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We Need To Revoke Every Policy And Action That Causes Damage To Biodiversity

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The aim to preserve life on land is one of the sustainability goals and to achieve this by 2030, we need to revoke every policy and action that causes damage to biodiversity and most importantly, adopt the sustainable use of the ecosystem. This means to limit the usage of natural resources by protecting and providing provisions for future generations, thereby preventing the environment from long term decline.

The first step to the goal is to withdraw activities that make it hard for the present and future generations to live on the earth. American author David C Korten in his book The Great Turning had discussed how all the living beings depend on one another and adapt and evolve through times. In the book, he refers to the studies of Lynn Margulies and Dorian Sagan about the cooperative alliances between different species to overcome the risk of extinction. The author believes in such kind of cooperation from the present world to adapt and improvise while dealing with climate change.

Fast Facts

To understand the depth of the issue and significance of cooperation, we should consider certain facts about the earth.

  • Mountain regions provide 60-80% of freshwater on the earth. Climate change is affecting the mountain regions by melting glaciers; thus, the river water flow is altering and results in intense flooding and drought. This would also lead to a drastic decline in freshwater sources.
  • Roughly 2/4 of the world’s population depends on agriculture for livelihood. High levels of changes in temperature and an increase in CO2 emissions create soil disturbances and low productivity.
  • Substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is possible through natural climate solutions. This nature-based climate solution is a method of storing more carbon in the terrain and reducing its emissions.  Already, coastal areas, grasslands, and forests store a considerable amount of carbon. Therefore by increasing the storage,  emissions can be reduced.
  • Forest resources are the livelihood of about 1.6 billion indigenous people. Almost 3.6 billion hectares subject to desertification and 13 million hectares of forests are cleared every year. This creates a sociological dilemma of taking away the livelihood of indigenous people and environmental issues like rising temperatures and resource depletion. Also, about 80% of terrestrial species like plants, insects, and animals reside in forests.

Goals To Be Attained

All the different terrestrial species, forests, mountain regions, coastal areas, and freshwater sources are essential elements for our existence and well being. Erosion of these elements is the reason behind the severe climate change. The United Nations Environmental Protection Agency has certain goals to achieve by the year 2030. The answer to where exactly are we at the mission is quite depressing, and the ideals are not free from criticisms.

Yet, the amount of reduction in pollution due to the Covid-19 lockdown and the positive change on the ozone layer is a hint that if the goals are properly practiced it can have a substantial improvement in the natural system. The following are the sustainability goals to be attained:

  • Halt desertification by conservation of land and soil.
  • Prevent deforestation and ensure the increase in afforestation and reforestation.
  • Sustainable management of ecosystems, particularly the mountain regions, drylands, and forests.
  • Protect all species from extinction and evade the trafficking of flora and fauna as well as preserve their habitats.
  • Giving primacy to the ecosystem in international, national, and local planning.
  • Supporting and protecting the life and livelihood of indigenous communities.
  • Promote equitable and limited utilization of resources. And,
  • Increase financial support for maintaining the sustainability goal.

The threats of climate change have rocketed in the past few years, making it impossible to do away with it or act carelessly like politicians and corporations. Climate Change is a now or never situation in which the decisions from authorities and individuals will, either way, have an immeasurable impact on the environment in the coming years.

Problems we now face are the outcome of human beings breaking the natural alliance with the ecosystems for economic gain out of greed. Hereafter, earth requires a cooperative alliance to tackle climate change and to achieve the sustainability goal of active and equitable life on land.

About the Author: Nivya Jayan is a passionate writer and graduate in Economics. A reader for life, interested in politics and diplomacy.

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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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