Thank you for voting for the Photography, Blogging and Short Video competitions as part of the 3rd Edition of the Youth Climate Conclave (YCC). As you are aware, YCC is an initiative of the Delegation of the European Union to India, together with GIZ India, CEEW and TERI. The initiative is implemented under the Strategic Partnership for Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPIPA) project, where the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) is the nodal ministry. This conclave is envisaged as a competitive and educative mode of action, wherein youth from across the country will come together to join hands and address the issues of climate change.
As part of the 3rd Edition of the Youth Climate Conclave (YCC); a series of online competitions were held (Photography, Blogging and Short Video) in age categories of 10 -18 yrs (A – Category) and 19-25 yrs (B – Category). We received an overwhelming response from youth reflecting their interest in addressing climate change. After a rigorous selection process, six entries from each category were shortlisted for the final stage of selection.
We are confident that it was a joyful experience for you to go through the shortlisted entries. We now present to you ‘the top three Winning Entries’ for all the three competitions based on number of votes received by the entries.
Sustainable lifestyles through pond rejuvenation—I grew up drawing beautiful nature. I love drawing and I had several picture books to colour when I was very young. The scenes I liked the most almost always had an azure sky, sun rising behind mountains and a pond with beautiful vegetation around it. Sometimes, I also drew birds, rabbits and squirrels in these scenes. I was always fascinated by beautiful ponds, especially in the hills and the surrounding ecology. As I grew up and visited different places including a number of visits to hills, as my grandmother stays there, I was disheartened by the poor state of the ponds. Most of the ponds were covered by weed and had construction material dumped on the edges. I heard my mother telling me at a lot of these places that the pond has shrunk from its original size. All this has been quite discomforting to me and I tried to find more about why the ponds have deteriorated so much. If a pond is cleaned, it can make water available for drinking or other household chores. As the water level will become better, there will be growth of plants and the area will not only look nice, but will also support more rainfall, as per what I have studied in my science book. Also, these ponds can be used for fish cultivation, which can provide some employment and money to villagers. I have also read that most of these ponds were made by kings in the past to store rainwater, which used to help people living around it during summer months. This could be an excellent way of sustainable life in rural areas but is generally ignored. Is it that we assume cleaning and maintenance of these ponds to be the responsibility of the governments and not ours? While reading about SDGs in my social studies class and doing PBL around these, I feel that we should drive these initiatives ourselves. I had doubts if people like me, who are young, can contribute at all to various causes of sustainable life. However, watching young activists like Greta Thunberg, I feel young people like me can contribute a lot towards sustainable life. While thinking of various solutions, I heard about the Pond-Man of India, Ramveer Tanwar, during one of the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ broadcast of our Prime Minister. I have read about his methods and also spoken to him. His work is an example, where the youth are driving a sustainable life in rural areas without waiting for intervention by governments or elders. If we can get together, we can rejuvenate all the 5500 ponds across India and maybe dig even new ponds. This will not only revive the ponds and reduce water problems, but will also educate people on sustainable lifestyle. With the climate change already affecting our lives, we can’t sit back and wait for governments and leaders to take action.
'Old is Gold' my memory fails me here as I try to recollect the uncountable occasions when I would have brought to fore the knowledge of all the literacy devices to negate this statement, counter it, rather declare it as an imprudent thought emanating from some vestiges of dark ages. What was good in the absurdity of walking miles to meet your loved ones or cycling down to nearby market areas, in folding yours hands to thank God for the humble meals he provided to us which then obliged us to be mindful of not wasting it, eating what suited best to the season, of thriving only with a few fans and some decent piece of furniture, storing water and using it sagaciously? But today when my exhausted eyes exert to have a clear view of the surroundings in the envelope of the smog, I can see, yes, surprisingly see, the beauty in whatever was old. Oh! I hope I didn't sound cynical while glorifying the past. I stand tall with the achievements of the present but I am definitely in love with the lifestyle of that antiquated era—simple, self-effacing and sustainable—maybe because it's rarely seen now and is therefore endangered! Sustainable lifestyle, technically it means to meet our societal, economic and ecological needs without compromising these factors for our future generations. Man, being the Supreme creation of God was expected to adhere to this lifestyle but ironically the blinding avarice of having more and more of everything, basking in the glory of successful feats even if it had put on stake the well-being of our Mother Earth, moulding and twisting nature to serve his unending needs rather luxuries, has brought man closer to the brink of our planet earth. This, without a doubt, needs a strong intervention by the government and global community in terms of foraging ways to combat the Situation but unless we intend to change ourselves, all endeavours are bound to prove futile. Let's begin from our ‘home sweet home’in fact, kitchen. Just open the refrigerator and see how many unseasonal and non-local vegetables and fruits do you have in it? Plenty-right? Do you know the extent to which it requires energy-intensive greenhouse production, plastic packaging, irrigation on a large scale, and long-distance transport for importing non-regional foods? Local, seasonal produce is fresher, unprocessed and believed to be more nutritious yet just to satisfy the taste buds we don't mind gulping down eatables with chemical residues from mobile applications that requires long-distance shipping and handling. Let’s set a precedent for others to follow by adopting a sustainable lifestyle that brings us closer to nature, that contents us with fulfilling our needs and not greed, that chooses life over vanity, reverse the sanctity of man's relation with his environment and respects the right of everyone to live peacefully on planet Earth, which we have not inherited from our ancestors; rather have borrowed it from our children.
Dedicate your life to rehabilitating Mother Earth—Let us all join hands to make it again a worthy place as Opulent Earth needs to be treasured. Global warming is taking a toll on all of us and who, other than we humans, is accountable for the climatic change. We have injured Mother Earth, so we need to heal it as well. We belong to Mahatma Gandhi's land. He was aware of the significance of safeguarding the environment and nature. He used every single piece of paper judiciously, for writing purposes, instead of wasting new pages. When he was in Indore, he assembled the people of Maganbadi and urged them not to dispose of neem twigs, used for cleaning teeth. He educated them to clean the twigs after using them, then storing them, drying them and later using them as fuel. This way fewer trees would be cut for fuel purposes. Following his footsteps, we too can start taking baby steps towards protecting the environment. Small changes can bring about greater results to benefit our Earth. Every household has some balcony or open area, where they can start gardening. Gardening has myriad benefits. Trees around you keep the air clean and pure. It is a kind of meditation that gives relaxation and peace of mind. For gardening, instead of purchasing plastic pots, make your own grow bags at home using waste plastic snacks packets. You can also use plastic bottles for growing plants. This way, by recycling and reusing plastic waste at your home, you prevent plastic disposal into the environment, which further protects nature. For gardening, we need compost which we can make in our own homes by using kitchen waste, thereby, preventing further loss to our nature. Avoid using plastic as much as possible. Carry your cloth or jute bag while going out for shopping. Clean, dry and store milk and other plastic packets and then send them to the recycling centres. Just a bit of your effort can help the environment in a big way. We say every drop counts. Close the taps when not in use. Store air conditioner water for mopping the floors. Instead of washing the vehicles, clean them with a wet cloth. Use a bucket to take bath rather than a bathtub or shower. Water used for cleaning fruits and vegetables can be used to water the plants. Save electricity. Turn off lights and fans when not in use. Instead of sitting in different rooms, family members can sit in one room to save electricity and strengthen family bonds. Promote the use of public transport or carpool. Together, as a society, if we bring about these minor changes in our lifestyles, we can bring about a greater positive change in our environment
Climate change is one of the most essential challenges in recent times and we have been looking at these topics almost daily. The impact of climate change relates to agriculture, food, animals and their impacts on the natural disasters and is of immense importance for the global citizen who strives for sustainability. It has intensified over time, with the environmental laws of every country aiming towards minimizing the effects of climate change. The human activities such as deforestation and unsustainable use of resources have become some of the contributions to the climate change, which leads to a decline in the environment-friendly resources such as clean water and healthy atmosphere, fresh air, and so on. These types of actions are resulting in malnutrition and migration of people in the society. The climate change issues require a collective action by the government and the people living in the society, which is essential in strengthening the education on climate change and their lifestyles. The sustainable production and consumption of goods and services, resources needs to be focused upon to support the youth and environment-friendly campaigns in the communities and individuals. There are some initiatives like education and awareness through campaigns that help in raising awareness for climate and behavioural change. The youth plays a crucial role in climate resilience. This can be seen by a survey conducted in Pune, India to create awareness about the climate change among the youth. Around 98.5% respondents responded that climate is changing and 54.5% of the people believe that youth is a major contributor to combat the climate change. The growing number of youth interactions with the government for the climate change process has helped to shape the climate change policies. The youth participation has brought moral values to construct a climate mitigation and adaption action for an ecologically sustainable environment. The young generation has come up by engaging with the international and national organizations. Over 10,000 youth have already completed the Climate Change Challenge badge developed by the FAO, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and the Youth and United Nations Global Alliance. (Source: UN). The youth needs to have a continuous contribution and positive social and environmental impact with reduced carbon footprint and climate resilience. The youth can help in combating climate change in insightful ways like participating in many governmental and non-governmental programmes and projects against climate change, participating in tree planting activities, and activities pertaining to garbage picking and recycling of goods. The youth has been very active on social media as well, and creating awareness about such issues can bring a fruitful change in the society. In today’s world, we need to realize that conserving the environment is a moral responsibility of every citizen and micro-efforts will lead to big macro-effects. Let us fight the problem together and create a more sustainable world to live in
In a world with limited resources, we have unlimited wants. Whether it is food, housing, energy or consumer products, we are taking more from the planet than ever before. And we are throwing away a majority of it. The recent IPCC Report states global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052, if it continues to increase at the current rate. Now, more than ever, we need to work tirelessly towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as laid out by the United Nations. We need to enforce innovative measures to translate SDG 11—Sustainable Cities & Communities; SDG 12—Responsible Consumption & Production; and SDG 13—Climate Action, into reality. Sustainability is not an independent action taken to combat climate change, but a way of life. Sustainability is not just a vital pathway to environmental betterment, but a crucial need of the hour. As a student journalist, I interacted with a local small business based in Mumbai. The brand prides itself on its zero-waste policy, and a chat with the designer and founder shed light on the practicality of sustainability. She said, “When you're creating something, you are using resources, you are impacting the environment some way or the other. It’s not about being sustainable, it’s about being conscious.” The need of the hour is to judicially and rationally use resources whilst being mindful of the consequences of one’s actions and their environmental impact. The youth today understand this. We are reactive and witnesses to the disastrous ramifications of climate change and global warming. There is a growing conscience amongst the youth to make conscious and intelligent choices. A rising sustainable effort is empowering indigenous and local communities through thrifting and small business stores. Facilitated through social media, Instagram is the youth’s hub to find reusable clothes and locally-created businesses. Reused, or pre-loved, as the youth call it, allows thrift stores to save up on finite resources, by reducing the need for manufacturing newer clothes. Several youth-led businesses have adopted green and eco-friendly packaging to reduce plastic production and consumption. Combining local empowerment with resource efficiency, and a sustainable lifestyle allows the youth to prevent pollution, in a chain reaction. Who is to say that this chain reaction cannot change our tomorrow? In a 10,000 sample survey conducted in September 2021, by Avaaz, across 10 countries it has been stated that over 60% of young people were worried about the future. Another survey states, the youth today, is burdened with eco-anxiety or climate anxiety. Despite their limited resources, their will to change their future is not limited. They are bringing change, however small in their capacities, and social media remains the biggest platform to mobilize it. From ditching the plastic straw at Starbucks to switching to ethically and locally created clothes, slow but steady changes by the youth can surely create a future where sustainability is the norm, and climate change a thing of the past.
“0.5 per cent? You must be joking!” That was the reaction of a middle-aged man when I told him about the amount of freshwater available to us while he was busy washing his four SUVs with hoses. By the way, he still did not turn off the water, and there I was standing and thinking of each drop of water I saved just so some guy could wash his cars. Well, this is an everyday story of a rich typical Delhi uncle who thinks ‘Climate Change’ is a myth. Looking at all that water getting wasted, I realized the sheer neglect among people, mainly the middle and older age group, about their environment. Since then, I consciously started observing and taking individual actions from refusing a plastic straw, carrying my own water bottle, to persuading my gym to eliminate plastic cups. These actions made me realize the colossal magnitude of change that each individual action can bring. And there is immense potential to inspire change, especially by young people. I believe youth is at the greatest risk of this sustainability crisis. Young people are capable of bridging the environmental knowledge gaps by creating awareness and imparting climate literacy. Social media is the most incredible tool at our disposal, and we must use it to sensitize people about climate change. While world leaders fly across the world to negotiate climate deals and emit tonnes of carbon in the process, we can educate people around us to practice ways to limit their carbon footprint. Young people can encourage sustainable living at their household and community levels. Moreover, with the advent of artificial intelligence and other new forms of technology, the young generation can bring forth concrete and sustainable solutions to reduce global carbon emissions, sustainable waste management, water conservation, etc. The power of research and creativity combined with the visible changes around us allows us to look for alternatives. I firmly believe that today's youth needs to get into the driving seat and inspire action against climate change. We are the future and, thus, the solution. So, let's fight climate change while we still can!
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