Conservationist Prasad to be honoured on environment day



Kochi: India's noted ecologists and greens will gather here Wednesday to celebrate World Environment Day and honour renowned nature conservationist M.K. Prasad, who played a pioneering role in protecting the country's flora and fauna heritage over the decades.

"Prasad made environment meaningful to generations of citizens by voicing their concerns to the governments of the day. As a leading voice of the environmental brigade, he mobilised worldwide opinion to preserve the priceless tropical rain forest - the Silent Valley in Kerala during the 1970s," the event's chief organiser P.S. Easa told IANS.

Popularly known as MKP, the octogenarian served the Centre for Science and Environment and the Centre for Environment Education for over four decades.

He represented India on global flora including the UN-supported Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The annual event, held globally under the aegis of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to spread awareness on preserving the world's rich biodiversity, has 'Think-Eat-Save' as this year's theme to minimise food waste and food loss and "Think before you eat and save our environment" as the year's slogan.

"In view of the wide disparity in lifestyles and the resultant disturbing effects on the environment, the 2013 theme encourages all to become more aware of the environmental impact of food choices we make and empowers us to make informed decisions," the UNEP said ahead of the D-day.

The day-long national seminar on 'Environment and Society: The India Challenge' (ESTIC 2013) in this port city will also see experts deliberate on the rich heritage of flora and fauna and challenges arising out of global warming and climate change.

Among the green experts participating in the event are Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) director-general Sunitha Narain, Centre for Environmental Education director Kartikeya Sarabhai, WWF India's former chief executive Dilnavas Variava, Sanctuary Asia editor and veteran naturalist Bittu Sahgal and Western Ghats ecology expert panel chairman Madhva Gadgil.

"Successive governments found in Prasad a rare talent and spirited energy to undertake environmental action programmes that resulted in people-friendly initiatives by the governments," Easa recalled.

As a renaissance man, Prasad led institutions like the Information Kerala Mission where his touch for a layman's concerns resulted in a slew of grassroots initiatives by the central and state governments.

Former Supreme Court judge and constitutional expert Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer will release on the occasion a 'Festschrift', a collection of articles and essays on MKP and his yeoman contribution to the environment.

Published by IndiaTech Books and Media and edited by senior technology journalist Anand Parthasarathy, the compendium titled 'Environment & Society: The India Challenge' spells out challenges that confront the nation on environmental issues.

Established in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the first World Environment Day was celebrated in 1973 and is hosted every year by a different city.

India was the host of World Environment Day in 2011.

IANS