Earth is under the grip of climate change which, in turn, is the result of increasing level of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs)—due to deforestation, urbanization, industrialization, pollution and increasing human population. Melting of polar ice caps, oceanic acidification, increasing global temperature, flood, drought, increasing sea level, and depleting biodiversity are important impacts of “Climate Change”. Anthropogenic activities are raising the level of CO2 by about two parts per million a year in the atmosphere.
According to the Centre For Research On The Epidemiology Of Disaster (CRED) & UNISDR, people exposed to natural hazards in low-income countries are seven times more prone to deaths, and six times more prone to injuries or displacement compared to equivalent populations in high-income countries.
According to the IPCC 2014 report, the damage caused by climate change will increase as temperatures rise, and it will affect vulnerable populations through food insecurity, higher food prices, income losses, lost livelihood opportunities, adverse health impacts, and population displacements.
Climate change threatens to create a vicious cycle for the world’s poor, as further warming pushes more people into poverty, increasing their vulnerability to climate impacts. Extreme weather threatens critical services like electricity, housing, food production and water supply. According to UNISDR, climate-related and geographical disasters have killed 1.3 million people worldwide and injured 4.4 billion in the last 20 years.
Globally, floods are the most frequent natural disaster, affecting the highest number of people across the biggest geographical area. According to NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority), India is highly vulnerable to flooding with more than 40 million hectares or 12% of India’s total geographical area prone to floods. So, we must develop a better and natural “GHG Sink system” to achieve 350 ppm CO2 level in the atmosphere. Trees are the “Best Natural Sinks” of CO2 on land and will be helpful to tackle climate change.
I started the Red Tape Movement as an anti-deforestation awareness movement to save trees and biodiversity, when I was posted as the District Savings Officer of District Etawah (Uttar Pradesh, India), on June 5, 2008.
Under this movement, especially on holiday, we choose a village or community place and do a plantation drive, tie red tapes on existing tree trunks with the help of people and administer an “oath to save nature”. We deliver the message that cutting trees will be lethal for us and our generations to come. Since 2008, we have tied red tapes on thousands of trees and made people at grassroots aware of climate change and the importance of nature conservation. The Red Tape Movement is working actively to achieve the UN’s SDG 13.
The Red Tape Movement was also the global partner for the “Rise For Climate” global event and had organised the event in more than 350 education departments of rural schools through “Teachers Club Uttar Pradesh” and “Mission Shikshan Samvad Uttar Pradesh”. About 10,000 students and teachers participated in this event on September 8, 2018. The general-secretary of “Teachers Club Uttar Pradesh”, Mr Avanindra Jadaun (District Etawah) led the event along with Mr Vimal Kumar, Teacher in Junior High School (District Kanpur Dehat). On September 8th, rural schools, in throughout Uttar Pradesh, participated in a plantation drive aimed at making students and villagers aware of environment conservation and climate change. Students tied red tapes on tree trunks and took an “oath” to save trees and biodiversity, and to live an environment-friendly life.
This year the Red Tape Movement is running a “Saplings to Trees” awareness drive in primary schools in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. “Care After Plantation” is critical because, after plantation, people rarely go back to look at the status of the seedlings they planted; hence, the saplings often die. Trees give us life; it’s our duty to look after them as our family members.
The “Saplings to Trees” drive will encourage people at grassroots to help the saplings grow into trees. About 50,000 teachers and 500,000 students are expected to participate in the drive between August 14 to October 2, 2019. Mission Shikshan Samvad and Teachers Club Uttar Pradesh are the main organisers of this drive, which is running successfully in schools. From August 14 to September 18, 2019, two provinces, 70 districts, more than 3000 schools, 8000 teachers, 200,000 students and 1 million of their family members have been covered.
Red Tape Movement is also participating in other international events. For the recent “Global Climate Strike” between September 20–27 in different regions of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the students and teachers organised an awareness program for the villagers to bring home the message of saving and protecting saplings after plantation. Students, teachers, residents, police, religious heads, officers, local leaders and inmates in jail—all are participating for a better future!
Some pictures from the event:
We are at a tipping point. Now, we can’t live with energy from fossil fuels. 21st Century is the “Century Of Climate Change”, and it’s time to re-empower our communities with clean and renewable energy so that we can make it the “Century Of Renewable Energy”. Anything less than this is out of line.
“United” we can save earth from Climate Change, through such peoples participatory grass root awareness movements and by living an eco-friendly life, for our future generations to come.