Climate Change Will Spare Nothing, Definitely Not Our Jobs

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Climate change is real.

What we might or not have realised yet is that climate change would affect more than just our environment and temperatures. Our global economy and a large number of jobs across the world depend on climate systems and biodiversity for existence. Given the current state of emergency of climate change, it is pretty evident that the world has little time to tackle the depletion of natural resources, not only for our survival physically, but also economically.

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE) held in 1972 was the first International convention held on environmental discussions. While the consecutive versions of this conference have been held in the years to follow, the agenda of the conference discussions have varied right from the reduction of the extraction of non-renewable resources, to smarter management of the planet’s natural supplies of biodiversity and freshwater.

According to the current estimates of the International Labour Organisation, it has now become essential to reduce businesses that involve emission of carbon dioxide as part of their functioning, since continued emission would lead to decrease in labour productivity due to extreme weather conditions, and lead to an average decrease of 7% in economic growth in the next decade.

Our inefficiency and insufficiency in curbing waste production will lead to an extreme amount of waste accumulation, which will further pollute the air, water as well as the soil. Once these are polluted we will become more prone to facing premature illnesses and deaths due to exposure to poor quality air, contaminated water, and nutrition-compromised food.

While curbing the depletion of natural resources becomes an obvious issue of extreme importance, we have to also focus on the fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world depend on agriculture, forests, and seacoasts for their livelihood. With the rapid extinction of species and reduction in viable landscapes, there are hundreds of millions of people who are exposed to unemployment.

Just to ideate on a few sectors that will be affected:

Agriculture

China and India alone constitute about 60% of the world’s total agricultural labour force of over 1 billion people. With drastic changes in the weather conditions, rain patterns, incidences of droughts and floods, it is inevitable that the agricultural workforce would have to identify parallel agricultural techniques or transform into labour with a separate set of skills.

Travel And Tourism

The travel industry employs 8% of the global workforce directly or indirectly. With the melting of glacial ice, changes in sea levels, and extremism in temperatures, the coastal countries that heavily survive on tourism would have to find alternate modes of income.

Energy

Regulations on fossil fuel extraction would heavily affect the lucrative business of coal, oil, and gas, thus heavily affecting the workforce involved in it.

Beverages

The beverage industry (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic) at various magnitudes depend very heavily on natural water as a key raw material and for their processing. With the depletion in the quantities of potable and groundwater, this industry is bound to be affected.

Fishing

Commercial fishing is a highly lucrative business, but ironically, even with the rise in sea levels, this industry is going to be adversely affected owing to the addition of pollutants to the water, the acidification of the oceans makes it hard for a lot of edible species to survive.

Now, when we say we are exposing millions to unemployment, one situation that becomes mandatory to solve is to provide replacement jobs to the staff of such industries. For many recent years, creating jobs that are sustainable and ‘clean‘ have been misconstrued as jobs that have to be created with a compromise on economic growth as a means of conserving the environment. Today, we have got to know better.

With every difficulty, comes an opportunity. The simple solution to the loss of jobs caused by the alarming rate of depletion in the natural resources is to promote more and more industries that offer sustainable solutions since such industries become powerhouses for the provision of clean and lasting jobs. They not only provide heterogeneous work environments but also ensure that environmental integrity is maintained while we are busy worrying about the socioeconomic perspective.

It has now become more necessary than ever for efficient governance to ensure that manpower that is lying dormant with this necessary transition is trained well to possess skills to easily fit into the economic migration and be future-ready. The loss of jobs provides the global economy with tremendous potential of quality labour and it is highly essential to harness this potential to ensure economic stability while ensuring environmental stability.

A substantial number of oilfield and coal miners have lost their jobs in the last decade, with the reduction in the availability of resources, but solar and wind energy companies have had a significant rise in their outspread employment opportunities.

Since 2014, hydroelectric, solar, wind and bio thermal energy industries have churned out a large number of jobs. There were 11 million people employed in clean energy jobs just in 2018. In the same way that employees are slowly shifting towards green energy jobs, we will have to put the right people with the right set of skills in the right industries across the world.

Well, easier said than done.

The governments and global institutions will have to chalk up policies to ensure social and economic securities to mitigate the effects of such migration. Educating the masses and building required skill sets in them would be a challenge that will have to be taken in the stride, given the age-old history of humankind adapting to changes, be it agriculture and crop patterns, alternate means of energy production and utilization, development of biodegradable daily-use items, to name a few.

It is essential to seek and earn the interest of the workforce to ensure that our economy that is having a downfall due to the destructive effects of climate change and global warming, can spring back up with the advent and advancement of clean and green jobs.

 The only way to have a future with stable economic growth and a good standard of living would be to do every little thing in our power to preserve and conserve the natural resources that keep us going. When we have economical trade wars dividing us, what we need to understand is that the most urgent emergency is to unite as one big family to fight the alarming rise in global temperatures, because there will be no economy without a planet.

It’s now or never. Climate change is real. If you still don’t want to believe in it, and you still want to act like ignoring it would make it go away, then you should rather study or work for a future you won’t even have. 

Created by Priyanka Ganeriwal

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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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