July 1, 2011 2:09:10 am
Susheel Kadam,36,an operations executive at a call centre here,is the only Indian among 25 environmentally conscious people from around the world to have been shortlisted under the 3D Action Movie section of the DeforestAction project.
This global action project has been initiated by well-known animal rights activist and conservationist,Willie Smits,in partnership with Orangutan Outreach. The aim is to protect forests in the South-East Asian island of Borneo,which is the natural habitat of the Orangutan,and ultimately develop an 8,000 hectare reforestation project called Sintang Lestari. TakingITGlobal,Microsoft Partners in Learning (as part of the Shout environmental education initiative) and Australian documentary filmmaker Cathy Henkel are the other supporters of this project. Kadam had come across an advertisement relating to the project on the Internet a few months ago when he decided to participate,which required him to make a short film clip and post it on the official website. DeforestAction is a youth-oriented project,and attempts to include them in creating awareness about deforestation in Borneo, says Kadam.
After his video was posted on the site,Kadam was informed of his inclusion in an initial list of 50 ‘Action Agents’ from across the world who could join Smits in Borneo for 100 days for awareness creation. The list is now down to 25,of which a final 12 people will be selected once they have collected 500 supporters and $5000. Kadam has a month to complete the criteria to be ensured of the trip. I have been interested in the subject of environment since my childhood,so this project struck me as a good chance to make my own contribution. I had my doubts about raising the money,but my goal now is to reach Borneo, he says. So far,one participant from Canada and Australia each have been shortlisted in the final 12,who will get to be a part of Project Borneo:An Action Movie ,to be produced and directed by Henkel.
Collecting the money has been a big challenge for Kadam. Money is not the criterion for me personally. I have a few friends overseas who have contributed,but the response otherwise has been dim. I am surprised at even educated people not being aware of and sensitive to this issue, Kadam says. He had plans of approaching schools in the city to rope in children into supporting him,but the summer vacations put a stop to that. Kadam in turn approached DeforestAction,who then hooked him up with project co-founder,Sean Tierney. Tierney connected Kadam to a school principal in Australia. But I cannot be sure as to how many children from the school have pledged their support towards my cause. The money contributed,too,is directed towards a link on the website,so one cannot individually know how much has been pledged, he says. The project has an active page on Facebook.
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