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Doomsday Is Near, And I Hope Science And Technology Will Be Able To Save Us All

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Once it was a ‘poet’s fiction’ to fly in the sky, to go beyond the stars and to call them ‘diamonds’ in the sky, to go close to the moon. Science made the poets’ dream come true.

I was always eager to see new things. I was always excited to go to a fair – and I liked to ride in a toy airplane, that could take me to the sky and beyond. I loved to gaze at the bright stars against a clear black sky, and watch a pleasant night washed by the rain. I thought that they were made of fireflies, and I wanted to grab some of them, and put in my pocket. I’ve read in the storybook that shooting stars fall on earth and turn into white flowers. So I kissed the white flowers, and thought that I had kissed the stars. I was told that during the eclipses, the moon and the sun were swallowed by demons – and therefore, I wanted to defeat the demons so that they couldn’t eat them.

We started our journey with our tiny legs – and now, we’ve covered millions of miles. We are nomads! We love to travel! Explore! See new things! Why do we have joints in our limbs and spine? Just to push ourselves further! Our skull holds only 1350 cc of the brain, but our curiosity is infinite – and it is expanding, just like the universe. We too have undiscovered forces inside us. We are made of ‘universe material’! We are the universe!

Yes – we live on that tiny ‘pale blue dot’ (as Carl Sagan puts it) in this big universe or multiverse, but… we are the ‘topmost’ life-forms present on it. Our journey seems to be ‘outwards’ – and it is, but it also lies deep in our thoughts and feelings. When we throw ourselves in an uncertain, inexperienced ‘space’, we look ‘inside’ for the deepest vital answers. We are unveiling the biggest secrets of the universe, with our tiny mind and body.

I am mesmerised by the beauty of secrets. I want to know what I don’t know. I want to go across the universe, and want to find new places like our ancestors did. They came out from the dark caves, explored the world, and found better places for us to flourish. I would do the same for my children.

Life on earth is all about ensuring existence – a continuous effort to transfer DNA to new cells before its protoplasm is destroyed. We pass our ‘genome’ to the next generation, to achieve the ‘immortality’ of DNA. We are living in an uncertain universe. There are an infinite reasons that could wipe out our existence – and they are all just around us. As living beings on earth, I think our grit to save our existence is the highest. And we will surely go ‘far’ to save our existence. We will not go extinct! We’ll survive!

Why did these complex, precise, beautiful-looking things happen in the universe? Why did the universe ‘happen’ at all? How big is it? What are those undefined experiences? What happened before the Big Bang? What does a black hole look like? What is dark matter made of? What’s on the sun? Well, right now, we don’t know all the secrets. But someday, we’ll find them.

But, what I know for sure is that we are ruining this beautiful system of the universe – the pale blue dot, that is home to billions of life-forms including us. We are affecting our ecosystem so badly that we ourselves have become a threat to our own existence.

Is this really the future of our beautiful planet? (Representative image)

Science, knowledge and technology have enormous constructive power. What we call ‘man-made’ has come into existence because of this power – something that can even be seen from and in space. But, due to vicious, arrogant human activities on a massive scale, the earth is suffering from severe consequences – and so are its billions of inhabitants.

The power of knowledge and science can save our lives. It can tell us about rain, sunshine, wind, snow, storms, earthquakes, meteors and meteoroids, so that we can plan accordingly. It can connect us to our loved ones; it can help us find our lost ones; it can open the gates to a new world; it can give us joy and it can cure our pain. But if we use it for destruction, we commit a crime against earth and nature. We have created so much destructive power that it’s enough to destroy every single thing (beautiful or ugly) on the earth’s surface. And we are not stopping!

So, doomsday is near and we must seek asylum. However, when the doomsday clock will ring the final knell again, I hope science and technology will help living beings to save their existence.

But, when ‘the survival of the fittest’ is the criterion for ‘natural selection’, then who will get access to the ‘Noah’s Ark’ to leave earth forever?

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Featured image used for representative purposes only.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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