Environmental Movements in India - List of Major Environment Movement in India PDF

By K Balaji|Updated : November 30th, 2022

An environmental movement is a social or political movement aimed at preserving or improving the state of the environment. It is usually supported by individuals or groups with a common ideology and motivation to protect the environment and bring sustainable and productive environmental policy changes.

The terms 'green movement' and 'conservation movement' are used interchangeably to describe the environmental movements in India. Some well-known green movements are the Chipko Movement and Silent Valley Movement. Various environmental movements have a spatial span that ranges from local to virtually global. Below mentioned is the compilation of the Major Environmental Movements in India.

Table of Content

Environmental Movements in India

An Environmental Movement focuses on the sustainable use of resources and is one of the best examples of social activism. Some of the major Environmental Movements in India are mentioned below.

Environmental Movements in India PDF


Environmental Movement

Led by



Bishnoi Movement

Amrita Devi

Khejarli, Marwar, region in Rajasthan


Chipko Movement

Sunderlal Bahuguna and Chandi Prasad Bhatt

Chamoli, Uttarakhand


Silent Valley Project

Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad Sugathakumari

Note: In 1985, it was called off, and the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi inaugurated Silent Valley National Park.

Kantipuza river in Kerala.


Jangal Bachao Andolan

Tribals of Singhbhum

Singhbhum, Bihar


Appiko Movement

Lakshmi Narsimha Yuvak Mandali Pandering Hgde



Tehri Dam Movement

Tehri Bandh Virodhi Sangarshan Committee, Sunderlal Bahuguna and Veera Dutt Saklani

Bhagirathi and Bhilangama rivers at Tehri in Uttarakhand


Narmada Bachao Andolan

Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy, Sunderlal Bahuguna, Baba Amte

Gujarat, Madhya

Pradesh and Maharashtra

Note: total 33 dams,

2 main are Sardar Sarovar Dam, and Indira Sagar Project

Recent Environmental Movements in India

The phase of the environmental Movement in India began in the 1970s. With the global focus on conserving the environment with the SDG goals and the Paris agreement, India has also seen some latest green movements, even at the grassroots level. Some of the latest ones are as follows.


Environmental Movement

Led by



Climate Action Strike

Greta Thunburg, Bittu KR

Students in metro cities in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai


Right to Breathe Protest

Leonardo De Caprio

India Gate, New


Save Dehing- Patkai

All India Assam Student Union (AASU) and All Assam Matak Youth Students’ Union

Tinsukia, Assam


Save Aarey

Online campaign #SavetheSunderbans

Sunderbans are the largest mangrove forests in the world, located in the delta region of ganga and Brahmaputra rivers.

Major Environmental Movements in India

There are several critical Environmental Movements in India. Some of them are discussed below in detail:

Bishnoi Movement

Bishnoi is a religious sect prevalent in India's northern states and the Western Thar Desert. Guru Maharaj Jambaji founded this movement in the Marwar (Jodhpur) desert region of western Rajasthan, India, around 1485 AD. It is a peaceful community of nature lovers. Around 1700 AD, sage Sombaji began a movement against deforestation.

Amrita Devi then forwarded the movement. The demonstration resulted in the deaths of 363 members of the Bishnoi community. When the king of this region learned of the protests and killings, he rushed to the village and apologized, declaring the area a protected area. It's worth noting that this law is still in effect today.

Chipko Movement

It began in 1973 in Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand's Chamoli district. The effort aimed to stop unlawful tree-cutting in the Himalayan region (Uttarakhand). The movement's leaders were Sunderlal Bahuguna and Chandi Prasad Bhatt. Women's engagement was one of the most prominent features of this movement.

Appiko Movement

Pandurang Hegde started the Appiko Movement in Karnataka in 1983, modeled after the Chipko Movement. Its primary goals were afforestation, development, conservation, and the best possible use of forests. The word "appiko" means "to embrace" and means "to express one's love for a tree.

Jungle Bachao Andolan

In 1982, the tribe of Jharkhand's Singhbhum area protested the government's forest policy. The government wanted to use high-priced teak to replace natural soil and forests. Many environmentalists called this movement the "Greed Game Political Populism".

Tehri Dam Conflict

Locals began this movement in the 1980s and 1990s because the dam project would be built in a seismically vulnerable area. They believed it would result in submerging forest regions and Tehri town. Despite the protests, the dam is built under police protection while Sunderlal Bahuguna sits on a death fast. Bahuguna terminated his fast after receiving assurances from the government that the project would be reviewed, but work continued at a reduced rate.

Silent Valley Movement

Kerala is a tropical evergreen forest with many biodiversity. Environmentalists and residents were outraged when a hydel power plant was built here in 1973. In 1985, the government was forced to proclaim it a national reserve forest due to public outcry.

Narmada Bachao Movement

Since 1985, environmentalists and residents have been protesting against the construction of dams on the Narmada to develop hydroelectricity. This gave rise to the Narmada Bachao Aandolan. This Andolan was led by Medha Patkar, who received backing from Arundhati Roy, Baba Amte, and Aamir Khan.

Several Environmental Movements in India have changed how the environment is handled in the country. You should be aware of these movements as they are crucial for India. Several grass-roots environmental movements have sprung up in response to development activities that have jeopardized the ecological balance, resulting in a shift in public policy favoring the environment.

Grassroots Environmental Movement in India

The Environmental Movement in India usually involves people that have been a victim of environmental degradation. Therefore, the green movements take place at the grass root level. Some of the best examples of the Environment Movement in India at the grassroots level, along with their related issues, are as follows.

  • Protection of marine resources - Chilka Bachao Andolan, Orissa.
  • Industrial pollution - Zahiro Gas Morcha, Bhopal Ganga Mukti Andolan. Green Movement against poisoning of Cheliyar river in Kerala.
  • Mining- Anti-Bauxite mine movement, Orissa
Important Notes for UPSC
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Internal Structure of EarthTides UPSC
Foreign Travellers Who Visited IndiaSocio Religious Reform Movement in India
Nicknames of Famous Personalities of IndiaSalt Satyagraha
Indian Council Act 1892Rashtrakuta Dynasty


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FAQs on Environmental Movements in India

  • The Environmental Movement can be understood as a social movement, also referred to as an 'ecology movement' that is related to the conservation of nature on all fronts, namely political, philosophical, social & political. It is majorly concerned with resolving environmental issues.

  • Some of the most successful environmental movements in India are Chipko movement, Narmada Bachao movement, Appiko Movement, Tehri Dam Conflict and Save Silent Valley Movement.

  • The term Green Movement is alternatively used for Environmental Movement. Though, Green Movement refers to a similar movement that emerged somewhere around the 1960s & 1970s. It advocates the concerns of all environmentalists who wish to preserve the nature at all costs.

  • Some environmental movements in Odisha are the Anti-Bauxite mine movement (Balco project) and Chilka Bachao Andolan. Both the environment movement saw huge participation from local communities and NGOs. 

  • The Chipko Movement, one of India's most popular Environmental Movements, was started in Gopeshwar, Chamoli District.

  • Candidates who wish to download the environmental movement in India PDF can click here. The list contains all the major environmental movements in India and some recent green movements across the country.

  • The Bishnois who pioneered the Environmental Movements in India typically resided in the North Indian states and the west Thar region.

  • The first environment movement in India was the Bishnoi movement which Amrita Devi led in the 1970s. The Maharaja of Jodhpur killed the Bishnoi Hindus of Khejarli in 1720 because they tried to defend the forest he cut down to construct his palace. The Bishnoi movement was subsequently followed by the most famous environment movement, the Chipko movement.

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