Wednesday, August 17, 2011

1am Hoilday Musings from a Swedish Couch

At exactly 12.54am, I'm laying down all by myself in a couch that belongs to a close friend and feeling very content with myself. My day is over and soon sleep will come. As I listen to some happy sami tunes, I'm thinking of what I did today. My day was filled with late breakfasts, great skype calls with overseas friends, some warm hugs, and long conversations over tea, dinner and late night fickas. This is exactly what vacations are all about.

Its soon going to be over 10 years that I've been visiting Sweden, a place I fondly call my second home. A lot of people ask why I return over and over again, and I don't have all the answers, but I think I'm here because this is a place for me to relax and unwind. I've got a lot of people that I can call friends, and that's important too.

Most people here don't judge you. It's nice when people accept you for what you are. And while cultures and viewpoints differ, it makes interesting conversations. And its not just friends, but the silence and beauty of the country. Not knowing the local language can be an advantage sometimes as you can disconnect from everything around you and be in your own world, even if you are among many.

It's time for bed, and I shall rant on another day... goodnight!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Black Majik and Disappearing Tigers

The Tiger Killing should not be forgotten, and those that are guilty need to be punished as this incident is linked to a number of human versus animal conflicts in Goa says Clinton Vaz

On a late Monday evening, I sat down with some friends at a Panjim cafe to unwind. Coming from wildlife circles, it was but natural to talk about recent wildlife activities, such as the Frog Campaign that is underway, however, we soon started to talk about the tiger that was killed in Keri recently.

Goa might have now acquired a reputation for mysterious and unsolved murder cases with the Scarlet, Mahaanand and Russian cases; however, it's not the police investigating the tiger murder, but the Goa Forest Department. And from what I’ve followed in the press, the investigating team is working in the right direction, having detained 4 people already. But let's not focus on the Forest Department as they need to investigate on their own. What about the village that was involved? What about the tiger?

There are many wrongs that have to be righted. It now appears that human versus animal conflicts are becoming more common in the hinterland of Goa. An increasing population over the years, destruction of forested areas for the purpose of planting orchards and plantations are already causing habitat reduction to the wild animals in the state. Making matters worse for predating wild animals, is the illegal poaching that goes on rampantly on the fringes of Goa's forests. Poaching of prey-base animals like the barking deer and sambar have only worsened the human versus animal conflicts. Take just this current month of May as an example:

On the 7th of May, wild elephants strayed into the villages of Vadaval and Amthane in Bicholim, destroying cashew plantations and paddy fields. The very next day, the 8th of May, two wild elephants destroyed farm and plantation property in another village, Alorna. Then on 12th of May, a Vasco based doctor came in close contact with a 4-foot leopard that grazed his vehicle as it strayed across the airport highway. On the 14th of May, a Malabar Giant Squirrel that was injured by a gun shot strayed into a plantation in Soliye hamlet at Honda- Sattari. The animal was rescued and rehabilitated by the Animal Rescue Squad (ARS). However, the most shocking incident occurred on 19th of May, when Uday Devgo a 40 year of resident of Dhave in Sattari was attacked by a Spotted Leopard as he got out of his home to rescue his dog being attacked by the same leopard. There probably were many more human-animal conflicts that were not reported in the press as well.

While driving out the elephants and trapping and translocation of the big cats offer temporary solutions, the long term solution to prevent such instances is to have a healthy forest, with enough prey-base for the animals not to stay out in hunger and desperation. At one such recent human-animal conflict site, Amrut Singh from the ARS appealed to the villagers that trapping the troublesome Leopard was no solution. Instead, he suggested, stop the killings of prey-base animals like the Sambar Deer, Mouse Deer, Wild Boar, etc. that are now routine happenings in Goa’s hinterland.

Many people residing in the villages that dot fringes of forest sanctuaries routinely set traps and hunt animals with illegal guns. The possession of illegal firearms for the purpose of hunting is rampant in the hinterland of Goa. Something needs to be done about this. However, most of the animals caught are not shot, but trapped instead. Using snares such as wire traps, they ensure that the animal is kept alive until the hunter arrives at the trap site (to keep the meat fresh).

I have also heard of trappers that are so cold blooded that once they have confirmed that they have an animal caught in their traps, they break the legs of the live animal to immobilize it and then go into town looking for orders for the meat. Once getting orders, and taking an advance, they return to slaughter the animal, making sure it's alive till the last bit to ensure the meat is fresh. This just shows how some of us have degenerated into cruel beings with a complete disregard for life.

Getting back to the tiger killing, facts are also established that the tiger killed was killed in Sattari, Goa and not Dandeli in Karnataka as claimed earlier. It now appears that these tiger was grievously injured after accidentally stepping into a wire trap laid by the villagers for a deer. As the tiger was of no use to the villagers, it was then shot in cold blood with many eyewitnesses, one who actually photographed the incident. Fortunately for wildlife protection enthusiasts, it was this photograph that got the skeletons tumbling out of the wardrobe.

It’s now openly known that the Majik families are the main culprits of the crime. Gopal Majik, a known poacher has been arrested before killing animals in the past. Apparently that did not dissuade him from stopping the killings. 3 others have also been arrested for active involvement in killing the tiger.

The Majik family has since then been frantic in trying to mislead and intimidate the forest department into withdrawing investigations. Evidence such as the carcass of the tiger, was hurriedly disposed at an unknown location to hide the evidence once the picture surfaced into the public domain. Similarly, other items used to record the crime have also disappeared. During interrogations, their statements keep changing, causing investigations to slow down.

Their latest ploy to get admitted into hospital appears to be a trend borrowed from Goan politicians that appear to have health problems just before they would be placed under arrest. Suryakant Majik and others that have got themselves admitted at GMC, called for a pres conference accusing the forest department staff of assaulting them. However, while they claim they have got themselves hospitalized due to injuries caused by slaps, kicks and sticks, it’s strange that the doctor’s report does not speak of any injuries on their bodies.

It’s time that people learn to respect our forests and the wild animals within. Illegal hunting of these animals has gone on without any hindrance for a long time, and now once caught; villagers appear shocked about the repercussions of their illegal activities. Perhaps education and awareness work done by wildlife activist Rajendra Kerkar and his Vivekananda Environmental Awareness Brigade (VEAB) members on the problems illegal hunting causes will help reduce their self inflicted problems.

Clinton Vaz, 28 lives in Benaulim and works on environment and wildlife issues in Goa. He can be contacted at or +91 9890936828 This article appeared in the Goan Local Daily Gomantak Times on Friday, 29th April 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Preparing for the Monsoons

The monsoons should arrive soon. Clinton Vaz suggests a few pre-monsoon tips to keeping your compost and recycling going through this monsoon season

Yesterday morning, as I woke up and stepped out to get the papers, I felt some tiny drops on me, and then the smell of wet earth. The unmistakable smell of the arriving monsoon. Now this is a typical Goa smell that one can smell only at the start of the monsoons, especially in the villages.

At this time of the year, everybody is busy preparing for the monsoons, a season of rainfall that could last for the next 4-5 months. Heavy rainfall can be paralyzing. The heaviest showers could be worse than standing under a shower, as the size and speed of the rain drops are sure enough to wet you to the bone in 10 second’s flat! But life in Goa still goes on, people get to work on time (mostly), houses leak a little, people still visit friends and the only change around is the raincoats and umbrellas that everybody carries.

But right now, in May, everybody’s busy getting roofs waterproofed, clay tiles replaced, and roofs ‘stitched’. Clothes lines are being restrung within homes and car wipers being fixed for the arriving rain. Similarly, you need to get a few things done for your composting and recycling too.

Harvest your Compost
Its harvest season folks! Try and harvest all the compost that you can over the next weekend! Drying compost in the monsoon is tricky, so dig deep and extract all the ready compost that you can from your composting unit. This freshly removed compost needs to be sun-dried before it’s sieved, so use the last few sunny days for that. Compost that’s sieved may be kept out in the rain, but a lot of its nutrient value would get leached away with the rain. Therefore, placing a plastic sheet over and under the pile would be a good idea. However, packing up your compost in sacks and storing it in a shaded area would be a better idea if you have the space.

Preparing for Monsoon Composting!
Composting in the monsoon is slightly different, especially in the peak of the monsoons, because of the high moisture content in the air. Too much moisture is not desirable as it extends the time required for composting to occur. Make sure that your compost bin has a waterproof roof above it. If that’s not possible, you could place a lid over the bin to reduce the direct impact of rain. You might also need side walls installed if your composting station exists in an open area. Look out for the direction in witch the rain comes from and place your anti-rain defenses in that way. The pre-monsoon showers would test your defenses, and you could make minor adjustments before the actual monsoons arrive.

Within the actual compost bin, you need a constant supply of dry absorbent material like leaves, or saw-dust to absorb the liquid matter from kitchen wet waste. This also helps balance the CN ratio. Since it is difficult to find dry leaves in the monsoons, you could stockpile dry leaves for the monsoons (for at least a couple of months) in a dry storage area. Pack your leaves in a gunny sack and then use it for the monsoons. In case you can’t do this, replace your leaves with bits of waste paper as your dry absorbent material during the monsoon season.

Make sure that your compost bin has good drainage. Excess moisture has to be drained away, so test this by pouring a bucketful of water and make the necessary adjustments. If your bin has a lower leachate collection unit, then make sure that the openings are not blocked and that you remember to empty the excess liquid at more frequent intervals once the rains arrive.

Recycling & the Monsoons
Make sure that your current stockpile of recycled materials is emptied at the recyclers. Unless you have waterproof containers, make sure that you move all your recycling bins to a dry area. Recyclable waste categories like paper, and cardboard tend to absorb moisture and gain weight. This means that these items simply weigh more than their actual weight. To compensate for this extra weight, recyclers often offer lower than usual rates for these items in the monsoons.

Plastic, Metal and Glass containers, and rubber tyres that are kept facing upwards collect rainwater and then encourage mosquitoes to breed, thereby increasing the chances for spread of vector borne diseases. To avoid this from happening, it would be a good idea to walk around your house, and around your garden and collect all your recyclable waste and place it in one area and make sure it gets recycled before the rains arrive.

Once you have done all this, you can grab and armchair, and put up your feet and enjoy the rain… or the afternoon breeze with a mancurad mango, until the rains arrive!

Clinton Vaz, 28 lives in Benaulim and works on environment and wildlife issues in Goa. He can be contacted at or +91 9890936828 This article appeared on Gomantak Times, 22nd May 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Improving Recycling Systems in Goa

Can we have a state of the art recycling system in Goa that functions locally without too much of effort. Yes, it’s possible and we can start right now says Clinton Vaz.

A few weeks ago, a friend diagnosed me as a person with an abnormal fixation on garbage. Now while that probably does not seem too appealing for one's self image, at a time like this, we need more and more people that get fixated on garbage... in a positive way.

It's not that bad really, if one actually looks at the things we've been upto. Improper waste management is a burning issue, and it's directly linked to climate change. In December this year, decision makers of the entire world will travel to Copenhagen to discuss ways in which the world can live better, and cause less harm. Globally, it’s a lot of promises to be made, and a lot of actions that need to be done too. A lot of people think, and I agree with them that this meeting at Copenhagen, might be one of our last chances to make a significant impact to combat climate change. Being that change is not difficult, starting is. Start in whatever small way you can. I'm sure you could think of a few ideas that you could implement already.

So going back to some interesting things that we've been involved with in waste, there's much to write about. This fixation's caused me to learn that Plastic PET bottles actually get converted into t-shirts, when recycled. Did you know that TetraPak Cartons become roofing sheets, and used plastic bags become trendy handbags after a conversion process? It’s also nice to see my neighbours in Cuncolim come up to my durig (compound wall), and curiously bend over to glimpse Babuni, our handyman and me sieve our harvested compost last week. 'It looks just like tea powder' said one and the other could not believe that we harvested 80kgs of compost from two small composting bins.

Yesterday, and today, I've been working on the final bits of some recycling labels specially designed for goa. This is going to be something new, and take recycling in Goa to a new level.

The thing is that if we are sincerely concerned and want to recycle our waste, today all we can do is separate our waste into wet and dry. In some cities like Panjim, this separated dry waste actually gets collected and recycled. However, the success of Panjim’s recycling is because waste is collected at source, door to door. If we actually put wet and dry bins on the street, it would never work, not with the people we live with. Mixing waste is not an Indian thing however, it's worldwide. In Portugal and Sweden, some streets and malls had bins with 3 or 4 separate waste compartments; however, most of them were mixed. What is needed however is awareness for proper separation, and until that comes, door to door seems to be the only way to ensure that properly separated waste can be collected for further processing.

If one wants to go a step further, its' possible to separate the dry waste into further categories of plastics, metal, glass and so on, but we often find it difficult to find people that recycle all those items.

Imagine if there was a system where you would take your waste to a central point, where you put all your dry waste into 8-10 separate categories of recyclable items. To make it convenient, each of these bins are colour coded, have a category name and sketches of the right items to go into each of the labeled bins. If you still get confused, a courteous staff comes by to help you separate this waste into the appropriate bin. There’s no need to worry about the contents of the bins being mixed, as the bins would be always manned and within a gated structure that accepts dry waste only during office hours.

Waste that’s pre-separated would directly go to recycling industries, ensuring that more than 75% of the dry waste entering the facility is recycled. Ofcouse, there’s always going to be a bin for items that can’t currently be recycled.

And the cherry at the top of it all? You get paid for your efforts. Your waste, after duly weighing and separating into each of the category has specific monetary values. A chart, displaying the recycling rates for each of the bins, would be displayed and the courteous staff would reimburse you the value of the items there and then.

This could also be replicated closer to peoples home, but slightly differently at housing colonies that want to make a difference.

Situated within a housing colony, the labeled but unmanned bins are locked, and only have access for waste to be put in and not taken out. To ensure bins do not receive mixed waste, the bins have appropriate openings, for example, the bin receiving paper would have a mail box-like slot opening. The PET bottle bin would have a round opening to ensure that only bottles enter. Once filled, or once a week, a recycler comes by to pick each of the recyclable fractions, paying the society the refund values of each of the bins. The local municipality would only need to come by once a week and pick up and empty the bin containing the non recyclable items.

Such a system might seem unbelievable here in Goa, but I believe that we are ready for such facilities are certain areas. In fact, this kind of system is already in existence in 4 different sites, and I’d be more than glad to show readers the workings of it. Interested? Let me know! In the meantime, I’m getting back to working on the final touches to the labels.

Clinton Vaz, 28 lives in Benaulim and works on environment and wildlife issues in Goa. He can be contacted at or +91 9890936828 This article appeared on Gomantak Times, 15th May 2009

Friday, May 08, 2009

Reducing Wasteful Consumption and Consumerism

While I was rambling over the internet, I recently came across and read an article titled ‘Consumption dwarfs Population’ by Fred Pierce. What was most interesting about the article was that it looked at over-consumption as the main problem for the scarcity of resources in the world, not the growing population. This is an interesting change of view that has come from the west.

I’ve been concerned about the trend of over-consumption for some years now. In the late 1990s there was an advertisement on Star TV, which had plastic bags falling from the sky, burying the people that had their hands up in the air, asking for some more bags. Yes, plastics are a menace, but we can’t ban them altogether. It’s not that simple. The real cause of all the plastic management problems is not the plastic bag itself, but actually, over-consumption and bad civic sense that are both caused by us citizens.

And that’s not easy to sort out, and perhaps that’s why the western countries have not addressed that problem seriously. And now look at what’s happened to them. An average American currently generates 5 kgs of waste per person per day. In Europe, that figure is about 3.5kgs per person per day. Now compare those figures to half a kg per person in Goan cities, and 300 gms or less per person in Goan villages. The difference comes in the picture when we look at the way people consume resources.

Yesterday, when I stepped out for a tea with some friends in Margao, I realized that the takeaway tea was in a plastic throwaway cup. Bad enough, but then I recalled myself having a tea 2 months ago in distant Europe. While traveling overland from one end of Europe to the other, one goes trough lots of cups of tea, especially if you are hitchhiking in the cold from Sweden to Portugal. Most of my takeaway teas consisted of the following items:
A Paper Cup
A Plastic Lid for the Cup
A Plastic Straw
A Plastic Stirrer
One Tea Bag
Two Sugar Sachets
One Milk Sachets
At least 2-3 paper napkins.

As a result of all of this, each time I sipped some tea, I would end up producing 300-400gms of waste!! That defiantly does not make sense at all! The trend however, is to replicate this wasteful consumption of resources here in India too. We better realize this soon, or else, we too would be responsible for generating increasing loads of waste per person per day!!

What if we don’t? Let’s do the math. Assuming Panjim’s population is 60,000 persons that live there permanently and about 40,000 visits the city, each generating an average of half kg per day. That works out to 50 tonnes of waste per day. If we start living the western way, Panjim would then have to deal with 500 tonnes of garbage per day. That’s 4 times the garbage the whole of Goa generates!

In the recycling world, the 3 R’s (Reduce Reuse and Recycle) is often mentioned, however, practically speaking, it’s usually only the last R, Recycling that we practice. What about Reduce and Reuse? Do we actually make an effort to practice reducing our need for resources? Do we reuse items to the maximum extent of their lives? Probably not. In fact, we seem to follow the western trends of doing exactly the opposite. We upgrade our mobile phones, computers, motorbikes and TV sets though they are in perfect running condition. At times, upgrading might seem senseless as we don’t really use all the features of the upgraded product.

In today’s world, the word’s ‘disposable’ and ‘use-and-throw’, only ought to be categorized as bad-words, as they encourage wasteful consumerism, in a world that’s rapidly running out of resources. You don’t have to go radical and change the world right away. Start small, and make a few decisions to reduce your unnecessary consumption patterns, but start today.

Tips to reduce plastic bags: Refuse plastic bags every time you are offered one. You will notice that there are lots of instances where you don’t need one anyway. Skitter, a friend says she always keeps a couple of cloth bags in her car in case she needs a bag. You could do the same. In case you have to really use a bag (for items like fish, or meat), wash and clean the bag at home and make sure it is recycled. There are lots of recyclers all over Goa that will recycle clean plastic bags and pay you for it too.

Clinton Vaz, 28 lives in Benaulim and works on environment and wildlife issues in Goa. He can be contacted at or +91 9890936828 This article appeared on Gomantak Times, 8th May 2009

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Why Save A Frog?

A few reasons and some important information for those that think frogs are not threatened and not on the decline..

Last week we celebrated the international 'Save the Frog' day. In the south of Goa, volunteers from the Goacan network stood in the city centre with sandwich boards and passed on useful info-slips, educating passing citizens that frogs needed to be protected and that it was against the law to eat frog meat. In the north of Goa, Nirmal Kulkarni, Roopa Bandekar and Rajiv D'Silva organized an evening that focused on frogs. The event had a photo exhibition of frogs of Goa, messages from students taking part in the campaign, an informative presentation and finally a Frog Quiz that everybody took part in. All of this marked the beginning of a volunteer driven campaign that will continue through May and June this year.

Now while we rave and rant about the need for people to stop eating frogs, and that they ought to be protected, there are quite a lot of people out there that are still not convinced. In the last few days, I've been occasionally asked these familiar questions... "There's so many issues in Goa, and you want to add frogs to that too?" asked a passerby in Margao. "On what basis do you say that frogs are declining, if you have no hard data?" asked an editor recently. '(Eating) Frog-legs is part of 'Goan Culture', so why stop it? Asked a school friend. Why can't I eat frog legs, if I get it from farmed sources? Asked my friend's father. Humans have so many problems, is the life of a frog more important than a human?

While it might be interesting to get such queries, answers to all these questions is very important in clearing out misconceptions and false truths that spread faster than proper awareness.

Amphibians are canaries in the coal mine
Protecting frogs is directly liked to Climate Change. In 2004, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) completely assessed amphibians of the world under the Global Amphibian Assessment (GAA) initiative. The result was alarming: one in three amphibians face extinction. Amphibians being very sensitive are the first to get affected from impacts like climate change, and thus, like canaries in the coal mine, frog populations can warn us of disasters much before they could possibly occur. The Indian Bull Frog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus) and the Jerdon's Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus crassus) which are both found in Goa and hunted for frog meat are even listed on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species in the world that was compiled in 2008.

Biodiversity Assessments and Indicators Are Enough
Frogs in Goa are still very much on the decline. While hard data on frog populations in Goa does not exist, (but should) bio-indicators in Goa indicate the declining trend. Worldwide, as it is not possible to evaluate all known species, organizations like the Species Survival Commission (SSC) works with worldwide partners to cover key taxonomic groups. This collaborative effort between organizations provides an effective method for gathering and disseminating the most accurate scientific data available for biodiversity conservation. While hard data on frog numbers in the wild will aid in its protection, compiling the same will be painstaking, and take a few years to see any significant trends. While that is the need of the hour, we cannot wait helplessly and claim that all is well in the wild world.

Frogs help the control of vector-borne diseases
While frogs can sometimes eat spiders, crayfish and other invertebrates, the bulk of their diet is insects. Reduction in frog population can cause an increase in the spread of malaria, encephalitis and other diseases which are carried by insects. Taking frogs from the wild could have devastating consequences. Frogs are insectivorous and each one can eat more than its weight (about 200 grams) in waterborne pests every day. These pests destroy crops and carry diseases. In some areas of India, the spread of a plant disease known locally as "wereng" has been attributed to increased hunting of frogs. Fewer than 50 frogs are needed to keep an acre of a rice paddy field free of insects: they play a vital role in eradicating insect pests; they prevent illnesses, and are a natural biological agent. Insect pests increase precipitously where frogs are vanishing.

Frogs can reduce human-snake conflicts
Frog in the wild serves as food for snakes. These snakes in turn eat rats which live in the rice paddies. However, when frog populations decline in the wild, snakes turn to other areas for food, which are usually human habitations where rats thrive. This results in human conflicts with snakes. Most snake rescuers in Goa will confirm that the instances of human-snake conflicts in Goa are on the rise in the past few years.

Frog Farming does not exist in Goa or India
While a few people might claim that their last plate of frog legs was sourced from a frog farm, that's simply untrue. Frog farms can simply not exist in India unless there is a change of legislation. Frogs, being part of wildlife are property of the Government of India, and therefore anybody claiming to farm them is violating laws as he has Government property in captivity, even if it might be for a good cause. It's unlikely that India would permit frog farming, as frog farms worldwide have been responsible for being the source of disease and viral infections that soon spread to frog populations in the wild with devastating consequences.

Clinton works with environmental and wildlife issues in Goa. If you want to help in the save the frog campaign, do contact Clinton Vaz at or +91 9890936828. You can report instance of frog catching or hotels serving frog meat to the Forest Department. Speak to Deputy Conservator of Forests, Mr. Devendra Dalai at 9423889890

Friday, April 24, 2009

Commemorating Environmental Days

It is important for everybody to participate in or show the community their support for Environmental Events. Supporting environmental events is also a great way to learn about a cause, or help improve public perception of the same.

This week’s column seems to be sandwiched between a couple of internationally celebrated environmental days. While 22nd April was Earth Day, 28th April is ‘Save the Frogs Day’. So readers, how did you celebrate Earth Day? On Earth day, I woke up in the Wilderness, or Wildernest to be precise. Spending a day with the family, we made our way up North-East of Goa to the tri-border of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Here in the deep forests of Keri, lies an eco-resort aptly named Wildernest. We all had a nice time unwinding in the midst of nature. The resort is nested in a deep section of the forest and some of the rooms have a great view of the valley below.

There’s no aircon or television in the rooms at Wildernest, however, we didn’t miss it a bit. That’s because the team at Wildernest have elaborately planned out a string of nature related activities that is well spread throughout the day… Birdwatching sessions before breakfast, treks to make you trim and mehindi art sessions just after your afternoon siesta are just some of the activities listed. Somehow though hot as hell in most of Goa, at Wildernest, it was breezy, shady and cool, just how a typical forest ought to be. My brother actually thought it was too cold that night!

During the day, they also organize treks to waterfalls, view points and more. Local cultural dances are performed by locals that live down in the village of Keri in the evenings. If you’re not game for it all, you could also laze in an armchair the afternoon breeze or swim in the infinity pool, a swimming pool with a view of a third of Goa! I swam there in the nights and could see lights in faraway Panjim and Vasco too! I appreciated the silence the most. It was nice to have absolutely no human noise around… it really clears and relaxes the mind.

Meals are served in a common dining area that’s overlooking the horizons. Simple, yet delicious meals are prepared by the cooks using locally sourced ingredients, and guests are asked to serve themselves. It’s self-service here, and once meals are done, used plates and cutlery need to be placed into a wooden tray at the corner. Though this kind of concept might be quite alien to guests used to full service, I think it’s a good initiative for people to help clean up after they’ve drunk and eaten to their hearts content.

Driving away from Wildernest, I could not help but notice the stark difference of getting back to civilization. Things got louder, brighter and dustier. Quite a stark difference to notice even though we were in the forests for just 24 hours! I’d recommend staying over at Wildernest for at least 2 or three days instead of a day.

In my opinion, it was a nice way to celebrate earth day, in the midst of nature. These specially appointed days might seem unimportant at first, but they make us realize the importance of respecting Mother Nature. It's also a great time to learn about a particular cause while helping improve public perception of the same.

In the next week, on Tuesday, the 28th of April is the ‘Save the Frogs’ day worldwide. There are lots of things that you can do to commemorate that day here in Goa .There are some that are writing in the papers, some like Roopa Bandekar and Nirmal Kulkarni who will organize related activities at their newly opened nature store called Earthworm in Porvorim. Ethel Da Costa has planned some programmes on Radio Mirchi and there’s an origami workshop planned in Panjim too. In the last few days, the WildGoa network is abuzz with ideas and suggestions for the 2 month campaign. Would you like to participate or get involved? Let us know and hop in!

Clinton Vaz, 28 lives in Benaulim and works on environment and wildlife issues in Goa. He can be contacted at or +91 9890936828 This article appeared on Gomantak Times, 24th April 2009