JGU student & vegan climate change activist, Ayan Banerjee was named PETA India’s 2020 ‘Volunteer of the Year’

“What if I told you, you can save thousands of animals, reduce your carbon footprint and live healthy by just changing what you eat? You absolutely can!” says PETA India’s 2020 ‘volunteer of the year’ award winner and O.P. Jindal Global University student, Ayan Banerjee.

Ayan, who is a first year student at Jindal School of Government and Public Policy (JSGP), has been a vegan climate change activist since 2018 and believes it has been an impactful journey. Indeed, with a plethora of awards, thousands of students propagated, and a lakh of saplings planted to show for his efforts—Ayan’s rise as a youth icon has been truly inspirational.

Dedicated to bringing awareness about animal rights and vegan eating, the 18-year-old has travelled to many schools to deliver talks among young students. Ayan has been spreading the good word by cycling long distances across the city of Prayagraj. In fact, to mark India’s 73rd Independence Day, he cycled a whopping 73 kms!

There’s been no brakes in the spirited youngster’s actions to draw attention to animal rights, veganism and climate change. In a phenomenal feat flagged off by a member of the Olympic Committee, Ayan ran 200 kms from Lucknow to Prayagraj. The stretch acted as testimony to a healthy body through a vegan lifestyle. He wanted to shatter the misconception that a vegan diet isn’t a balanced one. For the cause, Ayan even distributed 2000 free saplings in school events and a hospital, and held regular speeches at educational institutions to urge students to make behavioural amendments and lead ecologically responsible lives.

“My efforts helped save water and electricity, and reduce food wastage in schools by almost 50%. The efficacy of my methods got the then Governor of Uttarakhand Shri K. Paul and Mr. Kamal Meatle, CEO of Paharpur Business Centre to take interest in my project”, Ayan remarked.

Having learnt the Miyawaki method (an afforestation technique by Japanese botanist, Akira Miyawaki, that uses native species to build dense forests), Ayan also invested his efforts in growing a mini forest in Bangalore 10 times faster, 30 times denser and 100% organically!

With the corridors of power noticing his vigour, Ayan even conducted a seminar in collaboration with the central government affiliated, Allahabad Museum. In his words, it was an experience to cherish.

Speaking on his JGU experience so far, Ayan says, “With such encouraging professors and the student body, I can’t wait to be there in person, see the beautiful campus. I hope to inspire all the students to be more compassionate towards animals and human beings.”

A leader by example, Ayan has a triathlon in mind for 27th February 2021! He hopes that a 1.75 km swim, 90 km bike ride and 21 km run without a break will motivate many more to be vegan and lead compassionate and healthy lives. As he prepares for the big day, all the while navigating his first year at University, we wish Ayan all the best for the road ahead!

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