Climate activists to be part of Delhi govt’s ‘green’ initiatives

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Climate youth activists, who had protested before the Delhi Chief Minister’s office a week ago, have decided to participate in green programmes and activities initiated by the state government for a bigger impact on the environment front in the long run.

“Post our group members’ meeting with V.K. Tripathi (Advisor to Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai) at Delhi Secretariat, we reached a conclusion that youth and the government need to work together in order to tackle the climate-related problems arising in the national capital,” a Fridays For Future (FFF) member told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Hundreds of environmental activists had marched from the ITO Metro station to Delhi Secretariat on September 24 to mark the ‘Global Climate Strike’ week and learn of the status of their list of demands presented to the Delhi government on March 19.

“Due to time constraints, only three topics, including air pollution caused due to stubble burning, could be discussed at length. V.K. Tripathi told us about the number of initiatives taken by the Delhi government and admitted that they could not get a lot of media attention around them and that is why they are still not popular among the youth,” a FFF member said pointing ‘Nature-Trail’ and ‘Eco-Club’ as the activities mentioned by the Delhi government official.

“V.K. Tripathi advised us to go through newspapers and government digital portals regularly and take ecological surveys along with state officials to learn more about such programmes,” the FFF member added.

“We assured him that 10,000 youth associated with the FFFD (Fridays For Future Delhi) would surely think of ways to contribute. A copy of the demands was submitted to both Tripathi and the Delhi administration. One copy with the official signature and complaint number is with the FFFD Team,” said a statement issued by FFFD.

An open virtual meet in this matter will take place on October 1 wherein the other climate groups will be informed about the meeting and a future course of action will be planned.

This FFFD member seemed more hopeful after the meeting.

Another climate activist and a student said, “I don’t think our demands will be considered because this is what happened last time as well. Reena Gupta (Advisor to Delhi government) had signed our draft in March and told us that they will get back to us in a month’s time. In April, India was hit by the second wave of Covid-19 and nothing happened even after the infection rate subsided.”

The demand draft in focus was prepared by the young activists of FFF and Youth for Climate (YFC), India. It emphasised the need to reinvigorate participatory mechanisms around development projects by means of revitalising the ward sabhas, eliminating systematic encroachment via local communities participation in deciding what’s best for their area, carrying out a tree census, formulating a heat action plan to prevent heat-related deaths, systemic reform in waste management practice, starting the six packages under interceptor sewer project (ISP) for a cleaner Yamuna and reduction in use of private vehicles.

During the protest held in March 2021, Srijani Dutta, a YFC activist and a sociology student at The Hindu College, Delhi University, was one of the few people who had met Reena Gupta.

“Our petition was signed and we were asked for a month’s time for the petition to be reviewed. Inside the Secretariat, there was a very tokenistic response of signing the copy of demands. However, nothing followed afterwards. Therefore, this time we wanted the Delhi government officials to come outside the Secretariat so that they could be held accountable in front of everyone.”

As the debate around climate change and global warming started gaining momentum across the world, a series of strikes and protests were proposed to be organised on a chosen day or week by several global, national and local environment groups at their respective places.

The aim of these series of protests taking place every six months is to highlight the green issues to their elected representatives, asking them to act upon the climate change crisis on an emergency basis.

Although the protests toned down due to the Covid-19 pandemic for the last two years, the climate activists between 19-30 years were as active as ever with their street art, recycled placards with catchy phrases and pride flags raised outside the Delhi Chief Minister’s Office.

Similar protests were carried out in 17 other locations, including Bengaluru, Jammu, Patna, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Agra, Meerut, Kolkata, Thane, Thiruvananthapuram, among others.

These climate movements are inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

–IANS

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