Gangtok: Balipara foundation, a conservation incubator with experiments in ecological protection and restoration of the Eastern Himalayan Region, recently organized the first Regional Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics Forum at Barad Sadan of Sikkim University in Gangtok.
The Sikkim Chapter of the foundation was on the theme of “Community, Conservation and Livelihoods: The Lepcha Community”. The event had the attendance of the co-founder and managing member of the foundation, Prabir Banerjea along with editor of Sikkim Express Amit Patro, a recipient of Green Journalist Award from the foundation in 2017.
The event organized by the conservation forum witnessed a large participation of students from Sikkim University with a host of eminent speakers from diverse field who spoke on various issues related to the topic.
Sawa Lhamu, a hospital trainer; assistant professor in structural geology and geotectonics of NMIMS University, Sunayana Sarkar; a Darjeeling-based filmmaker, Minket Lepcha; officer on special duty for Primitive Tribe Welfare Board and Administrative Officer in Tribal Research Institute, TT Lepcha among others were some of the eminent speakers.
The discourses made were on topics such as “an insight into the lives of the Lepcha Community; history, tradition, folklore, connection with nature, challenges and threats’ along with ‘Cross Vertical Engagement for the Lepcha Community”.
The event also included the launch of The Great Global Cleanup Programme in the mountains by Neela Majumdar of Earth Day Netwrok along with film screening of 22-minute short film Voice of Teesta with Director Minket Lepcha on the River Teesta.
Co-founder of Balipara Foundation, Prabir Banerjea asserted on the fragility of Lepcha community. Addressing on the occasion, Banerjea expressed that Lepcha community who are getting endangered owes a huge amount of folklore and they are supposed to be one of finest weather forecasters in the world. There connection with nature is very deep; the endeavour is to take knowledge base to the world on how we can use our natural assets for the entire ecological civilization.
“It is a natural progression of expanding our footprints of understanding the values that local communities begin in this moment of strife where our planet is really going through a tough time,” Banerjea added
The foundation was also all praised with regards to the organic movement initiated in the state of Sikkim.
“Organic Sikkim is helping in improvement of soil, water, food security of the state as it has been statistically, historically and significantly proved that when one go organic the soil health improves that and it protects everything starting with the well-being of the human being,” the managing director of Balipara Foundation expressed.
Around 50,000 members of the Lepcha tribe live in the tiny Indian state of Sikkim that lies in the heart of the Himalayas between Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.
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