March for a safer, greener planet

Last year it was the massive cloudburst and deluge that engulfed and ravaged Uttarakhand and this year the unprecedented floods as an angry Jhelum broke the embankment to inundate Jammu and Kashmir, causing irreparable damage to life and living, has once again raised the alarm for an urgent need to save our environment.

These recent floods are a grim reminder of nature’s fury and the havoc climate change can cause to our planet.

To raise awareness among the masses, recently, the city saw its largest ever climate change mobilisation with over 2,000 people coming out on streets for stronger actions on climate change.

The ‘People’s Climate March’ from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar saw participation from citizens across the board. From college students to school children to daily wage workers, from artists to working professionals, irrespective of background, their one voice in unison demanded – action on climate change.

Many came attired in hand-painted T-shirts depicting a possible state of the planet if corrective steps are not taken by individuals and nations to restore the balance of nature.

Talking to Metrolife, Soumya Dutta, convener, Bharatiya Jan Vigyan Jatha, an NGO working on climate change, said, “It was very heartening to see so many people come out for the cause of climate change. This shows people understand the urgency of the situation. It’s high time that the government recognises the same too.”

A memorandum on climate change has also been submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office detailing the demands, so that India by itself can take swift action on climate change.

“The memorandum contained what we call ‘The Citizen’s Climate Agenda’. We spoke to as many people as possible from experts to climate change affected persons to organisations working in the domain, and have come up with actionable solutions,” Chaitanya Kumar, organiser, People’s Climate March and South Asia Campaign co-ordinator,, another NGO working on climate change, said.

Talking about the event, Kumar, said, “We were told that Delhiites would not come out, but the response was actually beyond our expectations. Now is the time when we need to twist the arms of government officials and make them work from various departments which are associated with environment and climate.

Those days have gone when some donations, posts on Facebook, planting a sapling and lighting a candle can make a difference. We just need to get up, find those bunch of people and just start working on this issue. We all have to put that consistent pressure on the authorities and the system on environment and just make them take action.” Across the world on September 20 and 21, thousands of rallies, marches and protests took place simultaneously, delivering the biggest ever global demonstration for climate action.
Like in New Guinea, students from a primary school marched to a nearby lighthouse which has recently become semi-submerged due to rising sea levels.

In Berlin, a silent parade, a stream of cyclists and a march of children converged on the Brandenburg Gate and in Paris, local groups paraded, marched and bicycled across the bridges of the Seine river to raise awareness and highlight the urgency of securing the planet and the environment.

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