It took me a whole good three weeks to get my bearings right of the place and the good work my fellows and I were doing. I learnt mostly by observation and asking a million annoying questions.( Thank you to all who never lost their cool with me, you know who you are, *whispers quietly* thank you again.)
Within the first week, Lakshmi asked me to stay back after one of the morning meetings. I sat their wondering whether I had done something wrong, but that thought quietly went when Lakshmi went straight to the point.
She spoke about my smooth integration with the community, my involvement with the trekkers and that I understood the crux of the work we were doing. She seemed very positive about me when she further went on to add I should start working on my speech to give the trekkers. With that being said my heart skipped a beat, I gulped in a huge breath.
I decided to take on this challenge handson.
Within the few days I was there I learnt we have two types of speeches, the briefing which happened after dinner the evening the trekkers arrived and debriefs that occurred when the trekkers came back down from Roopkund.
One of the million things I loved about my work was meeting the trekkers. They were always a vibrant bunch of passionate individuals that looked forward to trekking in the Himalayas. They hailed from different parts of the country come together as a group for a week to trek Roopkund . They are typically briefed after dinner when their trek leaders introduces himself, the trek and the possible weather and medical conditions people will face on the slope. He also mentions the safety protocol that are set in place if there is an emergency.
After that is done, we fellows are given a platform to talk about Green Trails and the work we dand start learning from Leo who gave fabulously confident briefings and debriefings to the trekkers that arrived at the base camp. He spoke with such conviction the audience and I were left in awe.
At the briefin trekkers hailed from different parts of the country. We had doctors from Nashik, lawyers from Mumbai, software engineers from Bangalore
Green Trails was an initiative started by india hikes about 5 years ago to keep the mountains cleaner than we found them.
Do any of you know what is the major problem we face ?
Why you may ask?
It’s because trekking has been gaining tremendously popularity in India in the past 10 years as it has been looked upon as a vacation plan. It has brought more trekkers to the mountains. And with the increased amount of trekkers comes the ncreased amounts of waste. Now just how cities have a municapal corporation to deal with waste, the mountains does not have any exit. Hence the waste is either Burnt or throw into the landfill.
Now a company whoses sole existence is based on the mountains, we couldn’t bear to see this and hence we decided to do something.
We have come out with various iniatives to deal with the waste.
One way we deal with the waste is by bottle bricks, eco pillows, and by composting our own organic waste. We even have our very own solar panels and a rain water harvesting system.
Apart from that now .
You’ll understand the magnitude of the problem we face once you trek up . Till then we have some very strict Do’s and Don’t we expect you to follow on the trek
The first are
0. Before you start Trekking we’ll provide you an eco bag. Now this is not your day pack or sling bag to put your personal belonging. It will be used to pick waste you’ll see as you climb the mountain. So Trust me and avoid putting your cellphone into the bag since it’s seen a lot.
0. So on reaching your campsite, you will see segregation bins. I request you to dispose off your waste in the respective bins. If you have any doubts, you can ask your trek lead.
0. Another very important thing we do on this fellowship is segregation. Every day from from 7-8 we segregatecwaste in the morbing. We segregate our waste into organic,cardboard ,soft plastics and hard plastic. And sometimes/often we get waste we don’t know how to deal with one such example would be. sanitary pads. So I request you to put them in a ziplock bag and take this to the city, since the mountains don’t have an exit for this.
And as for the Don’t
0. As you be Trekking you’ll notice alot of water bodies. I request you not to bathe or pee next to it since the same water comes down to us and the various other villages use the same water for drinking purposes.
0. Also as you ascend further to higher altitudes campsites This is a request to all of you not to waste water. The reason being there is a shortage of water and the trek leaders and staff will have to walk 2-5km to bring water.
0. Okay now I’ll like to know How many maggie lovers in the house? I see alot of hands. Now for the next one week I expect you to not buy any packaged products from the dhaba’s. We have this ongoing battle with them, because we believe and economics agrees with us that demand equals to supply. Hence for the next week try out the various others options on the list and if you have any suggestion, we are happy to hear about it
0. I’m assuming a couple of you are carrying wet wipes. I request you to swap it with toilet papers. The reason being, the wet wipes contain chemicals and this is something we don’t know how to deal with and hehnce its sent to the landfill.
And before I end my speech I would like to say that I hope you take this as a responsibility and not as an obligation. Our aim is to keep the the mountains as clean as we found them today or better even cleaner. So take this as a challenge for yourself and for the environment.
Thanks you I hope you have a safe and awesome trek ahead
So as part of the Green trails fellowship ( https://thedelhigirlexplores.wordpress.com/2018/12/01/summer-after-graduation/ )
One of my responsibilities was to brief the trekkers about the initiative and what we expect them to do on the trail. While doing this, we show them, an eco bag. The eco bags are basically small fanny packs that go around your waist, and as you climb you could pick it. As Arjun Majumdar, the Founder of Indiahikes said, “it creates a vacuum effect and keeps the mountain clean.”
My first briefing was on 28 May 2018. I was enthusiastic. And it’s not an understatement how enthusiastic I was.
I legit forgot to introduce the main element in our Green Trail initiative. The Eco bag.
Now since I realised I told them about an eco bag without actually introducing it hence I turned behind to my other Green Trail fellow Leo. Without hesitating, he stepped forward, introduced himself, when he got interrupted by one of the trekkers.
The trekker told him to let me speak. They insisted I step in centre, they applauded again and I finished my mini-speech. 🙂
This was a rather embarrassing post to put up on my blog. The reason I did so was that Neil Gaiman knows what he is talking about!!!
“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”