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Meet Archana Soreng, A Tribal Climate Warrior From Odisha Who Aims To Bring The Indigenous Wisdom To Climate Actions

26-year-old Archana Soreng, a climate warrior from Odisha spreads the message of indigenous ways to tackle climate crisis at COP26

Meet Archana Soreng, A Tribal Climate Warrior From Odisha Who Aims To Bring The Indigenous Wisdom To Climate Actions
Climate warrior Archana Soreng from Odisha, a member of UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, has been carving out a space for indigenous voices in talks on climate actions
Highlights
  • Archana has been endorsing sustainable tribal practices at the COP26
  • Include indigenous people in fighting climate change: Archana
  • Indigenous practices show the way to living sustainably: Archana

New Delhi: According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for better management of forests for climate mitigation, it is important to empower indigenous people and enhance local community collective actions. And this is what 26-year-old Archana Soreng from Odisha’s Khadia tribe has been doing. Even as a teenager, she was raising awareness about climate change. Chosen as one of seven members of the UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, Ms Soreng firmly believes that any climate action will be fruitful only when the indigenous people, who live in close harmony with nature, are included in it.

Also Read: Meet Padma Shri Awardee Tulsi Gowda, An Environmentalist Known As ‘Encyclopedia of Forest’

Ms Soreng, who was inspired by her late grandfather and late father, both tribal leaders in their village in Sundergarh district, to understand more about her tribe and gain the wisdom of her ancestors, has dedicated her life towards documenting indigenous practices including healthcare, environment preservation, forest protection, agriculture and lifestyle. She has been working with tribal communities and forest dwellers and is also a part of an initiative called Adivasi Drishyam that creates videos on indigenous wisdom. While talking to NDTV about her work, Ms Soreng said,

It is important to document indigenous practices of the tribal and forest-dwelling communities, and do so in different formats so that these become accessible to all people who want to learn and apply in their daily lives.

Ms Soreng, who did Masters in Regulatory Governance from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) is now working as a Research Officer at TISS Forest Rights and Governance Project, Odisha. She is also an active member of the Official Children and Youth Constituency to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (YOUNGO). She said to NDTV,

Indigenous communities across the globe are extremely vulnerable to climate change despite their sustainable lifestyle because they are completely dependent on the environment. This is why I use research and advocacy to mobilise people to bring the indigenous perspective into climate action.

Indigenous Methods And Tools Show The Way To Living Sustainably: Archana Soreng

As the negotiations at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in the United Kingdom continue, where several countries, including India, are in discussion to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times, Ms Soreng calls for the inclusion of the indigenous communities as the drivers of climate actions for achieving the set targets. Ms Soreng, who is at the COP26 for amplifying the voice of the indigenous people in the climate action discourse and lead the youth in the fight against climate change, said,

Indigenous Peoples should be leaders of climate actions and not victims of climate policies. The methods and tools used by the tribals in their daily lives, for green living, rainwater harvesting, organic farming, preserving the biodiversity, if adopted at a larger scale by other people, it will help in preserving the environment and fighting climate change.

Tribal communities also contribute to providing an alternative in terms of solving the global plastic problem, she said.

They collect leaves from the forest and stitch those together to make plates. They use grass, to make chairs, coconuts to make resistant ropes for beds and twigs to brush their teeth. Because it is biodegradable, it can be an alternative to plastic, which can be adopted by the people in the cities, Ms Soreng added.

She further said that tribal communities do not receive due credit for their contribution towards environment protection and often face exploitation when their products are purchased by retailers as they receive very low compensation compared to the price at which their products are sold to customers. She said that as the world shift towards a more sustainable model, the inputs of tribal communities must be recognised and supported so that they can play a bigger role.

Also Read: Meet Earthshot Prize Winner Whose Innovation Can Address Air Pollution

Indigenous People Are The Guardians Of The Forest: Archana Soreng

According to Ms Soreng, indigenous communities are the pioneers of forest protection efforts. A lot of tribal and forest-dwelling communities follow a practice that is called ‘Thenga-Pali’ in the Odia language.

‘Thenga’ means stick and ‘pali’ means turn. Under this practice, tribal women have been voluntarily guarding the forest against timber smugglers and poachers for decades. Armed with sticks, these women go in a group for patrolling around the forest and after coming back they keep their stick in front of the houses for the next group of women.

Tribal communities are the guardian of forests and cannot be excluded from the efforts to maintain and create new carbon sinks (a forest, ocean, or other natural environment that can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere), she said.

Reclaiming Space For Indigenous Voices On The Global Front

Talking about being a member of UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change and engaging on both local and global front, Ms Soreng said,

I am very grateful and happy. I am here because of my community. I am the second-generation learner in my family. I believe I have been able to access education because of the sacrifices of my family members, ancestors, and my community. I think I have received a great platform to showcase what I emphasised earlier – to have inclusive dialogues, irrespective of race, background and nationality. It gives me a chance to show that we need to respect and value diverse opinions, so I would definitely like to set an example on those lines.

Also Read: Meet Medha Priya, An Architect, Who Is Fighting Climate Change By Making Green & Sustainable Buildings

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

World

26,27,61,966Cases
22,35,18,265Active
3,40,28,506Recovered
52,15,195Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,27,61,966 and 52,15,195 have died; 22,35,18,265 are active cases and 3,40,28,506 have recovered as on December 1, 2021 at 3:56 am.

India

3,45,96,776 8,954Cases
99,0231,520Active
3,40,28,506 10,207Recovered
4,69,247 267Deaths
In India, there are 3,45,96,776 confirmed cases including 4,69,247 deaths. The number of active cases is 99,023 and 3,40,28,506 have recovered as on December 1, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,35,658 678

11,226 299

64,83,435 942

1,40,997 35

Kerala

51,41,814 4,723

44,314 824

50,57,368 5,370

40,132 177

Karnataka

29,96,148 291

6,445 462

29,51,492 745

38,211 8

Tamil Nadu

27,26,917 720

8,244 47

26,82,192 758

36,481 9

Andhra Pradesh

20,72,909 184

2,149 47

20,56,318 134

14,442 3

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,399 12

89 3

16,87,399 8

22,911 1

West Bengal

16,16,083 705

7,731 2

15,88,866 694

19,486 13

Delhi

14,40,934 34

287 2

14,15,549 32

25,098

Odisha

10,49,108 228

2,188 23

10,38,509 203

8,411 2

Chhattisgarh

10,06,813 34

318 0

9,92,902 34

13,593

Rajasthan

9,54,785 15

193 6

9,45,637 9

8,955

Gujarat

8,27,475 40

275 13

8,17,108 27

10,092

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,170 20

119 7

7,82,523 27

10,528

Haryana

7,71,709 17

163 2

7,61,492 19

10,054

Bihar

7,26,223 4

36 3

7,16,524 7

9,663

Telangana

6,75,994 196

3,591 10

6,68,411 184

3,992 2

Assam

6,16,852 144

2,625 30

6,08,124 109

6,103 5

Punjab

6,03,279 21

325 4

5,86,352 22

16,602 3

Jharkhand

3,49,244 12

98 3

3,44,006 9

5,140

Uttarakhand

3,44,255 28

141 9

3,36,706 19

7,408

Jammu And Kashmir

3,36,852 171

1,625 1

3,30,751 172

4,476

Himachal Pradesh

2,27,195 102

834 10

2,22,513 91

3,848 1

Goa

1,78,928 38

284 8

1,75,260 30

3,384

Mizoram

1,35,175 365

3,751 54

1,30,927 415

497 4

Puducherry

1,28,924 31

284 12

1,26,768 43

1,872

Manipur

1,25,205 36

649 6

1,22,579 40

1,977 2

Tripura

84,805 14

81 3

83,900 10

824 1

Meghalaya

84,480 19

294 9

82,713 9

1,473 1

Chandigarh

65,465 9

65 7

64,580 2

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,276 3

35 0

54,961 3

280

Sikkim

32,242 9

124 3

31,715 6

403

Nagaland

32,122 13

133 7

31,293 20

696

Ladakh

21,578 38

276 26

21,088 12

214

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

1 0

10,678

4

Lakshadweep

10,394

24 0

10,319

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,683

6 2

7,548 2

129

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