Will This Friday Be Your Day For Climate Change?

Friday for Climage Change
Image for representation only.

15 year old Greta Thunberg’s started her satyagraha in front of the Swedish Parliament by striking every Friday from her school for Climate Change from August 2018.

Her example inspired children across schools in Europe to call for a school strike for climate change every Friday. Every week the movement is spreading as more school children across the world are joining the protests against inaction.

Greta spoke to the delegates of the United Nations Climate Change COP24 Conference in December. She spoke the truth, from her heart. She told them “I learned you are never too small to make a difference.

And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.”

She added “But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children.

But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet.

Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.”

Greta advised “Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity.

And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself.”

How far are we from treating climate change as a crisis, focus in on what needs to be done and changing the system if solutions can’t be found in the system?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed that India’s will add 3 billion tons of additional carbon absorption capacity and decrease it’s carbon emissions by 30% before 2030. 

Even after three years, his Cabinet Secretary has not issued any notifications to other Ministries or state governments to tell them about the commitment and ask them to ensure their projects and activities will accomplish these goals. 

Greta is right. Clearly we are far from treating climate change crisis as a crisis.

Do we know what needs to be done, not what is politically possible? 

The Ministry of Urban Development is fuelling urbanisation instead of arresting it. Urban infrastructure, consumption and lifestyle is actually the driver for carbon emissions.

Unless the Ministry has a policy to put cities on a diet no exercise plan, they will continue to become obese and increase carbon emissions.

The MInistry of Surface Transportation is building more roads rather than finding how we will need to move goods and people fewer times and across smaller distances. The more roads they build, the more the cement, steel and transportation contributions to the carbon emissions.

Every kilometre of road is a loss of hundreds of 150-300 year old trees that served us for centuries by absorbing atmospheric carbon and fixing it in their barks.

There is no Ministry of Energy that focuses on decreasing the energy demand. The more the demand for energy, the more the carbon emissions.

The Ministry of Power focuses on generation of more electricity, the Petroleum Ministry on the exploration and production of petroleum and natural gas energy. The Ministry of New and Renewable energy on production of more energy, not the management of demand.

You get the drift. We clearly do not know what needs to be done, or we know what needs to be done, but continue to propose “green” growth because, as even 15 year old Greta sees it, it continues to make a few people even more rich and popular.

Clearly, our politicians and bureaucrats are part of a system that cannot solve the climate crisis. Not unless we change the system.

We claim we love our children, our grandchildren but have failed to act when it comes to protecting the world they will have to live in. Greta is highlighting how we are trapped in the short term and forgetting the short now or the lifetime of our children and grandchildren.

What can we do? Greta has shown the way to act in a way that we care. 

It’s upto each of us to join Friday’s for climate to ensure we change the system. The political, bureaucratic, educational, and economic system are of no value if global warming destroys life on Earth.

The political, bureaucratic, educational and economic systems serve no purpose if they cannot protect us from self destruction. Friday is the day to change their focus on cancerous  growth to nourishing a symbiotic relationship with the environment.

Is this Friday, and the next, and the next, your Friday for Climate Change?

P.S. If you haven’t heard Greta Thunberg, Google and watch her on YouTube for your most inspiring 7 minutes today. 

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#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to the same.

Anupam Saraph

Anupam Saraph

Dr. Anupam Saraph grew up in a Pune that was possibly a tenth of its current expanse and every road was lined by 200 year old trees. He’s committed to the cause of de-addicting the short-termers.

He can be reached @AnupamSaraph
Anupam Saraph

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