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Today: June 23, 2024

Cultivating Environmental Awareness Through the Prakriti Initiative

Biodiversity and environmental preservation should not be exclusive discussions for the privileged elite or the retired critics who often mock the common people for their lack of awareness. While it’s commendable when individuals contribute to environmental efforts, it’s unjust to deride those who, due to lack of education or different priorities, are unaware of their environmental impact. For those who can afford extensive land, expensive plants, and membership in exclusive clubs where they discuss sustainability, their efforts are certainly appreciated. However, it’s essential to recognize that the true measure of impact goes beyond affluence and includes fostering a broader sensitivity towards the environment, especially among the younger generation. This is where initiatives like the Prakriti Initiative of Journey to Roots come into play.

A Personal Journey to Environmental Advocacy

Atmiye, a young dynamic activist who first thought of starting nature walks in Agra, was motivated by the relentless mockery of those around her, who destroy nature without understanding its value. Growing up next to one of Agra’s last jungles near Circuit House, Atmiye’s childhood was steeped in the presence of trees, butterflies, insects, and birds. Though unfamiliar with their names, the natural world left a lasting impression on her.

When Atmiye first proposed nature walks in Agra, she was met with ridicule. “Agra and jungle? Where will you go, Keetham? Only couples go there, and it’s so dirty,” they said. Others mocked her by suggesting she explore the jungle behind her house, a place deemed dangerous and frequented by less privileged people collecting firewood. Her mother often warned of snakes and scorpions in the jungle, dangers they encountered when these creatures invaded their home.

A transformative experience came in 2012 when Atmiye explored the Kumaun region in Uttarakhand and met a birdwatcher who could identify birds by their chirps. This encounter deepened her fascination for nature.

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The Birth of the Prakriti Initiative

Despite the mockery and challenges, the Prakriti Initiative flourished. Journey to Roots, through this initiative, aims to make nature accessible to common people and ignite a passion for environmental stewardship in the younger generation. These nature walks are not just about exploring Agra’s remaining natural habitats but about fostering a connection to the environment that many have lost.

In an urban city that has lost 70% of its forest cover, reconnecting people with nature is vital. The nature walks help participants rediscover the beauty and importance of local biodiversity. Over the last five years, more than 600 people have joined these walks, gaining insights into sustainability and environmental preservation.

Cultivating Environmental Awareness

The Prakriti Initiative is designed for individuals who, like young Atmiye, pass by nature without being fully aware of it. Participants in these walks often experience a sense of awe as they learn about the flora and fauna in Agra’s common gardens. This mission is to create awareness among people from all backgrounds, including students and the privileged who often opt for non-native species in their gardens. It’s crucial for today’s children to know more about nature than brand logos if we are to preserve our existence on Earth.

Call to Action: Join the Movement

This World Environment Day, Journey to Roots invites everyone to join hands in saving biodiversity. Participate in regular nature walks and environmental preservation programs. Contribute by sharing our work and encouraging others to join our mission.

Atmiye shares, “I can live in silence in the jungle because that’s what I did as a child and during my first visit. The jungle brings a profound sense of peace and quiet within me. However, this mission is crucial because Agra has lost much of its natural heritage. While a few intellectuals are making efforts, it is imperative that thousands more become aware of this cause. I want to evoke the same feelings in people that I experienced in the jungle, so they can form a deep, experiential connection with nature just as I did.”

The Prakriti Initiative is not merely a program but a movement aimed at cultivating a community of environmentally conscious individuals. By making nature accessible and educating people about the local ecosystem, we aspire to foster a generation that values and actively contributes to environmental preservation. Join Journey to Roots and be part of this transformative journey to reconnect with and protect our natural world.


Today, we face significant challenges. We often feel like we are working for a society still caught up in the routine, oblivious to the pressing need for environmental action. Some individuals seek the limelight for their contributions to nature, feeling overshadowed when recognition eludes them. Our mission, however, is not about seeking attention but about raising awareness.

The unique concept of jungle walks naturally gained popularity, and while I regret that some contributors were not recognized, our organization has always honored their efforts. Unfortunately, some of these individuals resent seeing younger people like us in their domain, possibly because we lack their depth of knowledge. Yet, we excel in organizing impactful programs, and by uniting our strengths, Agra could greatly benefit. But whether it is pride or something else, we often face resistance.

Moreover, we continually struggle to find dedicated volunteers. It’s disheartening, but we remain steadfast in our commitment to making a difference. Together, we can overcome these obstacles and foster a thriving, environmentally conscious community.

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