Published: 05th June 2019
World Environment Day: These young environmental changemakers reveal how they are going green but in style
Hyderabad’s young climate activists at the second global strike against climate change talk about what they do individually to help the planet
The Love Hyderabad structure at Necklace Road bore witness to the participation of the city’s school students in the second global strike against climate change on May 24, 2019. Swedish teen and climate activist Greta Thunberg’s Friday’s for Future campaign, whose first worldwide protest was conducted on March 15 this year, has inspired thousands of youth from more than 125 countries around the world to take to the streets in an attempt to urge governments to take action against rising global temperatures and the causes for climate change.
Under the sweltering evening sun, we interacted with students from schools across the city who showed up with placards in their hands and loud protests on their lips. Organiser Kajal Maheshwari, the representative volunteer from Fridays For Future, India was struck a chord with the youth when she asked them to be loud and proud of the cause they’ve taken up. “No one listened to us in our time. Maybe they’ll listen to you,” she stated.
Noted environmentalists from the city were invited to talk to the students about the urgency of the situation. Students from the Aga Khan Academy performed a skit on the subject. The gathering demanded talks with the city’s administration to help improve Hyderabad’s infrastructure with the ecosystem and nature as a priority.
However, we wondered what these young climate activists practised at an individual level in order to help preserve the planet they braved the thankless summer heat for.
Here are responses from a few students:
Asawari Bhagwat, Aga Khan Academy, Grade 11:
I’ve learned that you don’t need to be a vegan to be a climate-friendly eater. I’ve reduced the amount of meat I consume. I only eat chicken once in a month, or less. I make sure that I don’t use ACs. They generate a lot of heat. Instead, I use air coolers. In addition to this, we use solar power to heat water. I also learnt that the dairy industry has a huge carbon footprint, so I cut down the amount of milk I drink. My vacation starts in June, and I’m planning to compost during this time. I’m also going to follow the six Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refurbish, Recreate and Refuse.
Harshitha, Aga Khan Academy, Grade 10:
Climate change is a huge issue, but we can start making a difference at an individual level. All of our electricity at home is generated through solar panels. We try our best to not use tissues at all. It might sound silly, but it can have a huge impact on a global scale. We also try to compost as much as we can. We send our books and papers at the end of the school year to recycle. Lastly, we try to purchase clothes from Indian boutiques and local manufacturers rather than buying from foreign brands. Everyone has to do their part, and that’s also why we’re gathered here today.
Jacintha, Aga Khan Academy, Grade 9:
Personally, I believe the best way to support this cause is to reduce the usage of single-use plastics. If I go out, I carry my own bag. I use metal straws. I purchase less junk food because it comes packaged. We also consume locally produced food and get our milk from a farm. I try not to shop from brands that employ unethical and unsustainable methods to make their clothes. At home, I try to be as conscious as I can with the amount of water that I use. However, I believe one of the best things to do is spread awareness. I like to talk to people about living sustainably, sharing what I do and learning from their methods helps serve a bigger cause. Every individual effort makes a difference.
Aafiya Bhayani, Aga Khan Academy, Grade 10:
We’re fortunate enough to have 24-hour water in our building, but recently, we’ve started putting caps on our water usage. We use solar power. Personally, I make sure to purchase sustainable clothing instead of choosing multinational corporations which don’t practice sustainable methods. This may sound insignificant, but I don’t cut off a small side to open plastic packaging of things. I’ve read that smaller pieces of plastic are way harder to recycle. They end up in an obscure pit somewhere and basically stay forever. We don’t eat meat very frequently. My mother discourages it. Even when we do, we try to get it through sustainable methods.
Khushi Hajiyani, Aga Khan Academy, Grade 10:
When I go out shopping, I use cloth bags instead of plastic bags. I also carry this small bag when I go out to store my garbage. I come back home and dispose it off properly. To avoid wastage of water, I take baths instead of showers. At a slightly wider scale, I help plant trees every month for my community service projects. Lastly, at our place, switching off unnecessary lights is a very strict rule, and we as a family make sure to follow it.
Lalit, Nizam College:
Around the world, we see such protests happening at a massive scale. It is an urgent issue to solve. The governments are too slow, so we need to take matters in our own hands. That also means we have to be a part of the solution. I personally recycle 80% of my trash. I only use public transport, and I am trying to reduce the number of clothes I purchase. Apart from that, I write blogs on climate awareness to help spread the word. I plan to participate in as many events as possible in order to teach myself about the issue and force governments to take action against the crisis
Sai Siddharth, Gitanjali Senior School
Every individual here is for the same cause. My family makes sure to use public transport. We used to have a car, but we sold it. We are highly conscious of our consumption habits, and we try to reduce as much as possible. Even though the summer is harsh, we use only use the AC for an hour. I plan on joining as many protests as possible to help create awareness. At an individual level, I try to always think before I use anything. I try to figure out if there are sustainable alternatives for the product. One moment of consideration and thought can go a long way in helping reduce the impact we’re having on our climate.