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Men with ‘green’ vision give leg-up to climate crisis fight – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The dark clouds in the sky were about to pour, and a chilly wind glided past those planting saplings on the roadside. Feeling the breeze, CS Veerraghavan called out to the small crowd, “Hurry, the rain is near.” The 50-year-old visually impaired man from Velachery is on a mission to save the world from global warming. But he is not alone; the 400 members of his NGO, Green Voice Global (GVG), are now his eyes.

“My eyesight was normal until my second year of undergraduate studies. When I was in Class 11, I saw my neighbours walking four kms to fetch water. It disturbed me, and I raised my voice for them. That was the first time I stood up for a greater cause. In the course of life, I realised the bigger problem humanity is faced with — global warming — and decided to fight against it,” he recalls.

Veerraghavan has planted over 1.5 lakh saplings and distributed cloth bags across the state to achieve his goal. He even rejuvenated water bodies in Velachery with the help of locals. In 2001, he launched the NGO Green Voice Global (GVG) and, along with its members, now conducts awareness classes and rallies with school and college students.

“Evidence shows that heat-trapping gasses, such as carbon dioxide produced while burning fossil fuels, are warming the Earth. A permanent solution for global warming is reducing emissions from the energy and transportation sectors. Our campaigns highlight these climate impacts,” he says.

Veerraghavan has also been working for the betterment of disabled people and girl children. “After losing my eyesight to Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare eye disease, I was struggling and needed the help of others even to take a single step. But I was not ready to sit silent.”

In 2015, Veerraghavan and hundreds of other disabled people staged a demonstration urging the government to implement a postal voting system for people like him. He even met with the Governor of the state regarding the issue, and as a result, in 2019, the postal voting system came into effect.

In 2018, he sponsored an 8-year-old girl child to promote the importance of women’s education. A Radhakrishnan (57), a visually impaired stakeholder of CVG from Ayyanavaram, said, “As part of our efforts to promote children’s education, CVG has been providing books and study materials to selected government primary school students every year. However, due to the financial crunch, we cannot extend the help to higher and higher secondary students.”But both men are optimistic that CVG will beat all odds and continue the undaunted efforts for girl child’s education, rights of the disabled and against global warming.

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