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

Land Carbon Sinks Might Mitigate Climate Change But Can Also Cause More Damage

More from Tarun

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.

As we look towards a net-zero future, land sinks are a potential pathway to achieve our goal. This is where nature-based solutions come into the picture. Research led by The Nature Conservancy and 15 other institutions highlighted that nature-based solutions could reduce emissions up to 37% by 2030 to keep the global temperature under two degree Celsius.

Nature-based solutions can be an effective tool against this war against climate change. Natural ecosystems like mangroves, wetlands, grasslands and forests are among the few solutions that can act as natural sinks for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Besides keeping the carbon dioxide level in check, a report by the OECD highlighted that these solutions can have significant economic and social benefits, such as help in job creation.

A similar argument was also placed forward by The Nature Conservancy. According to their estimate in the Northeast of the United States, coastal wetlands helped prevent a direct loss of over USD 600 million during Hurricane Sandy. Based on the published case studies, nature-based solutions seem like a win-win situation for all as they provide a home to biodiversity and save us from climate change.

Let us understand the process in more granularity — nature-based solutions absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in the woods and roots of the plants. This daily miracle of plants was believed to be one of the solutions to saving the planet. According to the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry report by IPCC, land, plants and soil can hold about 2,500 gigatonnes of carbon. However, we must take cognisance that this system has a finite capacity to take in carbon.

These factors have resulted in proliferating a number of efforts to scale nature-based solutions globally to mitigate climate change. However, a fundamental misunderstanding about nature-based solutions can lead to devastating consequences. Does it sound like a paradox? How can our favourite trees be the culprit?

The answer lies in the complexity of nature-based solutions. While these solutions are highly context-specific, we must avoid planting trees where they do not belong. Every ecosystem is unique on its own. If we consider a wetland or grassland, each ecosystem supports a different form of vegetation, making it unique. An ecosystem is one of the complex systems globally; despite scientists trying for years, we hardly understand anything about them.

Thus, a simple notion of introducing a ‘fast-growing species to capture more carbon’ can lead to consequences as severe as the collapse of the ecosystem. Let us not forget what happened during REDD+. Acres of a healthy lush forest was cut only to plant non-native, fast-growing species, which ultimately led to the collapse of the entire ecosystem. Under the umbrella of REDD+, emphasis was placed on the number of planted trees rather than the health of the ecosystem.

In most cases, fast-growing non-native species such as eucalyptus, pine and others were planted, which did more bad than good to the forest ecosystem. It is a fundamental rule in ecology that a diverse system is much more resilient than a monoculture plantation.

While we ardently believe the fact that natural systems are an essential tool for building climate resilience, we must also consider that no natural system can ever absorb the quantity of carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels. Rather than being lulled into this false notion, we need to discontinue the case of business as usual.

As we drive towards a zero-carbon future, nature-based solutions are only one kind of tool in our toolbelt. Other strategies of decarbonisation must accompany it. These arguments might impel you to think that are we pushing against the fact that nature-based solutions are not effective. Emphatically not, being an ecologist, nothing will give joy to my heart than a greener world. We are just against the notion of thinking of nature-based solutions as an effective tool for climate change mitigation, because their benefits are not limited to carbon sequestration; the natural system is home to millions of species. In addition to this, they provide food, medicine, water and several indirect benefits to humankind.

Nature-based solutions are propitious. They need to be scaled and promoted — not because they are a silver bullet, but because they are one of the pathways to paint a more promising present and resilient future.

You must be to comment.

More from Tarun

Similar Posts

By EV Tech In India

By Ecochirp Foundation

By SUCHETA CHAURASIA

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below