The year 2020 will go down in the annals of history as one among the most unique in modern human history. The year has not even ended and we have already gone through the COVID-19 pandemic, storms, floods, forest fires, and blasts.
But like every dark cloud, 2020 has also had several silver linings as well.
Here are 10 moments filled with positivity and goodwill that helped lift the dark pall from our spirits in 2020.
1. With Humans Under Lockdown, Nature Is On The Mend!
Global emissions are down by 17 per cent and the UN Environment Programme claimed 2020 to be a super year for nature and biodiversity. With humans under lockdown, wildlife got a chance to explore roads choked with vehicles.
Over the past few months, we had a chance to see dolphins frolicking in places we usually don’t, lakhs of Olive Ridley turtles returning for mass nesting and animals like the Sambar deer and Nilgai strutting around on the empty streets of Chandigarh and Noida.
At least for a while, animals did reclaim some of their lost space. As for human beings, we’ve been able to give the environment a break from all the pollution and global warming.
As we enter into the ‘new normal’, here are a few individuals that have dedicated their lives towards protecting and reviving the environment that we can take inspiration from.
2. In 2020, Children Became Microgreen Farmers
Chennai-based E-zone, a company that focuses on environmental awareness and projects for school children has been offering microgreen gardening lessons. They offer these lessons via social media messaging apps as part of their 15-day ‘Become a little farmer’ initiative.
E-zone has been guiding children through the process of food production, while also inculcating various positive developmental and behavioural qualities. Each day, the students go online for an hour to share images and videos of their progress and access educational content on farming. They are also taught the contribution of farmers to our environment and society.
Consequently, almost 2000+ children have become microgreen farmers during the lockdown. You can read more about the initiative here.
Available for kids of all ages, the 15-day session costs Rs 199 and if interested, you can contact the team at 9840254762.
3. This Organisation Sent Letters To Those Battling With Anxiety
The Goodwill Tribe is an organisation started in 2013 by Sonia Parekh and Chandni Sawlani. It conducts various activities focusing on small acts of kindness like writing and posting letters of encouragement to strangers. In the wake of the pandemic, the project has moved to the digital space and volunteers have been writing e-mails that The Goodwill Tribe sends out.
The team has managed to send out more than 100 e-mails so far and they have 186 volunteer writers on-board, a number which is increasing by the day.
If you want to volunteer or would like to receive an e-mail for yourself or someone else, fill up this form: bit.ly/letterrequests. Also, if you would like to join the crew of ‘Letter Writers,’ sign up here: bit.ly/letterwriters.
You can read more about them here.
4. Braving COVID-19, Locals Save Several Lives In The Air India Crash
An Air India Express flight carrying 190 people from Dubai attempted to make a landing on the runway at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport. Unfortunately, the plane skidded off the runway and fell into a 35-feet valley, ultimately splitting into two.
Scores of people from the neighbouring areas braved the rains and the fear of COVID-19 to reach the site and helped in the evacuation of the passengers in less than two hours. Several others lined up at the nearby hospitals to donate blood.
The CM of Kerala and several people on Twitter took to applauding the spirit of the people of Kozhikode and Malappuram.
This doctor explains how their immediate action saved several lives.
5. Citizens Raised Rs. 8 lakhs For This Fruit Vendor Who Was Robbed Of His Cart
Phool Mia, a fruit vendor from North Delhi was robbed of mangoes worth Rs. 30,000 by a mob in May when he had left his cart unattended for a brief moment.
The incident was captured on camera and the video went viral within a few hours when NDTV covered his story.
Soon requests for Phool Mia’s account details poured in and were shared immediately. Within a few days, he started receiving help from across the country and received donations of over Rs. 8 lakhs.
“Those who had to steal, did so. But I am overwhelmed that so many people have helped me,” he told NDTV.
6. Mumbai Citizens Helped This Vegetable Vendor Get Back On His Feet
Ashok Singh reopened his shop in Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazaar on the 5th of August after four months of lockdown. But soon, the street outside his shop was flooded and he was forced to shut down the shop immediately.
On his way back home, Ashok broke down in tears near the King’s circle in Mumbai. This moment was captured by a Mumbai Mirror photographer and soon the picture went viral.
By 6 August, several people had called up Ashok and by the end of the day, Ashok had close to Rs. 2 Lakh in his account with individual contributions ranging from Rs. 5,000 onwards.
“I am lucky to have benefitted from Mumbai’s generosity. But I am sure there are thousands of others in the city like me who are equally desperate. I hope they too can get out and start earning,” he told the Mumbai Mirror.
7. This IAS Officer Initiated A River Restoration Program and Employed 800 Labourers
District Magistrate Dr Adarsh Singh helped around 800 villagers in Uttar Pradesh get employment under the Kalyani river restoration project. The project was covered under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) and a budget of more than Rs 59 lakh was sanctioned for it in phase 1.
Dr Singh along with the deputy commissioner (MNREGA-Barabanki) ND Dwivedi and Block Development Officer Hemanth Kumar Yadav, adopted measures such as sensitising villagers, eliminating encroachments, reducing garbage dumping, and open defecation on the river bank.
More than 500 workers have been registered in Mavaiya village cleanup and 300 in Haidargarh town.
You can read about this amazing project here.
8. Twitteratis Helped This Farmer Sell All His Produce During Lockdown
With 95 tonnes of cabbage, Kannaiyan Subramanian’s farm in Erode was ready for harvest. But with no buyers, he could see his Rs 4 lakh investment going to waste. It was at this point that the farmer decided to tweet about it!
The 18 April tweet went on to receive 340,000 views and counting and helped him get buyers for his crop.
“I was truly overwhelmed when I first saw that the tweet was going viral. My son showed me the number of retweets and the comments on the post that I had shared. It was amazing to see how our citizens were willing to help people during the lockdown,” the 50-year-old tells The Better India (TBI).
You can read the heartwarming story here.
9. Kerala Teachers Teach Kids Living Under a Bridge
Six children of migrant workers from Mysuru, Karnataka, have been living under the Vallarpadam Bridge in Kochi for more than 10 years. And when the lockdown started, they lost access to their education.
But the teachers at St. John Bosco U.P. School took the school to these kids!
“We decided to download the previous day’s classes for them and even prepared colourful charts and interactive games to keep them engaged during the class,” explains the headmistress, Elizabeth Fernandez who goes to teach the kids every day along with three other teachers.
By taking all the necessary precautions, these four teachers have been travelling long distances for the past month to take daily classes of these children.
Read the story here.
10. IIT Grad’s Subjee Cooler helped Farmers Earn 30% More During Lockdown
A Thane-based agri-tech startup, RuKart developed a low-cost innovative machine called the Subjee Cooler to help marginalised farmers get access to cold storage facilities. This was developed by Vikash Jha, the founder of RuKart Technologies who is an IIT-Bombay graduate.
The cooler is a brick-and-mortar storage facility fitted with a galvanised iron tank with a covering on top. This simple device works on the principle of evaporative cooling — a phenomenon when water evaporates, and draws energy from its surroundings, producing a cooling effect.
According to Bhairab Singh Patel, the District Administrative Officer of Sundargarh, and Jayati Ekka, till date, 54 Subjee Coolers have been set up in Sundargarh, Odisha, and more than 100 farmers have benefited from it.
These stories prove that a spark of social responsibility and a compassionate mental bend can be indomitable allies in our fight against the biggest battles.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)