Purnima Devi Barman: "Conservation hero provides selfless service towards nature"

Purnima Devi Barman: "Conservation hero provides selfless service towards nature"

Purnima Devi Barman is a wildlife biologist from Assam, India. She is known for her conservation work with the greater adjutant stork (Leptoptilos dubius), known locally as the Hargila. She is the founder of the Hargila Army, an all-female conservation initiative. In 2017, Barman was the recipient of both the Whitley Award for her conservation efforts and the Nari Shakti Puraskar, the highest women-exclusive civilian award, presented by the President of India. Barman has also been honoured with the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) 2022 Champions of the Earth award in the Entrepreneurial Vision category. We talked to her about the term conservation hero and what does it mean to her.

1. What do the words ‘a conservation hero’ mean to you?

Purnima Devi Barman

A conservation hero can be defined by some characteristics like passion and commitment to bring positive changes; someone who not only talks about the need to protect the environment but also takes necessary actions to bring changes to life; having knowledge and understanding of environmental issues; the ability to encourage others to get involved in conservation and so on.

2. Who do you believe is a conservation hero?

Hargila Army

A conservation hero for me is anyone among us, our family, neighborhood, and community. Anyone who believes in coexistence in the ecosystem. Most importantly, a conservation hero is someone who provides selfless service towards nature and also at the same time inspires others to take action and promotes sustainable practices that ensure the health of our planet for the future generations. For example, the indigenous communities living around the world are conservation heroes in their own ways of bonding with Mother Nature. Not only this but conservation heroes come from all walks of life whose passion and commitment makes a difference.

Saving Greater Adjutant

3. Who is your conservation hero and why?

My grandmother is my conservation hero because she is the one who taught the five year old me about the kindness in nature. She also taught me about the interconnectedness in nature and the value of coexistence. She has installed in me a love and respect for nature and taught me to appreciate the beauty and importance in the natural world. She is also an inspiration to me in her own efforts to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Her knowledge and values influenced my own attitude towards the environment and my desire to protect it.

Hargila Army

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