Green Hub Center, Assam established in 2015 at Tezpur is all set for this year’s Green Hub Festival from 11th – 13th May 2018 at KBR Auditorium, Tezpur University and at the Green Hub Center. The Green Hub Festival aims to raise awareness, celebrate, debate and examine Wildlife, Environment and Biodiversity along with other critical developmental issues relevant to Northeast India. The Festival encourages myriad ways of seeing and understanding, as well as celebrating our natural heritage, besides examining the role we play in impacting our environment.
The three day festival includes panel discussions and presentations by experts, practitioners, organisations, filmmakers and representatives of the local communities, screening of films by GH Fellows and renowned filmmakers, sessions and art & filmmaking competitions for school students, music and more. The GH festival 2018 will be led by 60 Green Hub Fellows, over 20 local, regional and national partners, and over 50 environmentalists, filmmakers, musicians, artists and media persons. A central panel comprising key experts will share their learnings through invigorating discussions and dialogue on issues that are central to the environment and social development of the northeast. Existing and ongoing work and initiatives of individuals will also be acknowledged, recognized and highlighted. The Festival becomes both, a connecting point and a platform for networking for stakeholders from across the NER as well as from other parts of the country.
A fun, interactive session has been specially designed for school students and the young for the upcoming festival. This will include presentations on avenues in environmental field by well-known artists, authors, photographers and other experts. An Art and Filmmaking competition across schools was also held as part of our School Day Special which got an overwhelming response. The winners will be announced during the Fest.
In local partnerships with Schools, Colleges, Universities, Citizen Groups and Local Clubs as well as with Local Government Bodies and NGO’s, the Festival will reach out to a vast audience of varying ages. The Festival will be widely publicized via social and other media, our partners and supporters, as well as through the wider wildlife, environment and development network across the country.
The first two editions of the Green Hub Festival have been very well received as an event of value and contribution to the region and we look forward to the next edition in 2018 to be a huge success too!
Sessions at the Festival
School Day Special
Under two broad themes, ‘Call of the Wild’ and ‘Green Careers’, noted experts, artists, photographers and filmmakers will share their work and experiences. Some of the key speakers include Dr. Vijay Anand Ismavel (Founder, Mukunda Nature Club), Rituraj Phukan (Sec.General, Green Guard Nature Organisation) and Pooja Gupta (Illustrator). Winners of Art & FIlmmaking competitions held for school students will also be announced.
Sharing spaces: Human-Wildlife Conflict
Growing human population, fragmented wildlife habitats and increasing development projects has made human – wildlife conflict one of the key concerns across the country. Incidents of deaths and accidents of both humans and animals are on the rise. Every day there are stories of tigers outside protected areas, and elephants negotiating new spaces. How can these important species be protected while simultaneously supporting local communities? The session will discuss measures taken towards mitigation of HAC in the northeast region – from creating systems of co–existence to mainstreaming them into landscape planning.
Aliens in World Heritage Sites – a key concern in maintaining Outstanding Universal Values: UNESCO C2C World Heritage Center, Wildlife Institute of India (WII):
The biodiversity hotspot regions in India have the highest concentration of forest cover and include most of the protected areas. However, increasing biotic pressure, encroachment and linear infrastructure create a state of disequilibrium in the environmental conditions, making these areas vulnerable to biological invasion of alien species. The session will present the concerns and challenges in the control of invasive species in UNESCO’s Natural World Heritage Sites such as Keoladeo, Manas and Kaziranga.
Climate Change & Adaptation in Eastern Himalayas
Recognised globally as one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world that provides critical ecosystem services, the Himalayan ranges are also the lifeline of numerous remote and indigenous communities. Against the reality of climate change, the session will aim to bring together issues and strategies around biodiversity, water resources, indigenous systems and livelihoods, with regards to the Northeast Himalayas. Understanding water systems, the hydrological cycle and the impacts due to changes in climate will be a key aspect of the discussion.
A Hard Look: Child Rights in Northeast
With rampant rise in child trafficking and child abuse, the Northeast States are sadly in the forefront of child rights violation in the country. The challenges arise from a combination of its proneness to frequent natural disasters, long-running insurgency and conflict, distressed migration for livelihood and high unemployment. These have contributed to the region’s vulnerability to well-organized child traffic rackets and to the rise in the number of street children. The session will discuss ongoing and potential interventions and mechanisms for prevention, enforcement and rehabilitation of affected children.
Creating Bonds: Natural Resource Management and Farming School
Building young catalysts in the community is the keystone of sustainability. Reorienting young people to ecology and sustainable agriculture in the face of declining biodiversity, climate change, food and nutritional insecurity amongst others is the aim of ‘Summer Farm School’, an education programme of NEN Nagaland. The presentation will showcase how the programme reconnect the young people to their culture and natural resources including land, biodiversity, and seeds.
Securing Women in Public & Private Spaces
Women victims of violence experience various barriers in accessing justice, largely due to lack of implementation of laws, and more importantly because of the social construct of women and women’s issues. The session will focus on establishing alternate dispute resolution systems and the role of barefoot counsellors as mediators in rural set ups for securing woman in both public and private spaces.
Special Guests & Experts at the Festival
Dr AJT Johnsingh, Ecologist & Conservationist
A motivational speaker and a wildlife enthusiast, Dr. Johnsingh’s groundbreaking study of dholes or Asiatic wild dogs is the first one on a free-ranging large mammal in India. He is scientific advisor to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. After working at Wildlife Institute of India for almost two decades, he has been associated with Nature Conservation Foundation and WWF-India. He has represented IUCN in its Cat, Canid, Asian Elephant, Bear and Caprinae Specialist Groups. Presently he is a member of Uttarakhand State Wildlife Board. Dr. Johnsingh is a recipient of a number of distinguished awards including a Padma Shri.
Abhay Kumar Johari, PCCF (Biodiversity & Climate Change) & Member Secretary, ASBB
A Post-graduate in Botany & an M. Phil on ‘Forestry & Climate Change’, Mr.Johari joined the Indian Forest Service in 1986. Apart from holding important assignments with the Assam Forest Department, he has served Government of India as Faculty of Forestry, Director in the Ministry of Environment & Forest and as DIG Forestry Research & Training & Forest Protection. He was designated Country Focal Point for Forestry and Climate Change, Invasive Species Network and for the International Network for Bamboo & Rattan.
Dr. Vijay Anand Ismavel, Pediatric Surgeon & CEO Makunda Christian Hospital
Working in the hospital for the past 25 years, Dr Ismavel got inspired in biodiversity documentation and wildlife photography. He has authored 4 publications so far and is a prolific online documenter of biodiversity. He is the highest contributor of observations from the Northeast to the world’s largest citizen science naturalist site, iNaturalist. He started the Makunda Nature Club in 2015, with the aim to promote environmental awareness in schools, forest communities and local citizens.
Ulrike Reinhard, CEO, Janwaar Castle
A German publisher, author, digital nomad and futurist, Ulrike has a strong track record of community activism, building networks online and offline. She is best known for starting Janwaar Castle, a skatepark in Madhya Pradesh, in 2015. She also founded the Rural Changemakers of Janwaar in 2017. Ulrike will take us through her journey to a remote part of central India, and the journey of an entire village on the path towards progress using what essentially is a piece of wood fixed to a set of wheels.
Miguel Queah, Founder Chairman, UTSAH
One of the strongest crusaders of children’s rights in the region, Miguel established UTSAH for working across issues for uplifting marginalized communities through a participatory and rights-based approach. He was recognized for being an emerging influential Youth Leader of the Asia-Pacific & the Americas, by the Hawaii East West Center. Awarded the Acumen India Fellowship in 2017, Miguel is also a Member of the Child Protection Committee and the Child Labour Task Force Committee (Kamrup-M) of the Government of Assam.
Tongam Rina, Journalist
Tongam Rina, a young journalist from Arunachal Pradesh, who despite being shot twice and almost dying while working on some of the toughest assignments, continues to write against corruption and development projects like the super-hydro dams that are ravaging her state. She will tell us why threats haven’t deterred her from wielding the pen to raise issues that matter.
Aparajita Datta, Scientist, Eastern Himalayas
Aparajita has been involved in research and conservation in Arunachal Pradesh since 1995. A primary focus of her work has been on protecting hornbills. To encourage community participation in conservation activities, Aparajita and her team from Nature Conservation Foundation started the Hornbill Nest Adoption Program in the forests around Pakke Tiger Reserve, with the aim to implement conservation programs where good quality forests still exist outside Protected Areas.
Rohit Choudhury, Environmental Activist
Rohit believes in creatively using the provisions of the RTI Act and the National Green Tribunal, in protecting areas of vital ecological concern. Using a combination of these over the past decade, Rohit has highlighted several violations of law with respect to environment in Assam before the courts. He has been able to get significant decisions from the National Green Tribunal for the protection of the Kaziranga National Park, Manas Tiger Reserve and surrounding areas by implementing ‘No Development Zones’, exposing illegal expansion of highways and large-scale deaths of wild animals and ensuring protective steps on National Highway-37 to minimise road kills. In addition, Rohit assists communities in ensuring accountability and transparency in environmental governance.
Wekoweu Tsuhah or Akole as she is known as, is Programme Manager with North East Network. She is a women rights activist and a community development practitioner from Chizami village in Phek district of Nagaland. She has worked with North East Network (NEN) in the last 13 years and currently leads the NEN Nagaland Team. Akole has been actively engaged in organising women workers in the informal sector for their visibility and recognition of rights, building capacities of women and their collectives. As someone who advocates for biodiversity conservation, ecological food and farming systems, Akole will speak on the importance of reorienting young people to ecology and sustainable agriculture in the face of declining biodiversity, climate change, food and nutritional insecurity amongst others.
SPECIAL FILM SCREENING
SAVING THE SAVIOUR, Story of a Kid and Wular Lake (Kashmir)
Director: Jalal Ud Din Baba
After losing his father to a life threatening disease, Billa never saw life in its beautiful form. For him it was all about pain and responsibilities greater than his age. To support his family, he left school and scavenged the Wular lake (in daily for plastic and trash, which he sold to feed his family. It’s ironic how the plastic that pollutes and chokes the Wular turns into a savior for Billa. The film highlights the symbiotic relationship between Billa and Wular. Billa at his own level is protecting the Wular and in return getting his much needed earning. Miseries doubled for Billa in the fateful September 2014 floods which washed away the trash that was his livelihood. Billa and Wullar stand synonymous to each other, both living on nature’s mercy.
What Nile is to Egypt, Wular is to Kashmir. Billa’s Wular Lake is a world heritage wetland site under the Ramsar Convention charter of UNESCO. UNESCO serves as the depository for the convention. It is an intergovernmental treaty, which provides the framework for international cooperation for the conservation of wetland habitats, conservation thus becomes obligatory but Wular Lake is yet to see the light of day.
This Documentary Film has won numerous awards including the National Science Film Award (2016), Golden Beaver Award for Best Documentary Film, Special Environment Award by the United Nations, and CMS Vatavaran.