Y ashpal, our Accounts Manager at Roopkund base camp is our Local Hero this week.
Behind this open smile, is purpose and perseverance. He wins our hearts time and again with his outgoing, warm and smart personality.
Yashpal’s sensitivity to environmental degradation is almost like a natural instinct. Unlike many, he did not always have the space to understand environmental problems and the science behind it.
But what he did have was a knack. A knack for perceiving, identifying and acting upon his observations.
Yashpal is a quiet, behind-the-scenes contributor to our Green Trails work. Yet, through his actions, his intentions are loud and clear.
How it all began for Yashpal
Yashpal hails from Kuling, a small village just half an hour from Lohajung, the base camp for our Roopkund trek. He started working in the cloth manufacturing industry right after class 12.
Environmentally conscious from the beginning, Yashpal was an active participant in the tree-planting drives that his company organised. These sessions made him realise the extent to which trees and plants were being destroyed. Soon after this, he worked with an NGO on waste management in and around Kuling.
After Yashpal first left home for work, he lived in many cities. The more time he spent outside Kuling, the more he realised the value of his home in the mountains.
One thing stood out for him. The trash everywhere. He saw garbage becoming a major problem, even back home.
He was acutely aware of how the villages in his region had started to change courtesy the growing access to market.
Now, the Lohajung market near our Brahmatal–Roopkund base camp has been a commercial point for about 10 villages, including Kuling. Villagers from around the area have been coming here for years to buy and sell goods. The waste produced on a daily basis has been growing enormously. With no waste management system in place, people would litter around the market area. The rampant lack of waste segregation was a given.
It was not a good sign. Yashpal wanted to be part of the solution to this problem.
Yashpal’s Journey at Indiahikes
Seeing the growing garbage problems around him stirred something in Yashpal. It was this ‘something’ he carried forward when he joined Indiahikes.
Yashpal had begun to wonder if he was the only person thinking and agonizing about the environmental problems around us. When he heard about GreenTrails, he was relieved to find that he was not alone.
Happy that there were others who noticed these problems, he appreciated Indiahikes’ consistent efforts to address them. Though he joined us as an Accounts Manager, he quickly got his hands dirty in Green Trails’ activities.
Be it clean up drives or segregation sessions, Yashpal was happy to be a part of any Green Trails initiative.
He was also one for experimenting and learning new ideas. When we were trying to recycle paper in 2016, Yashpal was the first person from our local staff to learn the technique and practice it on his own.
We use old medical certificates and disclaimers we get from trekkers to make fresh usable paper out of them!
Here in this image, Yashpal is busy making paper out of mashed up paper pulp and laying them out to dry.
He dabbled into many aspects of a zero waste life and recycling techniques.
After learning about the different problems plastic causes to the air, land and water, he gave up all packaged food and snacks. This was more than a year ago and he is still going strong. This kind of self-motivated mindset change is commendable. Especially so, since the society and spaces we live in make it hard to do so. But Yashpal makes it look easy.
The firm resolute with which he says no to plastic and packaged food is inspiring to us.
Why Yashpal is our Local Hero
Yashpal has always believed that there is something new to learn from everything.
He would never miss an opportunity to watch our Trek Leaders talk about the relevance of Green Trails; or listen in on various discussions, observe people and their actions.
It is this quality that has made him a well-rounded individual. Today, he works as our Accounts Manager, a Trek Manager and sometimes even as a trek guide. It goes without saying that he brings the Green Trails spirit to all these roles – a quality true to the core of Indiahikes’ values.
He makes us proud.
Before I sign off, I would like to share a message about Yashpal from one of our trekkers. It articulates very well why Yashpal is a true hero whose practices touch people beyond the mountains.
“I met Yashpal during my trekking expedition in West Himalayas. He comes from a very humble background and is committed to do something for his village and country.
His commitment towards “No Plastic” is at such a high level that people who threw plastic wrappers or plastic bags anywhere and everywhere in the mountains might feel ashamed.
Yash’s commitment level for “No Plastic” can be understood from the fact that he does not eat or drink any product that comes in plastic packing – be it chips or biscuits or toffees. He does not drink water if it is from a plastic bottle and prefers to fill his flask a tap. He does not drink milk if it is in a plastic bag, and prefers to buy milk directly from a cow house or a place where milk is not packed in to plastic bags.
He will not buy pulses if those come in plastic bags and will prefer going to a merchant who sells pulses from non-plastic 20kg or 50kg bags. During my trekking period for over 3 days, we offered him toffees, cookies, chips many times, but every time, he politely refused them.
And then later-on when he told about his “No Plastic” commitment, we were just amazed. Its high time, we must appreciate and promote efforts of such cool dudes and try to contribute towards such great initiatives. Every small initiative matters a lot. Thanks a lot Yashpal, for teaching us a wonderful lesson of life. May God Bless You.” – Tapan Jindal, Valley of Flowers, 26th Aug 2017 trek.
Scroll down and send in your wishes for Yashpal in the comments section. We will make sure it reaches him.
Have a green idea in your mind that could help the environment out? Comment below or write to our Green Trails head – Lakshmi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What you should do now
1. If you want to serve as a Green Trails Intern: Read this article by our Green Trails Head – Lakshmi.
2. If you want to work with us: Head over to our careers page. We have lots of positions open. We also have lots of applications coming in. So the sooner you apply, the better.
3. If you ended up here by chance and were actually looking for treks to do: Then head over to our upcoming treks page. You’ll find all our Himalayan treks there.
4. If you want to see the 13 best treks of India: Then get our guide here.