Everybody is talking about water problems, plastic pollution, and leading the way to a sustainable future. But how many of us are really making an effort to make a difference?

This week, Social Story brings you stories about how these individuals and organisations are coming together to pave the way for a greener and better future – right from distributing seed pens to tourists, harvesting rainwater, and fighting against plastic pollution, to building animal shelters.

How this teen activist is giving a better life to animals

Eighteen-year-old Sai Vignesh from Chennai has befriended hundreds of animals since he was a child. His love for animals made him start the Almighty Animal Care Trust in 2017, an organisation that conducts animal rescues in an organised manner, and operated by like-minded volunteers.

Sai Vignesh with his rescue dogs

Over the last four years, Vignesh has rescued over 300 animals, including dogs, cats, birds and cows. He has had over 900 dogs vaccinated and sterilised, and found loving homes for over 200 stray puppies and kittens.

This resort in Gujarat is setting an example for rainwater harvesting

As India’s water problem increases year after year, there might be a situation where we may not even get a chance to resolve the issue. According to a report by NITI Aayog, at least 21 cities in India are expected to run out of groundwater by 2020.

The resort gets around 3.5 million litres of water through rainwater harvesting annually

Realising the gravity of the situation, ‘Goverdhan Greens’, a resort located in Dwarka, Gujarat, is showing us that if each of us takes responsibility, we can avert a grievous future. Started by Shitalkumar Bhatia in 2010, the resort is harvesting 3.5 million litres of water every year through rainwater harvesting, and is also following sustainable agricultural practices.

Mussoorie’s Wall of Hope is reminding us to fight against plastic pollution

Located at the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan range, Mussoorie has been a popular destination since the time the British ruled India. The Queen of Hills, known for its verdant greenery and peaceful ambience, is home to 30,000 people, and attracts more than three million tourists every year.

The Wall of Hope was unveiled in mid-June as part of the Hilldaari project that aims to raise awareness about plastic waste management.

The tourist influx and modern life have left the scenic town choking with plastic waste, be it bags, bottles, or other disposables. But the hill station and its people are fighting back. An unusual installation, titled the Wall of Hope, has been constructed using 15,000 plastic bottles near Mussoorie.

The 150-foot-long and 12-foot-high wall, located at Bunglow ki Kandi village, was unveiled in mid-June. The structure was built as a part of the Hilldaari project, which aims to increase awareness about plastic waste management and the importance of creating a plastic-free environment.

This startup is distributing seed pens in Odisha to promote eco-friendly living

Looking at the growing concern for the environment these days, the trend of adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle is fast catching up around the world.

Plantable pens made from old news papers (Image: NDTV)

Detour Odisha and Likhan, two Bhubaneswar based-startups, are embarking on just that. While Detour Odisha is focused on taking tourists on guided heritage trails across the city and distributing eco-friendly pens as souvenirs, Likhan manufactures the pens. Since the pens consist of a vegetable, fruit, or flower seed, they can be used and upcycled in a pot or soil.

Besides, the pens are made with little plastic – which is the refill, and the body is created from waste newspaper. Therefore, in comparison to regular pens that are made of 100 percent plastic, these have a meagre 10 percent plastic

Inde’ Loom is championing handloom sarees in India

Indian women reignited their love affair with sarees after two Bengaluru-based women started the #100SareePact in 2015. Since then, the spotlight has been shining particularly bright on the six-yard piece of apparel, particularly handloom sarees. However, the artisans who make these gorgeous sarees often end up being exploited by the middlemen, and are underpaid – at least 50 percent lesser than standard living wages. 

Inde’ Loom’s target audience comprises women who love slow fashion, handloom, and handmade products.

It was to solve this problem and ensure that artisans get their due that Sandhya Tholi and Suren Chowdhary started Hyderabad-based Inde’ Loom, a “maker-to-market” handloom collective. Keen to help “local go global”, the startup works with artisans and weavers across India to offer better hand crafted products to women shoppers globally. Along the way, they ensure that the makers earn a fair share in “safe working conditions”. 

(Edited by Megha Reddy)

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