A resident of Chennai, Arun Krishnamurthy is the quintessential face of India’s active environmental community. 14 states, 93 lakes in the last 12 years, EFI has truly been a testimony to the fact that you can be the change that you wish to see. He has sent aloud and clear the message of pertinent environmental issues, involved all age-groups and gathered much admiration in the process.
This Indian environmental activist initiated the campaign of cleaning various lakes across India. Passionate about the environment, Mr. Arun, Founder of the Environmentalist Foundation of India, embarked on a journey to read about the wildlife and habitat through fieldwork.
He worked in Google before he started on his environmental journey. Speaking of the many awards and accolades, he was chosen among the five people for the prestigious Rolex Awards for the Enterprise award in 2012 for scientific lake restoration in Chennai. In a conversation with Chennai Insider, Arun shares more insights about himself and EFI.
Tell us about yourself? How did you develop an interest in preserving the environment?
I am from a typical, Indian-middle class background. Grew up in suburban Chennai at Mudichur. The natural environment near my house truly motivated me to care for all life forms. It taught me important life lessons on living in harmony with nature. Being an environmentalist ain’t so difficult, every human being needs to be environmentally sensitive.
Upon quitting your full-time job at Google, were you nervous for a new start?
A bit anxious, but have always been confident about wanting to do things on my own. My needs are limited and I am content, hence have never let any social pressure get to me.
How do you fund your foundation?
Through CSR project-based contribution from companies, we fund our restoration efforts.
Did you have the roadmap very clearly laid down before you quit or decided to take it as it comes?
Real-time, result-oriented conservation project has been the clear goal we have always traveled towards.
Elaborate on a challenge and how are you overcoming it?
Convincing fellow human beings to understand the need for conservation has always been a challenge. Whether its the Keezhkattalai Lake in Chennai or the Gangaram Cheruvu in Hyderabad, reviving these water bodies has always been a challenge. We still have not been able to make progress despite it being 6 years since we started. We are hopeful that one day we shall see the day of light with regards to such lakes.
As an environmentalist, what area are you most concerned about?
We always assume that it is somebody else’s responsibility to work for the environment as the rest of us can pollute.
According to you are people now more aware and concerned and helpful in environmental conservation?
People are more concerned, but participation is taking time. It is changing for the good faster than before.
How do you feel when some don’t cooperate and re-litter the cleaned places?
Cannot let such circumstances demotivate us, else could never be in this field.
What did you envision for EFI when you started it?
To deliver results and just work non stop for India’s environment.
What is the current focus for EFI?
EFI’s focus always has and will be to volunteer for India & her Environment.
Any message you wish to pass on for the readers?
To explore their city, understand its environment and dedicate time to voluntarily protect what is left. In our democracy, our participation will make us achieve social goals.
Know a great story or want to tell us your own?
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