Projects – Chinmaya’s Work for India’s Environment
Since 2004, Chinmaya has been involved with various initiatives to support the environment and rural peoples of his adopted homeland, India.
He supports the work of Dr Erach Bharucha, (see interview) author of many books on India’s environment and inspiring environmental educator.
He made documentary films on the NGO Avani, who implement his appeal for the Himalayan village of Jhuni (see below).
He has made several documentary short films on wildlife in India.
Giving something back to the villagers of Jhuni
After the success of Chinmaya’s film series ‘Smiles from off the Road’ shown in many Festivals in India and Europe, it was time to pay something back to the ‘actors’ of these endearing films. In September 2009 he created an appeal with local NGO AVANI to finance various items the village needs: solar electric light, smoke free stoves and alternative livelihood opportunities.
Editing the Textbook for Environmental Studies
by Dr Erach Bharucha (UGC Delhi 2004)
All undergraduates in India are required to take and pass a 6 months module in Environmental Studies (a law that is perhaps unique worldwide?). Dr Bharucha’s book is the standard text for this and Chinmaya edited it with, as Dr Bharucha puts it “a fine English tooth-comb”.
Editing ‘The Wonders of the Indian Wilderness’
by Dr Erach Bharucha (Reliance/Mapin 2006)
This monumental work in three volumes (over 1000 pages, 2000 photos and weighing in at 14 kgs!) took four years to complete. Chinmaya’s work on it spanned two years and involved two complete edits and helping catalogue slides, caption and match photos to text.
A reduced size version (11″ X 13″ 850 pages) is published in USA by Abbeville Press 2008 (price $185)
Providing videos for ‘Indian Bird Calls’
(Bombay Natural History Society 2009)
This CD_Rom also includes still photos, audio and identification and ecological material on 169 (out of India’s total of 1260) species of birds.
Chinmaya has provided 90 species which he has filmed over the past two years in the Western Ghats, the Deccan and the Himalayas.
Documentary Films on Avani
Chinmaya’s film on this NGO (see Videos page) has been viewed 10,000 times on YouTube and shown at film festivals in India and Nepal.
Chinmaya continues to document Avani’s latest initiatives, including gasification of waste pine needles to provide cooking gas, natural waste water purification and a planned Birthing Center for a remote village currently two hours walk from the road and two further hours drive from the nearest medical facility.
For more on Avani see www.avani-kumaon.org