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In April 2020 India’s environment ministry gave wildlife clearance to two infrastructure projects waiting for approval in Goa. This was another step towards allowing trees to be cut in the forests of Mollem that is part of the UNESCO global biodiversity hotspot — the Western Ghats.
In Goa, this move was met with strong resistance. What initially started out as an online campaign due to Covid-19 restrictions soon bubbled into an offline one once they began to ease.
The Save Mollem movement is one of the many local citizen-led movements in India and highlights the increasing concerns of the young at a time when climate change threatens their future. In the process, the citizens of Goa also showed the rest of India how to make the environment political.
A year on, we look back at the movement, and speak to Karleen De Mello, an advocate based in South Goa, on how the movement began and where it stands now.