I am writing to congratulate Tongam Rina and Arunachal Times for being awarded the Sanctuary Asia Wind Under the Wings Award 2017.Tongam Rina received this award on behalf of Arunachal Times in a touching ceremony with many other inspiring awardees. This award is an honour for our entire state. Hailing from a state like ours, where people share a close connect with nature, it is difficult to imagine that in the present environment forests will cease to be a priority for us. In a land where all our indigenous and cultural festivals are a tribute to nature, it is both shocking and saddening to see how fast we are transitioning in a haphazard and unplanned way into a society that places least value and no reverence for our natural heritage. In these times when we have to stand up against unplanned development projects to try and keep our forests intact and livelihoods secure, your honest coverage on issues of environment degradation across various regions of the state has been very encouraging and gutsy. Your efforts to inform people has been at the cost of your own safety but highlights the real tradeoffs for implementing any projects that are often for personal and political gain. And your writing has been instrumental in spreading awareness on issues of illegal logging that is happening in and around protected areas, the scale of illegal wildlife trade and the unspoken impacts of dam projects on the local people and the biodiversity of our state. Last year Lama Lobsang Gyatso also received the Sanctuary Wildlife Service award for his fight against hydro-projects in Tawang. I wish to thank you all for your service for the cause of nature conservation in our state, despite all odds. Power and salute to all of you.
Academy for Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies,
ATREE, Bangalore, India.