Assam’s two environmental writers and storytellers have been honoured with the ‘Hero of the Environment Award’ by Kavyavarsha.
Kavyavarsha is a global community Kavyavarsha is a global community formed by/for revolutionary youth writers, orators and activists that facilitates interactions between youth and eminent personalities digitally.
The recipients from Assam were Rituraj Phukan and Arghadeep Barua.
The awards were conferred on them for their “exemplary contribution for saving the environment” and being change-makers in the region of Northeast India.
They were honoured with the award and were felicitated in a digital event on Wednesday by chief guest Job Zachariah, Chief of UNICEF, Chhattisgarh and former director to MHRD, Government of India.
Kavyavarsha is a global community formed by/for revolutionary youth writers, orators and activists that facilitates interactions between youth and eminent personalities digitally.
Rituraj Phukan is an environmental writer, adventurer and naturalist, known as Assam’s global climate change ambassador.
He has been on expeditions to Antarctica and across the Arctic for first-hand experience of the impacts of climate change on the fragile ecosystems of these regions.
He was personally trained as a Climate Reality Leader by Nobel Laureate Al Gore and was featured in the former US Vice-President’s 2017 book ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’.
Phukan serves the Climate Reality Project India as the National Coordinator for Biodiversity and District Manager for Northeast India.
“Rituraj authored the chapter ‘Biodiversity in a warming world’ in the Amazon No. 1 Bestseller book ‘Climate Abandoned: We’re on the Endangered Species List’ which was first launched in the USA on Earth Day 2019,” Kavyavarsha wrote on its Facebook page.
He is also the Associate Editor of ‘Igniting Minds’, a magazine for the youth with an environmental focus and frequently writes in various newspapers and magazines in India and abroad.
Phukan has also featured in films, television, talk shows, podcasts, etc., in India and several other countries.
“He led a movement to promote water conservation and universal water access that resulted in the observance of World Water Day 2017 in every district of India, and the ‘Water Pledge’ being administered in over 100 countries and on all the 7 continents,” it added.
He is also one of the initiators of the ‘Hara Hai Toh Bhara Hai’ Green India Challenge, which has led to the planting of over 10 crore saplings and endorsement by leading sports, film, political and other celebrities across India.
Rituraj says: “Water is the local issue of global climate change, for people, and for biodiversity.”
Rituraj has delivered presentations and talks in Malaysia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, South Africa and Bangladesh, and participated in deliberations in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Denmark, Thailand and Turkey.
He is also a Member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and holds leadership positions in several international and national environmental groups.
Arghadeep Barua is a storyteller and at this point of time his primary medium of storytelling is music, films and acting.
His diversified interests include vocalist at BOTTLE ROCKETS INDIA (@rockets.bottle.india), editing, acting, community building, music, filmmaking and cinematography.
Also read: ‘Aamis’: An emotionally moving film
“Apart from doing live shows and making music, @rockets.bottle.india as a band is involved in many social and environment related work from raising voice for coal mining in Dehing Patkai to raise funds for Assam floods victims,” Kavyavarsha said on its Facebook page.
Currently, the band is working on a song to spread awareness on animal welfare and Bramhaputra clean up drives.
They have also worked with indigenous communities of Arunachal Pradesh and made a song with them.
“A Green Hub fellow, during his fellowship he worked with Ashoka trust for research in ecology and environment and made 9 short documentaries on the efforts in the Eastern Himalayan landscape,” it said.
He made short introductory film for Assam Biodiversity portal.
He assisted in the multiple award winning film India’s healing forest with Nitin Das, the film talks about the healing power of forests.
Barua worked as cinematographer for national award winning filmmaker Aparna Sanyal in her film on Palliative care, ‘One Mustard Seed’.
Barua currently is doing a fellowship with Anahad foundation and working on a documentary on folk music of Uttar Pradesh.
He acted in the Assamese feature film ‘AAMIS, THE RAVENING’ (2019).
Barua starred as Simon. The film was premiered in the prestigious Tribeca Film festival.
The other films, where he acted include – Guwahati Diaries (2020) – starred as Rohit. The film is in its post-production stage.
He has also worked in various short films and music video including The Error (not yet released); Kinnar, Tears of Rain (working title), which is in post-production and many others.