This September, the youth, especially students from all over the world are organising strikes for action against climate change. Let us take a look at this movement in India.
Inspired by the sixteen-year-old Climate Change activist Greta Thunberg, the first Friday school striker who started to miss her school on Fridays and protest outside the Swedish Parliament for action against climate change, on 20th September 2019, students and adults all over the world gathered to strike for action against climate change. This strike took place ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit that took place on 23rd September 2019.
In India, this citizens’ movement began on 15th March 2019, when about eight hundered students gathered in solidarity for action against climate change. Bhavreen Kandhari, a social environmentalist, said, “I got a tweet from Extinction Rebellion when this global movement began asking me why the movement had not taken over Delhi, considering that it is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Slowly, awareness about the movement spread and we had our first strike during examination season, with a lot of support from many parents and schools.” People from over 85 cities and towns in India took part in the Global Climate Strike, which is going to continue till 27th September 2019.
However, considering our population, more people need to become aware of the climate crisis and join the movement for action against climate change if we want to save our planet which, according to studies, only has 11 years of sustainability left. The Government also needs to realise the reality of this crisis and take actions to save the environment. Asheer Kandhari, an active student participant of the movement, said, “Is this the kind of future our parents want to leave us, their children, with? As someone who is facing the consequences of the decisions made by the previous generations, I feel it is my duty to fight for my future and planet. I believe one needs to take a peaceful but direct and firm urgent action to seek our objective.” Aman Sharma, another student who has been very active with the climate change movement, said, “I speak for every child of India. We have come to a point where breathing air is making us sick. Air, which is supposed to be the nectar of life, is now challenging our very existence on earth. Climate change is happening all around us and we know it. Denying or ignoring this crisis situation for years has only made us lose valuable time and us kids can now see the present situation as the beginning of the end. I want the policy and decision-makers to take note that the time for action is now. My home, my city, New Delhi is set to join the list of Indian cities to have no groundwater by 2020. If little children can understand how grave the situation is and what the solutions are, I find it funny that the adults cannot. We already have all the solutions as we have the science, facts and figures we need, but we lack the will, mindset, and compassion to go with it. It is shameful that we children have to tell policy-makers how to save the planet, beg leaders to secure our future and miss school to educate them on this crisis.”
Greta Thunberg recently said that she did not want people to hope, but to panic as if their house was on fire, because it is. Climate change is as real and poisonous as the air that we breathe in Delhi. Massive action needs to be taken now, not only by world Governments and big corporations but by each and every one of us, if we want to even have hope for a greener and safer future.
Feature Image Credits: Rishabh Gogoi for DU Beat