New Delhi: ‘You’ll die of old age, I’ll die of climate change,’ was the hard-hitting message that young environmentalists decided to put across this World Environment Day. On Tuesday, a crowd of children braved the sweltering heat of Delhi and gathered at Jantar Mantar to draw attention to the pressing environmental problems that are slowly and steadily inflicting irreversible damage to the planet. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old teenage climate activist from Sweden, who initiated the global movement of students, around 250 children participated in an event called ‘Climategiri’. It was a peaceful protest to make people aware of the dire situation that the Earth is in today.
The children used creative mediums of expression to draw people’s attention towards the cause. They performed circus art, flash mob, nukkad natak (street plays), beatboxing, skits and solo guitar performance to raise their concern about the ailing planet they have inherited from the generation before them. A planet, which is overwhelmed with pollution and almost drained of all its energy resources.
Brother Steve Rocha, the National Convener of Nine is Mine campaign, under which the event was organised said,
The event turned into a colourful festival dedicated to asking for change.
‘Don’t waste fossil fuels, don’t be fossil fools’, ‘Planet nahi toh future nahi’, and ‘We are missing our lesson, so we can teach you one!’ were some of the slogans printed on placards that the children held in their hands hoping that one of them would force people to think about the greatest threat that haunts humankind today- Global warming.
Standing under the sun, for a cause they believe in, each one of these young environmentalists had their own little solutions and opinions about the issue in hand.
Vishal, a 17-year-old protestor demanded that there should be a change in vocabulary while talking about climate change. He urged people to use more sensitive and expressive terms like ‘Climate Justice’, ‘Climate Emergency’ and ‘Climate Crisis’.
Meanwhile, understanding how an unregulated use of plastic continues to choke the planet that she calls home, 10-year-old Anjali demanded a ban on one-time use of plastics. Manisha Jeevan, the Minister for Climate Justice of the YASH Child Parliament asserted,
We will be organising ‘Climategiri’ every month leading up to November where we aim to gather 1000s children on the streets of Jantar Mantar demanding Climate Action and Protection of our future.
This was the third edition of ‘Climategiri’ organised by children themselves, along with schools, child-rights organisations, youth volunteer groups, and environmental societies.
Rapidly rising temperature, frequent droughts in various parts of the world, severe tropical storms and alarmingly melting glaciers and sea ice, all of these indicate that the unfettered and careless human actions over the last several years have managed to suffocate the planet that we live in.
According to the United Nations (UN), the last four years were the hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3 degree Celsius since 1990.
As a result of this, sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and human beings are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through pollution, heat waves and food security. It is time for damage control. And that is exactly what these children stand for- a healthier planet.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.