This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Ridhi Kalra. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Climate Change Is Not Even ‘Real’, So Let’s Netflix And Chill!

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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.

*Disclaimer: This article is intended to be a satire.

Hey! How are you all? How is the weather out there? Let me ask this specifically of Delhiites? How are the weather Gods treating you? After all, Delhi’s AQI is broke all records, as well as topped all the prime time news slots. So, I am curious to know the mango peoples’ verdict here.

Image result for delhi air pollution
India Gate captured trapped in Delhi smog

Are you so accustomed to tying up your scarves or wearing your anti-pollution masks or your chick aviators, and plugging in your headphones, that the weather does not seem to bother you anymore? I hope all your modular chimneys, air and water purifiers, and detox diets are giving you good results.

After all, why wouldn’t they? We are trying desperately to be number one in everything. And that is the sole reason we are breaking our own records, whether it’s the hottest day, the coldest day, the extra rainfall or no rainfall. We are proudly, very very proudly, surpassing our own records.

See I will tell you a secret; a hushed secret. Please keep it to yourself. The Amazon burning or the Antarctic melting or the most recent story of 52kgs waste found in a cow’s stomach; this is all a hoax. These are just childish, juvenile techniques to trick our minds. The environmentalists, the researchers, the meteorological department; in fact, all the people out there in the entire world, who are trying to create awareness on protecting the environment, are all conmen, who have lots of spare time. It is my earnest request; please don’t fall into their traps.

After all, isn’t it routine for us? This year, the burning of forests or flooding of rivers or deforestation or water scarcity or declining of fossil fuels or near extinction of rare species are on the rise. But you and I both know that there is nothing to worry about. We will do some extra rituals, some extra prayers, deposit some extra cents in the temple boxes, carry out some extra ‘yagyas’ (worship, offering) and ‘mahayagyas’, and all this will be taken care of. This is no big deal for us. Correct? Ya. It is so simple. Why break our heads over something as trivial as the climate and the environment, which we live in? Why not rather watch some documentaries about this on Netflix or Hotstar? That will be more beneficial.

All the statistical data regarding the detrimental effect of plastics on our marine world and our scenic beauty spots is rubbish. Anyone can make a pie chart and a PowerPoint presentation with a click. (I am a tech disaster but even I can make such presentations.) In fact, all the photographs showing birds mistakenly feeding cigarette butts to their young ones, and fishes failing to distinguish between their food and the plastic trash being thrown away in oceans are all photoshopped. Anything and everything is possible in our tech world after all.

More so, the metro cities turning into gas cylinders with zero visibility and people involuntarily inhaling smoke equivalent to smoking 30- 40 cigarettes a day is also senseless. After all, we have super ultra-tech lungs and bodies which are so efficiently resilient and pretty immune to everything. And by everything I mean smoke, pollution, chemically and genetically modified fruits and vegetables, untimely rains and droughts, water scarcity, underground water levels going down constantly; just simply everything.

We are above all this. We have artificial foods, multivitamins, protein powders, sunblocks, 3-4 layers anti-pollution masks, air detoxifiers etc., to shield ourselves from all the stuff I mentioned above.

To top it all, the studies on air and noise pollution affecting the unborn babies in the womb or premature or complicated births are all a farce.

And the slowly setting trend of antinatalism is just another hashtag, which will have a short-lived lifespan, like any other hashtag. It should be simply treated as just another hashtag, and not as an eye-opener of the insensitivity we have harvested towards our sustainable ecological existence, so much so, that people are deciding against procreation altogether.

Creating awareness about saving trees, stopping the usage of single-use plastics, segregating wastes for their proper disposal, all in all curbing carbon emissions, and saving water, just looks good in the posters and paintings made by school children, and befits very well in their dramas and plays. It is not meant for adults. After all, you have 1001 other things to worry about, including helping or drawing those awareness charts and posters for your kids, because you want them to win any competition they participate in. I am sure that you will gather all the information and resources to make a perfect model for your child. Yes or no?

Surprisingly, I have seen numerous such printouts of ‘why save the environment’, ‘the importance of trees’ and ‘water scarcity’ at the printer tables of the corporate offices, where I have worked. My colleagues and the proud parents of the children who might have won those competitions used to print these out, before leaving the office.

I can carry on with my satire, but that won’t help much, because firstly, not many of us have this much time to read such a long article. Secondly, my intention is to shake you, wake you, push you, pull you, and make you realise that before carbon emissions are uncontrollably on a rise, before air becomes more poisonous, and the water becomes more acidic, and noises become more deafening; please start doing your part, not for anyone else, but for yourselves, and your families.

Have a heart, people. Please have a heart for yourself, your fellow beings, and your future generations.

We can still make a change and can prevent further damage if not reverse it. Yes, we can.

Still hopeful!!!!!!!!!

 

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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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