The Kuttemperoor River in South Kerala’s Alappuzha district, formerly a vibrant and healthy ecosystem, was slowly destroyed over the years by illegal sand mining and the dumping of raw sewage. Recently, 700 local people, mostly women, took it upon themselves to restore the river by spending 70 days cleaning out the toxic waste of weeds, plastic and other pollutants. Bolstered by frequent drought that had put a huge strain on the available water sources and the slow action from the government, this group of earth defenders successfully revived their river. Photo credit: Vivek Nair