By Gigi Pandole
I love animals and wildlife conservation, but with the lockdown it was difficult to help in person, so I created an Instagram account, which now has over 4,000 followers!
I believe every person has the power to change things for the better. One of the ways I’m making a change is through my Instagram account. But simply telling people to take action or change their ways will not necessarily make them do so!
I believe the first step is acceptance of our role in the destruction we see on Earth today. After acceptance, understanding how we have caused destruction will allow people to think of ways to change for the better. And that’s what I strive to do through my instagram videos! My message – our planet has the capacity to heal on its own. Globally, by reducing or completely eliminating the emission of fossil fuels, destruction of habitats, deforestation, and as individuals switching to more sustainable diets and consumption patterns, we can help the planet to heal and flourish in no time.
I spend at least three weeks carefully researching and scripting, and then recording. After that I compile and edit my videos into short messages that are few minutes long. I aim to showcase how humans are responsible for the various issues we see today and the different ways in which we can help.
Boring videos will not attract many viewers. So I make sure to do whatever I can to connect with the audience. In each of my videos I try to be as engaging and thought provoking as possible in order to urge people to make even the smallest change. I have tried my best to use the resources available to me during this pandemic but when it’s over, I will most certainly take physical action too!
I urge people, that instead of travelling out of India to a buzzing city, why not visit one of our many spectacular and awe-inspiring national parks? India’s wildlife is honestly unlike any other and by appreciating and treasuring it, you can help wildlife conservation. For me, Kanha in Madhya Pradesh, was unquestionably the perfect place to begin this wonderful new year, and I can say without a doubt that this was the best trip of my life. The variety of wildlife in just this one national park is astounding. This year, why not make it a point to reconnect with Mother Nature and fall in love with her beauty – because after all we only protect what we love!
In January 2021, when I saw my first wild tiger at Kanha, an overwhelming feeling of fascination and stupefaction overcame me. Slowly and carefully, she walked towards us – 1.5 m. away! After examining each jeep, she continued on her way, and we never saw her again. I had tears in my eyes. I’ve seen countless videos and images of tigers but nothing compares to her.
Gigi Pandole, 16, is an environmental activist from Hill Spring International School, Mumbai, who dreams of working in wildlife conservation. Find her on Instagram @_what.now.