" The Happiest People I Know Are Those Who Lose Themselves in the Service of Others" - Anand Patil

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1. Tell us more about yourself and GreenMumbai.

It all started a year ago when i was 21, neither particularly thoughtless about the environment, nor especially mindful, having enough to manage my Studies and planting few trees on my personal capacity when It crossed my mind to start GreenMumbai and I set out on a quest to increase the scale of plantation and doing more fieldwork planting trees along with like-minded people. Now, Within a year, We have planted over 375 trees in the city!

2- What led you into social activism?

If you live in Mumbai or any big city around the world, you have undoubtedly witnessed massive pollution, rampant tree cutting, loss of biodiversity.... etc. Many people worry about this but rarely anyone comes forward to bring a change. Some people campaign for governmental actions to prevent climate change or, simply try social media activism. Which is not wrong, But I believe action speaks louder than words! My way is to physically work to bring a change than to brag or complain about the same. I am not an environmentalist or social activist according to anyone’s ideal definition, anyway. I am just another person who does his bit for the environment like everyone must do.

3. What is the one cause you care deeply about and why?

A- Urban trees have come under increased threat in recent decades and we are now at risk of losing the lungs of our towns and cities. Every day so many trees disappear overnight; as a result of aging, disease or simply increasing city sprawl. With most of us living in urban areas, we need trees more than ever. It has been said that if trees produced free WiFi, we would be planting them in our cities like crazy. What they do produce is Oxygen, an element that is fundamental to our existence on this planet! Need I say more?

4. If one wants to contribute and make a difference in social causes, how can one do it?

A- People can bring a tremendous amount of change in themselves and people who are immediately around them by looking into their own inadequacies and their own flaws and the things that they are not doing in their lives and starting to build themselves up as more powerful individuals! And if they’re capable of doing that then they are capable of expanding their reach and confidence and then they will be capable of taking their place in the community as effective baton holders of the change they want to bring!

5. Who is your role model and why?

My role models are my family members who have ingrained these precious values in me as a child that our activities should not be just for personal gain but in long run it should benefit society at large and this is one of the ways we can take a step forward in fulfilling our social responsibilities. These teachings evidently help me bring a minimum but much necessary change in society.

6. What are some of the roadblocks and challenges you faced along your journey? 

To name a few, Arrangement Of saplings, funds, storage of saplings, carrying the saplings to the plantation sites, And the worse one, In spite of the location being suitable, Some trees we planted were chopped off by unknowns,  Some simply replaced by visually attractive small shrubs for cosmetic reasons. Which showcases major unawareness in people about what the need of the hour is.

7-What is your opinion about social media activism?

A- We use GreenMumbai’s Social media handle to encourage people in participating in plantations physically by showcasing the on fieldwork that we do unlike today’s Social Media Activists who realize but ignore minimum things that are in their personal preview which they find more difficult to deal with and which they avoid. And generally the way they avoid is by adopting pseudo moralistic stances on issues taking it to social media so they look good to their friends and followers. ‘Social media Activism is useful only if it is clubbed with real-life practice!’

- Anand Patil, Social Activist at Green Mumbai

- Interviewed and edited by Shilpy Sharan
" The Happiest People I Know Are Those Who Lose Themselves in the Service of Others" - Anand Patil  " The Happiest People I Know Are Those Who Lose Themselves in the Service of Others" - Anand Patil Reviewed by Shilpy Sharan on May 23, 2020 Rating: 5

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