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The Aravalli Bachao Citizens Movement commemorated Earth Day in the Aravallis with a purposeful, healing and reflective gathering attended by nature enthusiasts from all across Gurgaon and the sacred forest of Manger in India’s National Capital Region.

“About 70 citizens came together for the love of the Earth and a heartfelt passion to connect with the local urban forest — a part of our precious Aravallis. The group consisting of people from all age groups and walks of life started with cleaning the forest and then went on to create art using twigs and leaves, followed by meditation and poetry recital,” said Anu PD from the Aravalli Bachao Citizens Movement.

Armed with bags and reusable gloves, the green soldiers cleared up many patches of the Aravallis littered with plastic and Styrofoam and helped restore the glory of the greens.

“As forest-lovers, it is painful to see people disrespecting our sacred spaces and treating them like open dustbins. Such clean up drives should be organized every week along with sensitisation towards the forest”, said Renuka, a young mother.

The nature loving citizens created beautiful artwork with the offerings of the forest. “We have created a home with branches and stones with a message to Save the Earth. The idea is that every action to save the planet starts at home”, said Yashaswi, one of the youngest creators of the artwork.

The fun activity was followed by a meditation session to thank the forest for all the life it supports. ” I feel like I am in a very tranquil place right now,” said Aarushi, a teenaged girl. “I was back to being a child and was climbing a tree. This is what I experienced when I had my eyes closed,”  were the words of Kenneth, a Gurgaon resident and lover of greens.

A young participant quizzed the crowd on their knowledge of the planet. It not only lent another fun element to the event but also enhanced the knowledge of those present.

The “Forest Friending Experience” ended with the participants sharing their poetic words and thoughts. “This planet is not only ours but a shared home with other living beings. Let us not destroy it for our sake and theirs,”  was the summation of a little girl Pearl’s ‘pearls of wisdom’.

The theme of Earth Day 2022 is “Invest in our planet”. People shared their views on how they are taking responsibility for their waste in their homes and communities, practicing sustainable living, reducing consumption and promoting conservation. A young 17-year-old girl Mitwah Nakra talked about how she and her mother have started using cloth pads as an eco-friendly alternative to single use, disposable menstrual pads available in the market. Puja Ahmed, a working professional shared her experience of making her home a zero-waste home by composting all the food waste and recycling the dry waste.

The event ended with a pledge by all present to save and protect our home. Our Planet. The Earth!

“For us, every day is Earth Day. We will keep bringing more and more people in the forest to connect them with the wild. Once people experience the magic and beauty of the Aravallis, they will want to raise their voice to save their forests and, in the process, become better Earthians,” said Jyoti Raghavan from the Aravalli Bachao Citizens Movement.  


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