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Jolly good John

After being a model, actor, designer, poster boy, Bollywood heartthrob John Abraham is now an eco warrior. Princy Jain chats with the star.
Hindustan Times | By Princy Jain, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 06, 2008 12:32 PM IST

He doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, is a vegetarian, goes to bed early, is a member of the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, is involved with social causes and is serious about saving the environment. Could anybody be more suited to being an Eco Warrior?

That's the title actor John Abraham was awarded for his work for the conservation of 30 captive elephants in Maharashtra. "Elephants are the most powerful animals on earth. It's a pity to learn that man has captured these free-spirited animals for his own ends and deprived them of their natural habitat," said John.

To push for their release, John and Mike Pandey (founder of Earth Matters Foundation) set up a dialogue with politicians and initiated a discussion to create a catchment area for these elephants. "We met the forest minister, Babanrao Pachpute and he was immediately helpful," said John.

And that's not the only reason he deserves to be called an Eco Warrior? Girlfriend Bipasha Basu lists other reasons.

"He is a vegetarian. He doesn't smoke and drink. He is a good boy, who strictly believes in being early to bed and early to rise. One could say he's almost boring, but such a lifestyle is certainly both healthy and eco-friendly ."

Mike Pandey, a three-time Green Oscar winner, agrees. "He was really concerned. He waited in Mantralaya's busy corridors for hours without a single complaint. He was certainly not full of his celebrity status."

John Abraham is happy with the recognition. "Any sort of acknowledgment is always welcome. My family and I have been associated with social causes long before I became popular. It's a way of living for us. My mother works with children suffering from life-threatening diseases. None of these activities are undertaken with the intention of attracting media attention, but if I can be a platform for any social message what could be better."

John credits sports for his need to live healthy. A soccer fan - he captained his Bombay Scottish soccer team at school he-has become ambassador of UEFA European Football Championship 2008.

He's rooting for the German team, but won't be able to see them win, or lose the responsible person that he is, he will be busy shooting. "I won't be able to travel because I'm shooting but I will catch the action on the small screen."

How to be like John?
Be good to animals: They also breathe, feel and smell like us. They are no different. If you don't own a pet be good to street dogs and other strays.
Save water: H2O is essential for life. Consume only ac cording to requirement. Shut the tap when you're brushing teeth or shaving. And if you see a running tap, turn it off. Don't dirty the water when you're out for watersports.
Go green: Be vegetarian, it's healthy and eco-friendly.
Avoid animals fabric: Avoid clothes made of animal products.
Avoid plastic: Use paper or cane bags. It's cool and healthy for nature.

John's heroes
Mike Pandey, conservationist and founder of the Earth Matters Foundation
Maneka Gandhi, founder People for Animals
Bittu Sahgal, editor, Sanctuary magazine
Ravi Singh, ex-banker, wildlifer and CEO of WWF-India
Valmik Thapar, natural historian and writer

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