We are a small group of like minded people who got together in a bizarre yet subconsciously interlinked manner. We all have one common link – a friend or an associate, even family members. On September 29, 2012 we met at Swayambhu casually but ended up taking up a big oath under the watchful and wise eyes of Buddha.

We the core members of The Green Soldiers have come together under and alongside Achut Gurung as our unifying factor. Mr. Gurung had been planning to start this group but it had taken him three years to get here. Let us just call it fate or an act of god.

The city of Kathmandu has been plagued with a serious problem of waste management. Trash is seen all over the city and this plague is growing all across the country. Ecologically Nepal is a very fragile country. We house some of the most spectacular sights a human eye can behold. But this land is changing and changing fast. Achut dai as we all call him affectionately is a tourism professional and a successful business man at this line of work. He has traveled the globe and traveled across Nepal alongside his clients. This pristine beauty which we got as a gift from nature and a major source of income for Nepal is slowly getting buried under trash. There is garbage everywhere. And in a few decades this problem is going to grow out of proportion. The city of Kathmandu itself bears a brunt of this problem. The rest of Nepal is still somewhat unpolluted compared to Kathmandu. Since we all live in this city we feel that we are responsible for changing its ways. Our system has failed us numerous times and our policy makers are not even worth the mention here.

We are all average citizens of this country who have had enough. We have decided to take a stand and start a Green Movement. This land was a gift to us from our ancestors and it is our duty to pass it on to our children the same way as we received it.

Swayambhu means “self-manifested” or “that which is created by its own accord”.

Our vision is simple, to make Swayambhu region and its surrounding area an example for the rest of Kathmandu and the whole of Nepal. This is our symbolic victory. And then there we shall have a Green Soldier in every Nepali Citizen. To some it may look like a daunting task and it may probably be one but if Tenzing Norgay and Sir Hillary would have got to the base of Everest looked up and said “Boy this is too tough let’s just go back” history would not have looked the same as it is today.

Picking up trash every Saturday will not get us anywhere but true awareness will. And how do we plan to create awareness?

Children: Education starts from home. We teach the parents of today to teach their off springs to imitate their habits and children are our primary target. We will get to local schools and homes and talk to the kids because we the “adults” have already formed bad habits and bad habits don’t quit easy. Many campaigns will be done in the year to come through volunteers and outreach programs in local schools.

Industrial: The society today is based on consumption and there are multi-national & national companies selling their products and spending millions of rupees on advertisements. Next time you get outside look around how many places you see the same advertisements over and over again. Those companies spend major amount of money on advertisements. We will approach these companies in radical and innovative ways and have them join hands with us and share some of that advertisement money on sponsoring trash cans (permanent ones) and then put their advertisements there. Then company XYZ is also a Green Soldier Company who sells Product ABC but is a socially responsible and eco-friendly company.

Local authorities and policies: We plan to get local ward offices and local law enforcement offices to educate and train their city cleaning workers to understand that sweeping the dust under the rug is not the solution. What we have seen in the two weeks of our efforts in Swayambhu is how the cleaners sweep the stairs and just dump the collected trash into the surrounding hill. This has to stop. These daily cleaners (City workers) will be re-trained and educated about why they cannot do that. We have already made some locals who live in the area and wanted to know what we were doing our new recruits. They have pledged to help and once this area is on auto-pilot these locals will continue and maintain this awareness in their spare times.

The Khateys: These street kids are often out casted from society but we do not realize the importance of these unfortunate youth who live a life around the garbage we so easily throw away. These kids make a living off our garbage. Educating and getting these kids a real motive in life along with a means to make money. This will create new Garbage disposal and waste management entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Events and Art: Our campaigns or activism is targeted towards the youth because they are the future policy makers of Nepal. We plan to organize small and large scale events where we plan to invite influential people who join hands with us to speak to the youth, musicians to play music, artists to create and so on.

Vik Muniz is a Brazilian artist and his work personally really was very inspiring to me. How art can change lives. And in our first meet Achut Dai has mentioned creating a mandala in a public place by an artist using trash and we strive to make this happen.

Media and Communication: We do not want to create an unnecessary hype about this and lose focus but we do realize the importance of media and communication in today’s time. A communal blog (a website in the near future) for right now is being created and soon all our core members will share news, information and updates through this Blog.

The Green Soldiers is a vision and we are all professionals in our own lines of work but a man abides a responsibility towards society and humanity and this we feel collectively is our calling. We want our work to speak rather than blowing our own horns. This small blog is an attempt to establish our existence and to appeal to people who will read this to join us if it makes sense. We so far are self-funded through our own volunteers and friends and will remain that way until further notice. We devote what time we have to spare after workdays and in our day offs to this cause.

Text – Aashish Adhikari