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We’re barely halfway into 2020, and it’s already been one of the hardest years for the planet in recent history, with bushfires, heatwaves, locust invasions, super cyclones and a global pandemic that’s brought people and countries to their knees. UN chief Antonio Guterres said that “nature is sending us a clear message. We are harming the natural world, to our own detriment.”World Environment Day, launched on 5 June, 1974, is the largest event to raise awareness about the need to increase protection of the Earth in the long term. This year’s theme was biodiversity protection, and it’s tagline, ‘Time for Nature’. With a million plant and animal species on the brink of extinction, global population explosion, toxic pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change, the delicate balance in nature has been disrupted, creating conditions for disease-causing microorganisms, like COVID-19 to spread.

The Himalayan quail, which was last reported seen in 1876, is believed to be extinct in Uttarakhand

At the Latika Roy Foundation, we believe it’s important to teach children about the environment and sustainability. We help our students and trainees learn about their surroundings, love and appreciate the outdoors, and care about protecting our planet. The picture in the banner above is of trainees from our Center for Vocational Training on a picnic in Lacchiwala forest during freer times.

One of Moy’s favorite things to do was get into her swimsuit and splash around in the river. Here she’s surveying her beautiful garden in the spring of 2016

Our history with Lacchiwala goes back a long, long way to when Moy was a baby and we had all of three kids and about five staff for them. The term ‘forest bathing’ wasn’t yet a thing but we’d all pile into whatever Vikram-auto/ Good Samaritan’s car we could find and head out to the river and woods every chance we could.

Sargam Mehra, guest speaker at our World Environment Day webinar, co-founded the heritage walks groups Been There Doon That, and co-author of Walking with Laata. A doctoral fellow at the School of Media and Communication Studies, Doon University, Sargam is passionate about our cultural heritage and environment

This Environment Day, we organized a webinar for our staff and kids on the wonders of our own Doon Valley. Sargam Mehra, our guest speaker, spoke about the natural diversity of our surroundings, our water bodies and how they’ve changed over the years, the wide variety of local birds and their calls, and the way plastic devastates all that’s beautiful and precious around us. Unless we all take action, the environment will suffer, and our future generations along with it.

One participant said she “absolutely loved Sargam’s session with the kids! It was so interactive, so friendly, and so, so informative!” We’re going to take that to mean it hit the right spot, and ask you to check back often — we plan to host many more fun events!

If you’re a disabled person, caregiver, educator or resource person who’d like to learn something new or share your expertise, let us know in the comments, and let’s see what we can work out together!

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