Climate strike, and then...

practicals

Photo for representation.

These young people could have chosen to continue living their lives as is, in comfort and convenience. Frustration with the adults in power for not doing anything about the increasingly real problem of climate change, however, has led several students in Bengaluru to shoulder the responsibility themselves. 

The global movement Fridays For Future, started by the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, has made its way to Bengaluru and changed the lives of many teenagers here. Every Friday, students get together to talk about climate change and organise marches in their neighbourhoods. 

For 18-year-old engineering student Angelina Sebastian, it started with concerns about animal cruelty and making the decision to turn vegan. 

“When I started doing my research about veganism, I learned that it was also good for the environment because meat production has a bigger carbon footprint. And then I read more about climate change so when the Fridays for Future strikes came to my city, I joined in,” she said. 

Peer influence

She has convinced her friends to take public transport instead of using cabs like she does. 

Angelina aims to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle and is cutting plastic out of her life. “I once read that by 2025, there will be more plastic in the ocean than there are fish. Reading things like that really scared me. I have stopped using facewash, shampoo, and moisturiser because they come in plastic containers. Instead, I just use soap for everything and I make my own moisturiser.”

 

 

Climate change has changed the way she thinks about her future. “I don’t think I will ever have children because this world may not be a good place to live in. We don’t know what things will be like in a few years,” Angelina said. 

What frustrates her the most is that everybody seems to understand that it’s happening, but no one in power is doing anything about it. 

Ever since he became a climate activist, Dhruv Aditya often finds himself in heated debates with adults who either do not believe the problem is real or think it is exaggerated. His determination to get through to these people and convince them has taught him a few tricks on how to deal with such situations. 

“I have realised that when you give extreme statements, people get offended. So I try to calm down the situation because if I get angry and they get angry, nothing gets done. I try to gently introduce them to facts about climate change. They can call us angsty teenagers but they cannot dispute studies by the United Nations,” Dhruv said. 

The 16-year-old student organises climate strikes in his neighbourhood in Kothanur almost every Friday after school. After joining the global movement, Dhruv has made many small changes to his own life to reduce his carbon footprint. 

“I always walk to school now, no matter how tired I am. For longer commutes, I take public transport. My parents are also aware of these issues so as a family, we have cut down on plastics. I carry my own metal, reusable bottle everywhere I go,” Dhruv said. 

Like Dhruv, Ethan Lekh Simon, a class 11 student, also organises climate strikes near his school in Kothanur. Every week, they pick a route where they think they can reach the most people, and they march with
placards, chanting slogans. 

Ethan realises that being part of this movement means that he has to adopt many changes in his own lifestyle. “Sometimes I would find myself chanting one thing at the strike but not following it myself at home. So now I am more conscious of how I use resources in my own life,” Ethan said. He has made small changes like switching from showers to using a bucket for bathing and switching off the lights every time he leaves a room. 

It’s worth it

In school, Ethan discusses the impact of climate change with his classmates, to get more people to care and make changes in their lifestyle. “Most of them are aware of climate change and its impact because we discuss it a lot in school as part of our curriculum. But they don’t take it seriously. Some say the strikes won’t make a difference, but I believe that if we can convince even one person to change their mind, it is worth it,” Ethan said.

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