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Climate Crisis May Soon Lead To An Additional 250,000 Deaths Per Year

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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.

A famous Pakistani-born economist, Mahbub ul Haq, once said that people are the wealth of a nation. The phrase emerged to be one of the most exciting contexts to be prevalent in the realms of the twenty-first century. Originating then, Mahbub ul Haq, along with the Indian Economist Amartya Sen, drafted the first Human Development Report in the year 1990.

According to a report by the United Nations Development Programme, India ranked 129 among 189 countries in the 2019 human development index.

The primary goal of the draft was to investigate ways on how humans may evolve together with the science, economy, policy, and sustainability to ensure a perfect coexistence. Their first report, which was published in the same year, cited, “The basic objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives. This may appear to be a simple truth. But it is often forgotten in the immediate concern with the accumulation of commodities and financial wealth.”

Today, the Human Development Report is independent documentation prepared by
amalgamation with the ideas of scholars, industrialists, and people in business, headed by the United Nations Development Program aiming to revolve economy, policy, and advocacy around the people. The origination recognizes the program as “an independent intellectual exercise” and “an important tool for raising awareness about human development around the world.”

With the participation of more than 140 counties, in due course of time has led to the evolution of the program significantly. The emergence of several issues and the challenges to solve them has prompted the Human Development Report to introduce several novel indices such as the Human Development Index, the Gender-related Development Index, the Gender Empowerment Measure, the Human Poverty Index, the Gender Inequality Index, and the Multidimensional Poverty Index.

Every year, the reports have a new agenda to address, which unfolds and modifies every year. The lists of global announcements have been provided below since its inception from the year 1990.

  • 2019: Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: Inequalities in human development
    in the 21st century
  • 2018: Human Development Indices and Indicators.
  • 2016: Human Development the Way ahead.
  • 2015: Work for Human Development
  • 2014: Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience
  • 2013: The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World
  • 2011: Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All
  • 2010: The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development
  • 2009: Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development
  • 2007/2008: Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world
  • 2006: Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis
  • 2005: International cooperation at a crossroads: Aid, trade, and security in an unequal world
  • 2004: Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World
  • 2003: Millennium Development Goals: A Compact Among Nations to End Human Poverty
  • 2002: Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World
  • 2001: Making New Technologies Work for Human Development
  • 2000: Human Rights and Human Development
  • 1999: Globalization with a Human Face
  • 1998: Consumption for Human Development
  • 1997: Human Development to Eradicate Poverty
  • 1996: Economic Growth and Human Development
  • 1995: Gender and Human Development
  • 1994: New Dimensions of Human Security
  • 1993: People’s Participation
  • 1992: Global Dimensions of Human Development
  • 1991: Financing Human Development
  • 1990: Concept and Measurement of Human Development

A human development report further widens the scope to study on the equalities. The report seeks to find an answer on what is causing the inequalities, why it is being generated, and how to prevent the same from further epidemics. For instance, if we assume that the examination system in our country is not correctly oriented, the human development report shall fabricate the reasons on why this is being caused (maybe because of the structure of the course and curriculum), how it is created (perhaps due to the lack of efforts from the administration) and how it can be alleviated (possibly by engaging the teachers and administration in emphasizing more on a research-based open-end study than keeping the loop bounded by examination).

However, the opportunities to explore these problems create various augmented problems which may induce a downfall in the economic stability, finally leading to some form of political dominance. The generation of a political dominance along with an accelerated deprivation in the equilibrium state may influence detrimental results to the entire human civilization, even if curative measures are taken into consideration.

Of course, to prevent the problems transiting into political empowerment, various countries with the help from the human development program adopt different policies on how to curb the preliminary issues. As each country functions differently, there is no standard policy that can fit into the entire problem simultaneously. The human development group also provides the necessary framework which links a country’s functioning to the strategies they may adopt.

The human development report (2019) claims that between 2030 and 2050, climate change may cause an additional 250,000 deaths a year.

Amidst all, most of the countries confront two fundamental inequalities that shape human
development: climate change and the rapid progress in the field of science/technology. From a
perspective of emissions to the consequences on the polices and ways to prevent them, climate change, human development inequality, and climate crisis are linked with each other. The higher
ecological footprints can be attributed to the countries with a higher number of social development factors since they catalyze the release of carbon per person heavily.

A human development factor more substantial than 0.8 may be tagged to a very high developing country, for instance, India. And this is evident from the correlation since we, as the citizens of this
country, know the amount of carbon liberated in India per person. Apart from the current crisis registered due to climate change, including crop failures and natural disasters, climate drift influences human development in various other active and passive ways.

The published report (2019) claims that between 2030 and 2050, climate change may cause an additional 250,000 deaths a year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. Malaria is a typical mosquito supplemented disease which crucially depends on the climate. A mosquito-favorable atmosphere shall induce the escalation of malaria. Reports say that climate change occurs much faster than mutations in our body, thus leaving no opportunity for our cells to become inherently resistant towards malaria.

Many of the developing countries are based on tropical regions, and assertions hold that the exposure and the vulnerability to fatal vector-borne diseases are likely to prompt anomalies quickly as compared to the others. These counties, owing to their investments in the development, have much less capacity to adapt to these crises, which may further ruin the existing social and economic pathways. The high-income inequality within the countries possessing a higher development index can limit the penetration of novel environmentally friendly technology.

With this context, there are various factors in which analysis of the inequalities in human development is linked to the climate crisis. They act similar to a resistive force on effective action because higher imbalances progressively evolve to make collective action, the key to curbing climate change both within and across countries, more arduous. Yet, there are ways to address both the problems of climate change and economic transitions together, which can efficiently drive a country towards sustainability, keeping its ongoing development in motion.

For instance, optimizing the carbon pricing is one of the strategies which may be employed. The
biased distribution of the carbon pricing (in a specific condition) may be alleviated by providing financial support to poor people who are affected by higher energy bills. However, strategies like
the above one have faced severe drawbacks in the past since the money turns out to be one of the
acting variables in the entire scenario.

The organizations have to adopt policies that can be applied in the broader perspective of human
rights. The social policy sets must be amended regularly to evolve simultaneously with the demands and rising challenges.

As L.C. Megginson rightly said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive,
but those who can best manage change,” the Human Development Report aims to work on the
same improvising their agendas every year.

Editor’s note: Do you want to know where India stands in the Human Development Index (2019)? You can access the report, released on December 9 (2019), here.

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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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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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