climate change


Debates and discussions on climate change have been going since centuries, but it is seldom that the role of gender is recognized in sustainable planning and implementation. 

The year began with horrific bushfires ravaging the heart of Australia and spurring the grave issue of climate change that has been haunting us since many decades. Even after much scientific evidence and climatic emergencies, many of our world leaders blatantly deny its existence and waver it off as ‘bulls**t or just a change in human habits’. But, not only is there a need to address it on a huge scale but also ponder over some of the more important aspects of climate change; such as ‘gender’. 

Changing climate is one of the most daunting global challenges of our time. The degree to which people are affected by climate change impacts is partly a function of their social status, gender, poverty, power and access to and control over resources. Over the next decades, billions of people, particularly those in developing countries, are expected to face shortages of water and food and risks to health and life as a result of climate change. Accounting for 70% of the world’s poor, women are the most vulnerable among them. 

It is quite astonishing that climate change is not ‘gender-neutral’. It impacts men and women differently due to a variety of reasons that can be attributed to ‘gender differentiated’ powers, roles and responsibilities. Ecofeminism is a branch of feminism that specifically observes “the connection between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world and the subordination and oppression of women.” High dependence on local natural resources for livelihood, limited mobility, and unequal access to resources, policy and decision – making processes are some of the reasons for natural disasters affecting the lives of women more abundantly. Moreover, socio-cultural norms limit women from acquiring the information and skills necessary to escape or avoid hazards (e.g. swimming and climbing trees to escape rising water levels). For instance, during the Asian tsunami of 2004, 70% of the victims were women as many women and children were trapped inside their homes. A lack of sex disaggregated data in all sectors (e.g. livelihoods, environment protection, health and well-being) often leads to an underestimation of women’s roles and contributions. This situation then results in gender-blind climate change policy and programming, which are inaccessible to many and thus turn out to be ineffective. 

But why should we include ‘gender’ in the climate effort? As men and women face their social, economic and environmental reality in different ways; how they participate is also different and is closely related to age, socio-economic class and culture. So, the gender approach helps tackle issues on a much inclusive and wider scale. Women can contribute to livelihood strategies adapted to changing environmental realities as play a pivotal role in natural resources management and in other productive and reproductive activities at the household and community levels. They tend to share information related to community well-being more extensively, choose less polluting energy sources and adapt more easily to environmental changes when their family’s survival is at stake. Women’s greater participation also enhances the effectiveness and sustainability of climate change projects and policies. Research has also revealed the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment to environmental sustainability and thus gender equality has been recognized as one of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The climate protests in Nigeria exemplify the powerful role of women as agents of change. In 1999, Nigerian women headed a world movement to stop flaring natural gas by a transnational oil company. They organized simultaneous protests and awareness workshops in Nigeria and the United Kingdom that resulted in the company’s London headquarters being closed, and the temporary closing of the wells. Finally, in January 2006, the Nigerian courts cancelled the gas company’s licence.  This unprecedented international action demonstrates women’s ability to act as important agents for change who can help to mitigate climate change. Also, climate activists like Sunita Narain, Greta Thunberg, Christiana Figueres, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim and so on are bringing in diverse views and working for a sustainable future. 

United Nations climate change negotiations, void of gender-related texts and discussions until 2008, have more recently reflected an increased understanding of the links between gender equality and responding to climate change. But more concerted efforts need to be made all over the world.  Promoting education of girls is vital as it would provide financial security, agency at home and society, and give the capacity to navigate climate change. Access to high – quality, voluntary reproductive health care and advancing equity and well – being must be the aims of family planning, which would in  turn reduce demands for food, infrastructure etc. 

Gender-sensitive structures, guidelines, projects and tools need to be developed for all climate change financing mechanisms supporting adaptation and mitigation actions, at all levels by conducting an in-depth and evidence-based analysis that takes gender as one of the criteria. 

Katharine Wilkinson in her TED talk on ‘How empowering women and girls can help stop global warming’ quoted – “Some segments of human family cause exponentially greater harm, while others suffer outsized injustice.” The gender – climate connection extends beyond negative impacts and powerful solutions. Women are vital voices and agents for change on this planet and yet we are missing or barred from the ‘table’. All of this does not mean that only women have the onus of fighting climate change; it is just that we need to acknowledge the role of gender as a requisite for our climate effort’s success. The dynamics are not only unjust but leading humanity to failure. We need to bring diverse voices, including those that are typically excluded, into decision making to identify the best solutions for adapting to climate change. This is the only way we can build families, communities and societies that are resilient to the impacts of climate change. For this to be effective, we need to start from the premise that everyone matters—rich or poor, farmer or civil servant, woman or man.

Image Credits: Pinterest

Ipshika Ghosh 

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Eco-anxiety refers to the uneasy feeling that comes with keeping the current degrading environmental conditions in mind. The concept of climate change anxiety is on the rise solely due to the inevitable natural or not-so-natural catastrophes. 

Over the years, the Western countries have made several efforts to clean their own mess by entering into binding agreements with the rest of the world. The Montreal Protocol of 1987 proved to be a success in reducing the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). It was followed by the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report stated that if the current scenario of global warming continues, the entire world will witness a horrendous global catastrophe in this lifetime. 

The deteriorating plight of our climate severely affects the mental health of many people. Due to extreme climatic conditions in some regions, many communities are forced to move to new places. The devastating Australian bushfires were largely a result of severe climatic changes. The catastrophe wiped out huge numbers of animals and led to incorrigible air pollution that further caused psychological distress to those connected directly or indirectly with the fires. 

Eco-anxiety works as an eye-opener because it sensitizes people towards the environment and makes them aware of what is ecologically okay to use and what is not. The sea level is gradually rising, groundwater is depleting, temperatures are rising all over the world and this is essentially a result of global warming. Many people are now choosing to follow a vegan diet as it is healthy for the environment. 

The psychological distress caused by climate change is widespread. Natural resources will sooner or later be exhausted and irreversible climatic conditions are inevitable if the world continues to recklessly exploit the Earth. Ayushi, a student of SGTB Khalsa College stated: “At this point, eco-anxiety will act as a motivator for people to take action towards preserving the environment and saving the planet before it gets out of hand. We must collectively make sure that there is no wastage of resources happening around us.” 

Feature Image creditsTime

Suhani Malhotra

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Christmas is a festival of love and miracles. Old traditions say that Santa Claus comes once a year on this day to fulfil your wishes. This year, the world needs his miracles more than ever.


Dear Santa,

‘Tis finally the season.

Every year as a child I used to anxiously wait for Christmas to come, for it was the day you came to make my wishes come true; to finally gift me the toys I had wanted all summer. But then I grew up and was told you weren’t real. Somewhere along the way I, too, stopped believing in miracles.


However, this Christmas, I’m counting on your arrival once again. I write this letter to you, in hope that there really is an old man on reindeers who comes once a year to make our wishes come true. And while I’m too big to play with toys now, I still have a couple of wishes I need to be fulfilled. The world as we know has way too many troubles.


It’s every day that I wake up with the realization that this world- my world- is dying. Climate change is here and it’s one of the scariest things in this world right now. The only thing scarier is our nonchalance regarding it: The ones in power have never cared less. There’s one part of the world burning, and the other part drowning in hurricanes. The remaining is being destroyed by humans ourselves.


It is us who have been at the forefront of this destruction. In our privilege and comfort, we often forget our responsibilities- our responsibility to care. There are far too many old men in power and barely any young voices out there. There are far too many women still fighting for their basic right to live in dignity and barely any changes. There are far too many people with too much money and barely any with a conscience.


Santa, I’d say I hope you being Christian doesn’t affect your chances of coming to India: a country whose leaders are trying their best to change it to a Hindu Rashtra. But then I know, you’re not one to discriminate. India needs its miracles, and it needs them soon. This past year we have had avoidable border conflicts, a state arbitrarily ripped of its power and authoritarian bills passed in the parliament. That’s not counting how low we’ve fallen in all indices. That’s not counting how terribly its people- its women- were treated. We faced leaders attempting to divide the country on religion, on caste, on gender. Regardless, I’d like to believe we stood strong.


It’s not just India I suppose, which has had its struggles intensified. The world is swamped with Trumps and Modis: men with a solitary goal of exploiting the earth and its people. But I suppose the world is also swamped with Greta Thunbergs, doing their own little bit.


Yet, every day I read the news to find new horrors. It really is at times like these when I can’t help but feel helpless. When I can’t help but wonder whether the little steps that we take are enough. When I can’t help but hope for a genie, or perhaps an old man with reindeers.


Every day, I look back at the world I was living in as a little kid. I’m sure the world right now needs more miracles than it needed back then. And who’s better than you?


With love,


P.S. if you perhaps have some extra space in your sack, I’d like a life-sized teddy bear too!


 Featured Image Credits- Me.me

Satviki Sanjay

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We all have heard about how humans have destroyed nature because of our never-ending ending quest to conquer more and rule everything. The world today is concerned about the environment more than ever. But what if someone were  to tell you that a man showed this concern more than 165 years ago and people did not pay attention to him.

We have just finished giving our semester exams and if you do remember, in the 1st semester paper of English Communication thejre was a letter sent to the then President of the United States, Franklin Peirce by Chief Seattle (Si’ahl) of the Suquamish and Duwamish people when the US Government forced Native Americans to sell their lands to the government in 1854. The letter had students hooked onto the paper even after the paper ended. The reason, this man predicted each and every fault in the European idea of development which we can see very clearly. First, let’s read it:

How can you buy or sell the sky – the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. We do not own the freshness of air or sparkle of the water. How can you buy them from us? … Every part of this earth is secret to my people. Every shining needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. We know that the white man does not understand our ways. … The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his fathers’ graves behind and he does not care. He kidnaps the Earth from his children. He does not care. His fathers’ grave and his children’s birthright right is forgotten. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

One thing we know, which the white man may discover. Our God is the same God. You may think now that you own him as you wish to own our land. But you cannot. He is the God of all men. This Earth is precious to him. And to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator. The white shall pass – perhaps sooner than other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. When the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses all tamed, the sacred corner of the forest heavy with scent of many men, and view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires, where is a thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift and the hunt – the end of living and the beginning of dying

If you read the letter carefully, you will realise how visionary was Chief Seattle. All of what he predicted has come true. We are not near a climatic catastrophe but instead, we are staring at one. As Chief Seattle said, “Continue to contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste”, we today fight with pollution every day, who knows this better than a Delhi University student itself. We suffocate in the toxic air made by industries and farms without products of whom we can’t imagine our life anyway. But who actually is responsible for this condition of our planet. The answer is rather simple, all of us are the culprits. Be it our endless desire to get new clothes or new electronic gadgets. We today have equated growth with things that are bigger and better. For us, growth has become the act of achieving a bigger house, a bigger car or a ‘need’ of more options to shop. This mass demand has led us to a situation wherein even though we want to better the environment, we just can’t because of the indiscriminate exploitation of nature. We seem to have forgotten that our home is not just the flat or the villa we live in but the whole planet. Just like Chief Seattle said, we are snatching away the right of our future generations to see an Earth which is proud of all its valleys and beaches and not the one which is sick to its core. 

It was the humans who are responsible for climate change and therefore it is our responsibility to make our home better. Every task looks massive in the beginning but becomes achievable once started. Therefore, it is our duty to take care of the planet which has given us this life.

“Teach your children what we have taught our children that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”

-Chief Seattle

Feature Image Credits: Lincoln Landscaping

Aniket Singh Chauhan

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Colleges for Climate Action organised a climate action march at Arts Faculty, North Campus, University of Delhi (DU) on 1st November to stand in solidarity against climate change. 

The march began from Gate Four of the Arts Faculty, and was concluded at Gate three of Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station. Students from various colleges gathered at the Arts Faculty gate with masks on their faces, posters in their hands, and intent in their hearts. 

Slogans like “What do we want? Climate Justice. When do want it? Right Now.”; “Climate Change se Azadi”; “As there is no Earth B!” were chanted while matching forward. All the posters and structures held by students were made out of reusable materials. 

The main motive of Colleges for Climate Change, as told by the organisers was to “provide a convenient campus solution to college students to get involved in the fight against crisis.”

“Even though many people may not turn up on one day, march at institutions worldwide help to raise our voice against this as a community as a whole,” they added. 

The march concluded at the Vishvavidyalaya metro station where the students orchestrated a fake die, on the sounds of raging sirens to symbolise the urgency of a required climate emergency, as otherwise, this will be the clear end.

Sharda, student of Environment Sciences said, “People think they don’t know what to do for climate crisis, they don’t know how to contribute, but there is so much they can do, join strikes, use the public transport, make dire lifestyle changes and even quit meat.” 

After the fake die, students sat in at the Vishwavidyalaya metro station to share their stories of how they’ve contributed to climate action, they sang songs to promote solidarity through harmony and recounted various ways to contribute to climate action. 

The women specially from colleges, were seen leading the strike. Just like the global strike pattern, this March definitely had a women’s and young adult narrative. The protest was said to be apolitical, but asking for a political discourse. A Climate Crisis Act lies in the hands of those in power. Their negligence, by not declaring climate emergency and much more is what had let many to protest earlier. But, this protest was said to be apolitical. 

Pragya, a Hindu College student said, “We’re saying this is apolitical as we don’t pertain to any political ideology or are not affiliated to any political party, as climate crisis is an issue for the entire world and not just any political party.”

The march also emphasised on scrap the straw movement, with mentioning the petition which each college could fill out to ban use of all single use straws and plastic. 

Feature Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat 

Chhavi Bahmba 

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A breakdown of the Aarey Forest conservation movement of Mumbai, in light of the current global climate crisis.

The Aarey Colony protests began on 5th October 2019, after the Bombay High Court (HC) allowed the Mumbai Metro to
cut nearly 2,500 trees to build a car shed for the new Mumbai Metro constructions in the vicinity. The HC’s move was in line with
a fine technicality that the Aarey Forest was not really a forest after all, but it was merely an urban cluster and hence it could
be felled for the purpose of establishing the Metro infrastructure. This move was met with severe backlash, as Mumbaikars
and green activists around the country opposed the felling of 2,500 trees that gave the much-needed respite from pollution
and heat to the residents of the colony.

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) began to cut down trees in the area merely hours after the HC order, at odd hours of night in another move that faced resistance from citizens and environmental activists. The Mumbai police arrested close to 29 people on the charges of allegedly obstructing and assaulting police personnel at this protest. Many people, including several celebrities, took to social media to express their support with the activists protesting in the Aarey Colony. After these events, a special hearing on the matter was scheduled with the Supreme Court (SC) and, as a result, Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was implemented in Aarey Colony. Although lifted for the hearing, the section was later reimposed after the hearing.

The Apex Court, this past week, restrained authorities from cutting any more trees in Mumbai’s Aarey. A special bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Ashok Bhushan said that it would have to examine the entire matter closely, and it extended the date of the next hearing to 21st October, which would take place before its forest bench. The court also ordered the Mumbai Police to release all the activists who were arrested in the past two days.

The SC recorded an undertaking by the Maharashtra State Government, where it was assured that no more trees would be felled in Aarey. The SC observed that “…it appears that Aarey was some kind of forest at some time,” taking note of the 2012 Management Plan for the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which describes Aarey as an unclassified forest.

The Court further lashed at the Maharashtra State Government,  “Tell us how many saplings you planted? How have they grown? What’s the status of your forests?” The Apex Court’s question came after the Mumbai Metro claimed that it had planted around 24,000 saplings to replace the trees it had cut in Aarey. The court asked the state authorities to also produce a mandatory afforestation report.

Rishav Ranjan — the law student whose letter to the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, was converted into a suo motu writ petition for the matter — has requested MMRCL Managing Director, Ashwini Bhide, to desist from any construction work in the area until the next SC hearing on 21st October.

Complex climate change situations necessitate nuanced interventions. However, for the most part, India has resorted to afforestation without consulting local communities or conducting serious impact assessment studies. In light of the latest global climate crisis, a Global Climate Risk Index released at the Katowice summit in Katowice, Poland, in 2018 showed that intense cyclones, excessive rainfall, and severe floods could make India and its neighbours among the worst affected countries in the world. This leads to the conclusion that afforestation is not enough. The
effects of climate change in tandem with the development agenda require a two-pronged, well-researched, and balanced
approach that needs to be initiated by the governments at grass-root levels.

Featured Image Credits: India Times

Bhavya Pandey
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Much like a dystopian plot, a young and passionate 16-year-old girl full of fire has taken the world by surprise. Greta Thunberg, a teenager from Sweden has been in the limelight for voicing herself out on the issue of climate change. Dig in deep to know how she’s come into the centre all of a sudden.

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden, has emerged as a leading global climate change activist. She came into limelight after she started protesting outside the Swedish Parliament in attempts to call for stronger action on addressing the issue of climate change. Her actions led to a wave of movement which was later coined as ‘Fridays for Future’ wherein students organise a school strike in order to raise concern over climate change.

Due to her sharp words, she has gathered all the more attention with people coming out both in favour of her and against.

Amongst the people critical of her actions, there are various arguments proposed.

“She is highly divisive, while living her stolen dream pretty incoherently. She gives some people something to applaud, but nothing to learn from and emulate.” Quotes a writer on a web platform.

People talk about the rationality and practicality of actually following the path Thunberg is treading for instance-travelling by a zero-emission boat which has a multimillion-dollar expense and tens of crew just to transport one person. The idea revolving around her nomination  for the Nobel Prize is also under scrutiny by the people whose views do not resonate with the Greta-Thunberg-type-of-climate-change activism.

These people have brought ahead two key examples, one from China and the other from India.

The first example is of the “Stubborn Couple”, Mr. Fu Zhiqiang and Mrs.  Chen Ailan from Xinjiang, China who have been working on ground as environmentalists since 1983 and have planted an entire forest on their own. Working tirelessly towards their goal, the couple has left no stone unturned in giving back to the earth even when there are on a hard crunch for resources and money.

Image Credits:  Image Caption:
Image Credits: China Xinjiang
Image Caption: The “Stubborn Couple” in action

The second example is of Mr. Jadav Payeng from Majuli, Assam, who pledged at the young age of fourteen to plant a tree every day in order to treat the problem of soil erosion in his area. His consistent efforts over a period of 40-years have led to the creation of a 550-hectare jungle. Due to his efforts Majauli is free from the problem of soil erosion and ecosystems have been restored in the place with rhinos, Bengal tigers and elephants returning to their territories.

Image Caption: India TV
Image Credits: India Today

But here’s the catch.

He had been working ‘silently’ far away from the media glare and right onto field, taking action. No one brought his actions, and of many more people who are working away silently, to the forefront.

At the end of the day, it’s a conflicting state of emotions. On one side there is a Greta, single handedly bringing sudden global attention to climate change. While, on the other hand, there are others who devote their entire lives for the protection and conservation of the environment. It is not about a war between who is a true environmentalist. Everyone in their own actions is one equally.

The real question stands that what remains the purpose of this movement. Will the climate change activism boil down to addressing the following questions?

‘Is it about PR and power?’

‘Is it about name and fame?’

‘Is it about action or just rhetoric?’

It’s a strange turn of events, a unique, one of its kind crossroads ahead of many people who are wary, sceptical or all too clueless of what is happening.

In the end it’s wise to leave you on an unbiased note. What is your take, your view and your vision?Is there truly a middle path?

Feature Image Credits: Harpers bazaar

Amrashree Mishra

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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

Juhi Bhargava

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On 20th September, as a part of the Global Climate Strike, organised by Fridays for Future,  hundreds came to Lodi Garden and marched towards the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change as a movement against Climate Change. 

The Global Climate Strike is an international movement against Climate Change where students in over 150 countries have mobilized themselves to raise voice against Climate Change. On 20th September, as a part of this movement, hundreds of people gathered outside Lodi Garden to march towards the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC).

The crowd gathered at the meeting point at 3 p.m. where Environment enthusiasts could be seen talking about Climate Change in front of the crowd. “We want to question the entire world. What is the world doing?”, said a passionate student on the makeshift podium.

The crowd then did an impromptu rendition of Sing for the Climate, the Climate Change Anthem, set to the tune of Bella Ciao, the famous anti-fascist anthem. It was followed by a die-in, a form of protest where the protestors lie on the ground to simulate being dead, to emphasize the harm caused by climate change.

At 3:30 pm, the march towards the Ministry began. The protestors marched down the road holding catchy posters, shouting “There is no earth B!”. While the movement was headlined by students, it was joined by people from all walks of life.

“Have you ever seen such a large group of people walking for the climate before? The climate change movement has begun, and young people are coming forward because they know it is their future. We need to save the planet, and rightly said by the activist, it’s not you or me who’s saying it, it is the scientists who are saying it.” Said Sanam, a protestor at the march.

However, the march wasn’t without roadblocks. After covering a distance of 100 metres, the police put up a barrier made of ropes and tried to stop the movement. Despite having proper permissions, the police officers asked the crowd to walk in that 100-metre space saying it is just a walk anyway. But, the enthusiasm of the crowd did not wither. On being told “humein aage nahi jaane diya ja raha hai (they aren’t letting us go further)”, the crowd replied with shouts of “jaayenge (we will go)”. The police eventually removed the barriers and the march continued to the Ministry with added vivacity.

“We are not here only based on emotions. We need data to be published by the government of India. Millions of people die in India due to pollution every year, it’s just that the government does to disclose. We are not going to sit silent. Due to this climate change, droughts and floods will increase, especially in the Indian subcontinent. Millions of people will become refugees; unemployment will increase, social unrest will increase. Enough talks have happened, enough articles have been submitted. It is time to act now… The question is what the government is doing. That is why we are standing here in front of the Ministry of environment, forestry and climate change.” Said Mr. Chitranjan Dubey, an activist present at the march, while addressing the crowd.

On reaching the Ministry, the crowd settled in front of the roadblocks set up by the police. While a few activists, went inside to meet the minister, different groups could be seen chanting slogans outside. In one corner students were sharing poetry and expressing their thoughts, while in the other they were playing music and dancing. “At the end of the day, Climate Change has still not become a priority for a lot of nations. We are hoping slowly and gradually, well, not gradually, faster, we can influence the Government”, said Vaishnavi, a student present at the march.

“This is happening around the world, and Delhi is just one bit of it. I hope we are sending our message loud and clear- we want change and change is coming.” said Nimrat, another student at the march.

However, when the activists went inside, it turned out neither Mr. Prakash Javedkar, the Minister of MOEFCC, nor Mr. Babul Supriyo, the Minister of State of MOEFCC, were present. They, then, met Ms. Richa Sharma, Joint Secretary, MOEFCC. “Agar seedhi bhaasha mein bolun to humein ek tarah se fool banadiya gaya (to be frank, they made a fool of us). Like the US, which is a country which got developed exploiting the natural resources, we should also follow the same path- This is what the Ministry is saying.” said an activist who went inside.

Jeevesh Gupta, a member from Extinction Rebellion India, in conversation with DU Beat, said, “the two movements have come together today – Extinction Rebellion India and Fridays for Future – because the goal is common. We just went inside the ministry, but both the ministers were not here. We met the Joint Secretary. They did not commit anything. They took the letter from us addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji and said they would speak to the minister- We don’t think anything will happen. But we would keep fighting for this and we would come back again, very soon.”

However, the energy of the crowd did not ebb. The activists were met with cheers despite the ministry’s response. “What I really want to say is that this energy is really amazing and what we are doing right now is something that we have never done before. What we need to do now is come in more numbers and do the strikes more often. Iske baad hum fir aayenge, har mahine aayenge, har week aayenge! (We will keep coming, every month, every week)” said the activists.

Feature Image Credits: Rishabh Gogoi for DU Beat

Satviki Sanjay

[email protected]

Under the shadow of the Global Climate Strike and the increasingly popular students’ movement, Fridays for Future, the Delhi-based revolutionary student group, COLLECTIVE organized a discussion on the climate crisis at the Faculty of Arts on the 20th September.

The slogan of the event was “System change not Climate change” and through the discussion, the group sought to educate and invite people to join the movement against climate change.

The event saw speeches from students and professors from various departments of Delhi University. The range was incredible, mostly because it was a very free and organic discussion. Everybody was encouraged to speak about their understanding of climate change and their battles with it. It was littered with informative statistics and unsettling personal experiences. The event was organized with the immediate goal of highlighting the United Nations Conference on Climate Change which is to be held on the 23rd September. Sourya, a member of COLLECTIVE, said, “If this conference happens like its predecessors, then we’re well aware of the positions that will be taken. Profit-making multi-national corporations are given leeway to abuse the resources in the name of development. Strong statements are never made and they continue to be pardoned”. He also stressed on the need for radical change in the way governments and citizens approached climate change. “Personal lifestyle changes are important, but when the situation is so grave that every year Chennai sees a severe water shortage, Mumbai sees forest fires and more of Assam continues to go underwater, radical systematic changes have to be made”, he added.

A thread connecting all these different speeches was about the importance of recognizing the politics of climate change. The issue can no longer be viewed in isolation, it’s marred with the politics of inequality. The first speaker introduced this by speaking of the Carbon Credit System, “the developed countries have devised this innocuous-looking and a very mischievous tool called carbon credit system. Instead of reducing their carbon emissions, they buy carbon credits from poorer countries which naturally do not release as much carbon. In this way, they technically exceed their emission limit and with the help of money, they pass on the worst effects of global warming to poorer countries. They bypass their own commitments to the international committee.” Richer nations and rich individuals even within poorer countries have massive carbon footprints, but ultimately they also have the resources to protect themselves from the effects of climate change. The brunt of higher temperatures and polluted water bodies is faced by the poor and the marginalized. “Social justice is inherently linked to aspects like these”, he added.

Only the rich can protect themselves in the war against climate change, the poor inevitably become casualties. To illustrate, Professor Debjani, from Indraprastha College for Women, spoke to the crowd about climate refugees. In her home state, West Bengal, the Sunderbans are increasingly being submerged due to rising sea levels. “These are people like us, ordinary people, thousands of people whose livelihoods and homes are being destroyed due to some effect of climate change”, she said. “If someone is doing something in North America, it affects all of us.”

The lack of Government interest in Climate Change was also pointed to. “The only thing our government has done to acknowledge climate change is to change the name of the Environment Ministry to ‘The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change’. Every year we witness the same events, water shortages and floods in the country, but we normalize it. It is never discussed in Parliament, we will not stop until the Prime Minister takes notice and makes climate change a national issue. In western countries, citizens are threatening to occupy Parliament if leaders do not introduce effective legislation, we need to do the same”, a speaker added. Statistics were discussed highlighting that India’s major cities like Delhi and Bangalore will become uninhabitable by 2030 because of zero groundwater levels and the quality of air.

While legislation points towards trying to bring change within the capitalist and neo-liberal global framework, some speakers spoke about a more radical change. Professor Sudha from Delhi School of Economics defined climate change differently. “Climate change is the inevitable outcome of capitalism. The essence of capitalism is to keep growing and keep increasing profits. This can only happen at the cost of resources. It’s contradictory to discuss a movement against climate change within the capitalist framework. We cannot be concerned about climate change without being concerned about capitalism. The system of production and consumption has to change.” She urged listeners to separate their ideas of happiness from that of materialistic joy. She left the crowd with a million-dollar question, “Is it better to live a life with more things or with more time?”

In that context, speakers also spoke about not letting corporations fool you. “The solution to climate change isn’t green finance or green economy. These are just more products created by the capitalist to sink us deeper into capitalism. The problem is with commodifying natural resources. Climate capitalism is about generating crisis to make more profit”, a speaker added.

A very powerful speech was made by a student who lives in Jim Corbett. He spoke about how capitalism is destroying his home. “Growth is a capitalist conspiracy. They pollute the planet, you get sick. You go to their hospitals and contribute to their profits. Cities become unbearable and they lure you out for a well-needed vacation. You leave Delhi and go to my hometown and stay at their resorts. We are hostages of this conspiracy and we are making them rich at every step while they destroy the planet.” He also spoke of a possible solution, “If each of you speaks to a few of your friends, in the next two years we can have a climate army. An Army so powerful that no politician would dare tread on this road in front of Arts Faculty.”

After the speeches, the organizers conducted a postcard campaign where all the attendees addressed the Prime Minister about the crisis of Climate Change. This event bought forth multiple important viewpoints and quietly but effectively spoke about the urgency of change. “Do we just want to preserve the status quo or do we want to change the system?”

Feature Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat

Pragati Thapa

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