“This word is LiFE, which means ‘Lifestyle For Environment’. Today, there is a need for all of us to come together and take Lifestyle For Environment forward as a campaign. This can become a mass movement towards an environmentally conscious lifestyle,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) that happened in Glasgow in 2021, where he announced the initiate of Mission LiFE.
What Is Mission LiFE?
It is a global initiative and India’s way to combat climate change and promote sustainable living to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and build a mass movement for “mindful and deliberate utilization, instead of mindless and destructive consumption” to protect and preserve the environment. India is the first country to include LiFE in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which is a climate action plan to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Explaining the motto of the campaign, at the launch PM Modi also said,
“India will put forward and propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on its traditions and the values of conservation and moderation, including through a mass movement for LIFE, as a key to combating climate change.”
To reiterate the importance of the campaign, this year, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has said that India will celebrate the World Environment Day 2023 with a thrust on the concept of Mission LiFE.
As the world gears up to mark World Environment Day on June 5, here’s a quick lowdown on Mission LiFE initiative:
Aim Of Mission LiFE Campaign
According to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and NITI Aayog, the campaign aims to do the following:
1. Nudge individuals and communities to practice a lifestyle that is synchronous with nature and does not harm it
2. Build an environment-friendly culture and traditional practices in India to bring down the carbon footprint per person. According to the environment ministry, the average carbon footprint per person in India is 1.8 tonnes per year, as compared to the global average of 4.5 tonnes
3. The campaign seeks to translate the vision of LiFE into measurable impact. It is designed with the objective to mobilise at least one billion Indians and other global citizens to take individual and collective action for protecting and conserving the environment in the period 2022–28
4. The campaign also aims to make at least 80 percent of all Indian villages and urban local bodies environment-friendly by 2028
Mission LiFE – A Phase Wise Implementation
The mission is being incubated, curated and piloted by NITI Aayog and subsequently implemented by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Between the 2022-23 year, Mission LiFE aims to bring a change in demand, by nudging individuals, communities and institutions to practise simple environment-friendly actions (LiFE actions) in their daily lives. Some of the LiFE actions include the following:
- Use LED bulbs/ tube-lights
- Use public transport wherever possible
- Take the stairs instead of an elevator wherever possible
- Switch off vehicle engines at red lights and railway crossings
- Use bicycles for local or short commute
- Switch off irrigation pumps after use
- Prefer CNG/ Electric vehicle over petrol/ diesel vehicles
- Adopt cultivation of less water intensive crops like millets
- Practice crop diversification. Move from rice and wheat cultivation to pulse and oil seed cropping system
- Include millets in diets through Anganwadi, Mid-Day meal and Public Distribution scheme
- Compost food waste at home
- Create kitchen gardens/ terrace gardens at homes/ schools/ offices
- Practise segregation of dry and wet waste at homes
- Use agricultural residue, animal waste for composting, manuring and mulching
Key Performance Indicators and Targets
The government has also put the key performance indicators and corresponding targets for Mission LiFE campaign from 2022–28. The targets are as shown in the picture
Highlighting the benefits of Mission LiFE campaign, the government states that when one billion Indians in 2022-23 to 2027-28 follow LiFE actions, it can significantly improve the condition of the environment.
Why Mission LiFE Is The Need Of The Hour
Transitioning from throwaway culture to a circular economy is imperative, studies and researchers have time and again highlighted this fact and that’s where campaign like Mission LiFE comes into the picture.
According to World Health Organization, without timely action for climate change, globally, 800 million to 3 billion people are projected to experience chronic water scarcity due to droughts at 2°C warming.
World Economic Forum states that global economy could lose up to 18% of GDP by 2050 without urgent action by all.
Though, several policy reforms have been implemented globally to address environmental degradation and climate change, however, it is individual actions, along with involvement of communities and institutions that are required as changing individual and community behaviour alone can have a significant impact on the environmental and climate crises.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), if 1 out of 8 billion people worldwide adopt environment-friendly behaviours in their daily lives, global carbon emissions could drop upto 20 per cent. The 2020 UNDP report ‘The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene’ also states that, “Humans wield more power over the planet than ever before. In the wake of COVID-19, record-breaking temperatures, and spiraling inequality, it is time to use that power to redefine what we mean by progress, where our carbon and consumption footprints are no longer hidden.”
The report authored by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in cooperation with Indian government, businesses and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also states that circular economy for India can generate around Rs 14 lakh crore of additional cost savings by 2030.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the 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 population, indigenous 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 (Water, Sanitation 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, which 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 pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual 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.