Take a stand on climate change today!

On International Day of Climate Action, Bengaluru youth raise awareness among citizens and leaders alike on the climate change issue. Arun Patre shares the inside story behind today's events.

The Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN), a coalition uniting Indian youth and organisations concerned about climate change and 350.org, an international movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis present a day long set of events to take a stand on the International Day of Climate Action – today, October 24th.

Check out the twitter feeds for live updates of all the happenings today.

The event include gatherings at colleges , tree plantation drives, distribution of CFL bulbs and cloth bags, cycle rallies, electric car rallies and more. There will be a human formation of the number ‘350’ to highlight the upper limit (in ppm) for CO2 in the atmosphere. This will be at Jain University, Kanakpura campus. Other events include:

4 PM: Biking rally from Bangalore Press Club, Cubbon Park to Bangalore Central.
5.15 PM : Screening of documentary – Meat the Truth at the Center for Education and Documentation.
6.00 PM : Flash mob run at Bangalore Press Club to Bangalore Central mall.
6.15 PM : Music concert at Bangalore Central mall.

The inside story
We have been toiling for nearly two months, getting our act together for this day. Our dear friend Surendran Balachandran came down to Bangalore from the Delhi IYCN office. There was a lot of brainstorming about how the youth movement for climate change has shaped across continents and what has it been so far for IYCN to undertake it in India. We understand Indian youth have not been very vociferous in voicing their opinion to our political leaders.

Given that we are one of the nations with the most number of young people in the planet, we certainly need to be more enthused! And hence we started our journey of making the 350 movement possible in this part of the country.

But how does one start? We had a good team. Brinda Gourav and Hita Unnikrishnan were veteran environmentalists and were full of ideas. Some of the immediate tasks was to set out our objectives and target audiences. Given that we wanted to create hysteria, we went on a spree to find the whackiest way of doing it!

All of us were most kicked by this video from Antwerp, Belgium – set in a railway station. We loved the instant energy and attention it was able to generate. But Ravi Theja M who had just got back from an all Indian congregation in Delhi by IYCN – Badlaav, spoke of how the flash mob dance was quite a dismal attempt when they did it in Delhi and how Indians like their dance to be more unstructured if it had to be include the juntaa’s participation immediately. We decided to modify it a little bit to do a flash mob run, given that marathon runs have been quite in vogue in the country and a flash mob run would do the task of catching people off-guard and at the same time we will manage to highlight the climate change issue!

The most complex part of the story was to get police sign-off on this concept! We had almost resigned from the idea when an impromptu enquiry from my colleague Nirmala got support of the DCP of the Cubbon Park police station. The usually long ordeal was signed off in a jiffy when we explained that it would be a run in pockets of team across the stretch and hence will not lead to traffic chaos and a constable was so curious at hearing the concept – that he said, "I will come and give you police protection". He was more than happy that such events were being organised by youngsters. But we had our own set of disappointments too, when we spent one and a half days at the Police Commissioner’s office to seek other permissions.

We also realised how challenging it is to make an event of this magnitude happen while you have to manage a full time job too.  Multi-tasking is something we have to learn quite well to manage this. Meanwhile, what really saved our day and some money was Koshy’s Chillout by paying twenty bucks for a Danish pastry we could have the entire café for four hours of our discussion! Some days, we created so much noise at the café, with waiters sending us visible stares.

Networking with other city based organisations was a good experience. It now remains to see how the world leaders react to this form of direct action about the extremely important issue across the world!

For details, contacts: Arun – 9880891675, Brinda- 09886484315, Ravi-9632822143, Gunajit – 9980972288   ⊕

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