fauna, “Animal Care” – the stray animals rescue and rehabilitation programme and “Mass Awareness” – the comprehensive set of programmes to train and empower the young volunteers in making awareness spreading street dramas and documentaries, by way of camps.
The EFI has been actively working in Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Pondicherry, Kolkata and is soon branching to very many cities. This young man and his team at EFI are instrumental in restoring many lakes in Tamil Nadu, much specifically in Chennai. Close to 39 lakes and 48 ponds have been restored in Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Gujarat in 2016 and 2017 and the list is even counting. The involvement of EFI in relief and restoration activities during floods was applauded by various quarters of the society.
As said earlier, EFI is a self-funded organisation and don’t you wonder how does our young man manage to draw funds for his organisation? Remember? He not only dreamt of becoming an environmentalist, but also of an entrepreneur. In 2011, he started a market research firm, headquartered in Chennai, known by the name “Krish Info Media”. KIM caters to its clients by providing information and research in the area of digital media marketing, corporate training, business development and election results predictions. All the regional news followers out there must have seen him expounding the results of varied social surveys made by his company in the popular Tamizh news channel, Thanthi TV. A part of the profits from the company, KIM is channelized as funds for the EFI.
This environmentalist is also proud recipient of a number of recognizing awards; British Council International Climate Champion Excellence Award in 2010, Jane Goodall Institute Global Youth Leadership Award in 2010, Google Alumni Impact Award in 2011, Rolex Awards for Enterprise award in 2012 for cleaning Lake Kilkattalai in Chennai and Youth Action Net Fellow award in 2012.
The small kid who once dreamt of a pristine nature, did not make it only in dreams. He is striving to make it a fabulous reality not for him alone, but for all of us, joining his hands with all those hands tweaking to breathe life into the destitute nature.
This is how the curious kid – turned – eager small boy – turned – aflame young man – turned – avid environmentalist cum entrepreneur – turned into Our Great Green Hero! And, this Good Green Samaritan is known by the name Arun Krishnamurthy.
“Kindly step out to learn about our country and spare time to work for its environment”, is all that the thirty-one-year-young Arun Krishnamurthy says when asked for his message to our readers. Let us appreciate and draw inspiration from this green hero and swear to do our part in reviving our very own nature!
(You too can volunteer with the EFI in the weekends in Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Pondicherry, Hyderabad and Mumbai via the “EFI Volunteer App” in Google play store https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.leftshift.efivolunteer )