Climate Change Is Real, And The Time To Act is Now!

WhyOnEarth logo mobEditor’s Note: Are you bothered by the drastic changes in our climate, causing extreme weather events and calamities such as the Kerala Floods? #WhyOnEarth aims to take the truth to the people with stories, experiences, opinions and revelations about the climate change reality that you should know, and act on. Have a story to share? Click here and publish.

By Teja.

The greatest danger to our future is apathy,” said Jane Goodall.

At the risk of sounding cliché, by and large, human disposition to combat existential threats will be to feel that individually we are insignificant, and it is the duty of people of the highest intelligence, wealth, and who are in positions of power to make policies and solve problems of such magnitude. However, every great endeavour begins from a small step. We all need to step up and come together to address the most defining issue of our time: ‘climate change’.

Though we are not finding meteoric changes yet, in our everyday routine, most certainly, we are experiencing death by a thousand cuts, with incremental effects. Ignorance is indeed not bliss in this scenario. As per the United Nations, we only have until 2030 to act, failing which, if the emissions continue to be produced at the same rate, the effects of climate change would presumably be irreversible.

Let Us Act Now And Make The Earth Great Again.

In the immortal words of Frank Sonnenberg, “Even though the world is large, one person can still make a world of difference.

Nearly everything that we do or use on an everyday basis, from our household consumption of water, electricity, plastic, dietary habits to wardrobe choices, electronic usage, commute, though seemingly innocuous, are harming the planet to a great extent. It is easy to overlook these effects when we are already so preoccupied with our daily grind. Nonetheless, it is nothing less than our moral imperative, as the more evolved species and the harbingers of the current destruction on the planet, to take collective action to preserve the planet, in the interest of current and future generations of all humankind and all the other living organisms who have made this planet their home.

Do you think we can be considerate to the environment and rise above our personal convenience for the greater good?

The overabundance of the unnerving information concerning melting of glaciers across the world (Antarctica, Arctic, Himalayas, the Alps), sweltering heat waves, rising sea levels, depleting groundwater levels, and extinction of rare species at an unprecedented rate, points us to a harsh truth—that this is a human induced catastrophe without an iota of doubt. Unlike an asteroid, which most probably caused the fifth mass extinction, we can be reasoned with, we can anticipate the consequences, and we need to get our act together with haste to stop the so called sixth mass extinction which is currently underway.

“No amount of money ever bought a second of time. The wealth that we hand over to our future generations, whether material or immaterial, will amount to nothing if the only life-holding planet in our solar system becomes uninhabitable, as is being foreseen. Everyday should be Earth Day, and our generation’s legacy could be as the ones who stood brave and took bold decisions, or as the ones who has the means and knowledge to save the Earth but simply lacked the will to do so. Which one would you want to contribute to?

All of us may not be able to give up our routine to fight climate change as an activist or adopt a minimalist living, though the current circumstances indisputably calls for such an extremity. However, along with our friends and families, by making simple lifestyle shifts, we can bring down our own personal carbon footprint significantly to the lowest possible extent.

Can We Pledge To Care More About The Planet And Less About Our Convenience?

  • To avoid single-driving in cars, pool as much as possible, and avoid air travel for short distances just because we can afford plane tickets.
  • To not buy new electronics, unless unavoidable.
  • To use, reuse and recycle commodities of any kind to the end of their lives, thereby not wasting any resources.
  • To always carry drinking water in refillable bottles, cloth bags wherever we go, and not buy plastic bottled water and bags.
  • To always donate/barter/swap all our old or unused goods and not send them to the garbage pail just because we can afford.
  • To regulate the urge to shop.
  • To conserve water, electricity and any other form of energy.
  • To give up any and all forms of single-use plastic that we use on a daily basis.

I have taken the pledge to live a more conscious and sustainable life, because it is not just the best of intentions or thoughts that matter, but as J. K. Rowling fittingly put it “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

I rest my case.

The author is a student at ISDM.

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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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