What is natural capital? In a broad sense it everything we have around us. The global stock of natural assets – encompassing plants, animals, air, water, soils and minerals – which make human life possible is collectively defined as natural capital.
It is from these resources that humans have derived an expansive range of services (known as ecosystem services), giving us everything we have today. The most obvious of these services include the food and water we consume, along with the plant materials we use for fuel, building materials and medicines.
In India, the dialogue on natural capital has been championed since 2013 by YES Bank – through its ‘Natural Capital Awards’. These dialogues include shedding of light on how natural capital is consumed and the accounting mechanisms and conservation efforts from industries and civil society.
Through this platform, the organisation seeks to encourage people towards conservation and help usher in positive policy-related changes. To realize this, YES Bank has been identifying, rewarding and showcasing individuals, groups and organizations dedicated towards spearheading biodiversity growth and environmental stewardship.
One of the prominent facets of the Awards is its ‘Pixel Perfect’ and ‘TrailBlazer’ segments – inviting photographers from across the country to showcase the marvels of our biodiversity through their frames. This year, a special category titled ‘Capturing the Ganges’ was added to show the organisation’s support to ‘Namami Gange’, the flagship conservation programme for rejuvenating the river Ganga under the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
“Natural Capital Awards (NCA) is a platform which gives much deserved recognition to photographers like us. It helps create awareness and a sense of natural capital conservation through the medium of photography. I have been participating in NCA for the past 3 years and it has been a wonderful journey. I would like to suggest to the budding wildlife photographers that don’t do wildlife photography only for the sake of a recognition or competition, do it for the sake of environment conservation,” says Baiju Patil, Winner 2013, Runner up in NCA 2015, and 2nd Runner up in NCA 2017.
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Here are some of the best photographs from previous editions of the YES Bank Natural Capital Awards, which has become a national platform for wildlife and nature enthusiasts to showcase their passion and help bring out important stories through their periscopic view:
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(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)