Herald: Goa’s environment shepherds, Claude, Norma get Sanctuary Lifetime award
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Goa’s environment shepherds, Claude, Norma get Sanctuary Lifetime award

12 Dec 2015 07:18am IST

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Team Herald

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12 Dec 2015 07:18am IST

Report by
Team Herald

Sanctuary Magazine Awards, is the pinnacle of recognition for nature and environment conservationists of India; Called true heroes whose respect for nature could be held out as an inspiration to the youth of India

PANJIM: The green warrior couple against whom the Goa government has initiated a pre-determined attack, questioning their funding  and their patriotism, have been honoured with a Life Time Service award by Sanctuary Asia, one of the most respected wild life and nature conservation journals in the world and by far India’s premier publication in this space.

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar should read the citation which went with the award:

We were in search of a true hero – someone whose life’s purpose and respect for nature could be held out as an inspiration to the youth of India.

Claude and Norma Alvares Tireless activists, Environmentalists, Nature advocates.

Sanctuary Asia, wrote in the article which went with the announcement of the award for the year 2015: “The roaring personalities of husband-wife duo Claude and Norma Alvares epitomise the best of India’s seemingly shrinking intelligentsia. With their keen understanding of ecology, an incomparable commitment to environmental preservation, and laughing irreverence of the status quo, for 40 years the Alvares’ have adroitly shepherded Goa’s environmental movement. The implausible victories they have won along the way, many under the umbrella of the Goa Foundation, have been nothing short of monumental”.

Headed by the legendry wildlife  conservationist Bittu Sahgal, Sanctuary consists of conservationists, naturalists, photographers, writers and editors and its reach spans policy, advocacy, science, on-ground support, habitat management and more.

Detailing the journey of Claude and Norma Sanctuary wrote, “In 1987, they filed the first Public Interest Litigation in Goa for the cancellation of mining leases to extract sand from beaches; in 1992 they were prominent in the successful ‘rebellion’ against American chemical multinational Du Pont, forcing it to retreat; in 1998 the Goa Foundation was nominated to the State’s Coastal Zone Management Authority; and Claude to the Supreme Court’s Committee on Hazardous Wastes; in 1997 and 1998, through the People for Animals-Goa, of which they are founder trustees, they halted the barbarous practices of organised bull fights and dog shooting in Goa; in 2002, they commenced a unique project to rehabilitate a mining site; in 2012, they won a prodigious victory when the Supreme Court halted mining in Goa until it could be regulated on the basis of a writ petition filed by their foundation”.

Even as the awards were announced the Alvares’ couple are in the Supreme Court waiting for their decisive Writ Petitions and Special Leave Petitions against the manner in which mining leases were renewed violating the spirit of the Supreme Court judgment  of giving maximum benefit to the state from its minerals, and have regulated mining as opposed to half a decade of illegal mining.

So they are still at work doing exactly what Sanctuary stated in its conclusion, “Together, the Alvares’ have truly laid a foundation upon which generations of conscientious Indians can stake their environmental battles.

Hear, hear, Chief Minister Parsekar.

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