We all need the environment to survive, yet it is the most neglected and abused
Source: Toxics Dispatch ~ 53, Date: , 2019
“We all need the environment to survive, yet it is the most neglected
and abused”-Mike Pandey
Pandey is an Indian film maker specializing in films about wildlife and the
environment. He has won over 300 awards for his work to spread awareness about
biodiversity and species conservation. Born in Kenya, the Nairobi National
Park, which was at the back of the Pandey household proved a rich source of
inspiration for both Mike and his brother Ishwar. Trained and educated in the
UK and US the brothers experiences have been wide and varied from training in
Hollywood as interns, to Director of special effects and war scenes in films
like Razia Sultan, Betaab, Gazab etc. in India. But the call of the wild was
strong and Mike’s passion and care for the natural world pulled him back to
Indian wildlife. With over three decades of filmmaking experience Mike has
produced over 600 films and won scores of awards both national and
International. He is thrice winner of the Wildscreen Panda Award, also known as
the Green Oscar: The Last Migration – Wild Elephant Capture in Surguja (1994),
Shores of Silence: Whale Sharks in India (2000) and Vanishing Giants (2004).
Shores of Silence also won a National Award for Best Film in the “Exploration
& Adventure” Category, 2005.Mr Pandey in an interview with Toxics Link
talks about films, environment and how each one of us can contribute our bit
towards conserving the environment.
Q1. What are the major
environmental threats India is facing?
are in serious trouble and heading towards a disastrous situation. Tragically, wherever
you look, there are challenges and issues, from global warming to waste
management; from diminishing resources like water to the hazardous air and
water pollution; from climate change to failing crops. The whole world is in
turmoil today and we all are to be blamed for this.
Q2. How do you see the role of
government and the civil societies towards addressing the environmental concerns?
is a need for management, be it waste management or resource management. There
are sufficient laws and legislation, but their implementation is crucial. There
is also the need of public participation besides the laws in place. People need
to be sensitized, educated and made partners in our struggle towards
restoration, management and prudent use of resources. Working together will
bring the ground level change.
Q3. What changes or impacts can a
film bring to the society?
can be a very effective tool of communication. As observed, films can play a critical
role in generating awareness, educating people, sensitizing the general public
and also provide many solutions that can be implemented by the general public.
The whole communication system is a changing school. The future is in the hands
of tablets, mobile phones and all sorts of visual communication.
Film is a strong
medium to be the agent of change. If you see my film “Shores of Silence- whale
sharks”, the film brought legislation in India within a month which would
otherwise have taken ten years to bring in a law. It also brought legislation
globally, protecting a species from extinction.
Wings” brought ban on production and manufacture of the lethal drug Diclofenac
all over India within weeks.
Q4. What led you to be an
environmentalist and an environmental film maker?
- I think it's a way of life for me….a very
precious part of the universe and perhaps the most neglected one.
We all need the environment to survive, yet
it is the most neglected and abused. We are the most intelligent species on
earth and with all the intelligence we have failed to see that we have
systematically destroyed the very source of life on this planet. Everything
around us has been shattered by greed and miserable desire and greed for power.
Somebody has got to speak out and tell the truth. The way I have been brought
up and educated, I believe that the earth is the mother of all mothers- a giver
of life. A voice has to be raised for this mother like your own mother. Can you
all stand by and watch it getting destroyed? We are the only species that can
restore the damage done to the planet- our only Home. We all speak about it but
these are merely words and hot air.
Q5. How has your life changed after
receiving Green Oscar Award?
Green Oscar was a great humbling event which brought the plight of the whale
shark to the global platform. It was also satisfying to see that a small voice
from India was being heard by global communities at a global forum and the
Green Oscar was an indicator that I was going to the right direction. It was an
endorsement and acknowledgement that conservation was the need of the day. It
also helped in bringing about national and global conservation and protection
for the whale shark which was till then an “Indeterminate” category of the Red
book. The film was effective in conserving and protecting a critically
endangered species from extinction.
Q6. What an individual like me can
contribute to save the environment and make the earth a better place to live in?
of us can start from home. Cut down the use of plastic, be minimal when
ordering food. Pour out only as much water as you need. Switch off all
electronic articles including your phone when not in use especially at night.
The stand-by mode consumes electricity and even emits injurious radiations.
Carry on your own cloth bag and avoid totally one time use plastic, cling film,
straws and plastic cutleries, cups at parties or everyday use.
however small will make a huge difference. Let us not underestimate the power
The ocean is
nothing but trillions upon trillions of drops of water all united to our mighty
oceans - a formidable force. It is time for humanity to come together and unite
in harmony and work towards a sustainable earth. Help restore and create a
balance - the natural equilibrium of the earth. That is the hope for the future
and you can play a part in it.