Chipko: India’s tree-hugging women

Chipko: India’s tree-hugging women

By BBC World Service

Witness History

Tuesday, 3 August

The 1970s were a time of rapid development in the Indian Himalayas. New roads had recently been built, allowing logging companies greater access to the region’s vast, remote forests. Local people made a subsistence livelihood from these woods, and when the trees were cut down they endured erosion, poor farming conditions and catastrophic floods. A resistance movement was formed, named Chipko – Hindi for ‘hugging’ – after its trademark protest tactic of embracing the trees. Many of its first organisers were women. Environmentalist and ecological activist, Dr Vandana Shiva was a young student when she first learnt about Chipko. She tells Viv Jones how she was inspired to volunteer for the movement. (Photo by Bhawan Singh/ The India Today Group via Getty Images)
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