In news: Indian wildlife biologist Dr Purnima Devi Barman has been honoured with the U.N. Environment Programme’s (UNEP) 2022 Champions of the Earth award in the Entrepreneurial Vision category.
About the award:
- Established in 2005, it is U.N.’s highest environmental honour.
- It is an annual award accorded for transformative action to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation.
- In 2017, the program was expanded to include Young Champions of the Earth.
- The initiative is run in partnership with the Covestro, a plastics company.
- awarded every year to seven young environmentalists between ages 18 and 30
Dr. Purnima Devi Barman:
- She leads the “Hargila Army“, an all-female grassroots conservation movement dedicated to protecting the Greater Adjutant Stork from extinction.
- The bird Greater Adjutant Stork is the second-rarest stork species in the world, known locally as “hargila” in Assamese (meaning “bone swallower”).
- Today the “Hargila Army” consists of over 10,000 women.
- They protect nesting sites, rehabilitate injured storks which have fallen from their nests and arrange “baby showers” to celebrate the arrival of new-born chicks.
- The women create and sell textiles with motifs of the bird, helping to raise awareness about the species while building their own financial independence.
- Significance of her work:
- Conflict between humans and wildlife can be resolved to the benefit of all.
- Highlighting the damaging impact that the loss of wetlands has had on the species who feed and breed on them
- Importance of protecting and restoring ecosystems
- mobilised a group of village women to help her.
Source: The Hindu