One of Kerala’s most prominent schools, The Choice School, Thiruvalla, recently tied up with TEDxCountdown to discuss the importance of the issue.
Countdown is a collaboration of each and every individual who wishes to take part in reversing climate change.
Climate change: For a long time now, climate change has been a cause of concern among experts. There have been numerous studies and warnings urging people to bring a change in their lifestyles to sustain the environment. Several diplomatic meets among global leaders are also held around this area of concern. However, climate change would not be stopped by the action of a country or an entity, but with a collective conscious change down to the individual. With that in mind, TED has started a special series of talks called TEDxCountdown, the theme of which revolves around climate action. In the words of TED, Countdown is a collaboration of each and every individual who wishes to take part in reversing climate change. It aims to cut greenhouse emissions to 50% in the next decade.
One of Kerala’s most prominent schools, The Choice School, Thiruvalla, recently tied up with TEDxCountdown to discuss the importance of the issue. During the session, several eminent personalities from India and abroad joined hands to inspire the audience to preserve the environment.
Among the speakers was President and Founder of Choice Foundation Jose Thomas. He expressed that as an educationalist, he would suggest looking at resolving the issue through education. He asserted that there was a need to educate young minds by changing and rewriting the school and college books. This would help them become more sensitive and aware of the issue from a young age. Moreover, industries also needed to be driven towards the use of green energy, Thomas added.
Climate Change: India highly vulnerable
Meanwhile, ED-India Climate Collaborative Head of Sustainability, Tata Trusts, Shloka Nath said that now is a time when human intervention has become necessary to reverse the effects of climate change, adding that we cannot leave nature to its own devices anymore. She especially stated that considering the proportion of population living below the poverty line and depending on agriculture, India is highly vulnerable to climate change.
One of the ways Nath suggested to reverse the impact of climate change was by travelling to local destinations for tourism and using modes of transportation like trains instead of planes, because airplanes require a lot of fuel to undertake a journey. While technology has been making advancements, there is not yet an alternative to fly a plane other than non-renewable resources, and for this, she suggested that people need to make a conscious effort to avoid plane travel to whatever extent possible.
Climate change is here and happening
Operations Manager Disaster Risk Reduction, UN, Muralee Thummarukudy has been involved in several post-disaster response operations, including the 2004 Tsunami that hit the Bay of Bengal and, consequently, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In his TEDx address, he said that people usually assume that disasters only happen to others and they will remain safe and will be there to help. He said that even after 30 years of scientists first warning about climate change, people think that it is someone else’s problem or that it is not real.
He asserted that the 2018 Kerala floods were proof that climate change is real, here and now. The change is human induced and people need to prepare how to deal with it, Thummarukudy said. Addressing the issue of what can be done about it, he said that even if everyone started acting upon the scientists’ suggestions right now, there would be a certain lag before its effects start to show. Therefore, the loss of a single day could have long-lasting effects.
Thummarukudy also stated that the entire India has a deadly addiction with fossil fuels, and there is an urgent need to develop renewable energy and switch to a radically energy efficient society.
A unique way of sensitising students
Artist for Conservation Director, Fourth Wave Foundation, Diana Joseph said that humankind was at fault for the loss of green cover. To sensitise students at a young age, she has come up with a unique method. She creates life-sized paintings of animals and the environment, because they put things into perspective. Usually, when children see images of different animals in their books, they see all of them in a similar size, and do not properly understand the uniqueness of each of them. With the help of her paintings, she believes that students would be able to understand the different aspects that different animals have, their unique qualities and then see them in the context of nature.
She said that she wants young children to have such perspectives, because the lack of context is usually what makes people lax and unwilling to respond to a crisis urgently. On the other hand, children have the ability to bring unique solutions because they are open and adaptive. If schools focus on providing students with the understanding of the actual scale of the problems, this would trigger the children to make a change she said.
To back her statements, she gave the example of a coastal village in Kerala that studies showed would be submerged under chronic floods by 2035. A glimpse of such a situation was also seen during the 2018 and 2019 floods, she said. However, a young boy from the village decided to write to President Ram Nath Kovind about the issue and got a response from him, while the adults were waiting and finding a solution, Joseph said.
Thus, there is a need to mobilise students and make them understand the severity of the situation, so that they start altering their habits early on. Meanwhile, people also need to switch to more environment friendly alternatives as soon as possible, so that the chances of being able to reverse climate change can increase, providing a sustainable environment for future generations.