Updated: June 10, 2022 3:53 p.m. STI
Gujarat [India], June 10 (ANI/ATK): To commemorate World Environment Day 2022, an event titled “Youth for Climate Action” was organized by Elixir Foundation, UNICEF, Earth Day Network , Gujarat Youth Forum and UNNATI in collaboration with Department of Climate Change, Department of Environment and Forests and Gujarat Foundation for Ecological Education and Research (GEER). This year, the theme for World Environment Day is “One Earth”. It calls for collective and transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore the Earth.
With this agenda in mind, the “Youth for Climate Action” event featured two-panel sessions with a congregation of highly esteemed panelists who spoke about sustainability, technology and mitigating environmental crises. facing the world today. The event opened with an inaugural session launched by Madhish Parikh, President of the Elixir Foundation. He welcomed our audience with the context of sustainability: “We are privileged to have seen and experienced the beauty of nature. It is therefore our duty to ensure that those who come after us are not deprived of the wonders that lie deep within us. forests and flowing in the waves of the oceans.” He welcomed our esteemed speaker, Dr. Janki Shah, CEE Program Coordinator. committed and elaborated: “It is relevant to involve rural youth in the restoration of local ecosystems. Their involvement would enhance their own ability to contribute to environmental action and protect their home.” His speech was followed by Kunal Gadhavi who took an administrative perspective on climate change and enlightened the audience on the interconnections between the different government departments RK Sama, former Project Manager, WASMO and one of the founding members, introduced the audience to the history of drought relief programs, watershed development and other small strategies incorporated in several regions of Gujarat to combat climate change. He said that “there is a great need to involve the community. Their knowledge of their environment is unmatched. A paradigm shift towards decentralization and community mobilization must therefore be taken into account”.
Next, Prasanta Dash, Head of UNICEF Gujarat, elaborated on the links between climate change and children’s rights by explaining the impact of climate change on women and children. Additionally, RK Sugoor, IFS, Director, GEER Foundation, shared his
personal observations and stories through which he highlighted the risks and long-term consequences of fast-paced consumerism. The key insights provided by these speakers were inspiring, enlightening and extremely valuable given the youth engagement context that this event focused on.
The first roundtable of the “Only One Earth: Youth for Climate” program was moderated by Kirit Parmar, Chief Operating Officer of the program, Unnati. The first speaker, Nishu Kaul, Earth Day Director, South and Southeast Asia, shared her thoughts on the imminent threats facing the planet, their effects on local communities and what young people can do to mitigate crises. Next, Bindi Patel, Founder and Director, ECOrrect shared her insights into bioplastics as sustainable alternatives to plastic. His words, “Never give up on your dreams even if you meet multiple failures, keep pushing and success will definitely come to you” served as an inspiration to the audience. Next, Arijit Soni, Founder and CEO of MYBYK spoke about his entrepreneurial journey and inspired young people to follow their passion. “My goal was not only to ensure profitability but also sustainability and that’s what pushed me towards social entrepreneurship.” Finally, Piyush Girgaonkar, Principal Private Secretary (Policy and Research) of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, spoke about the relevance and importance of urban planning in mitigating the climate change crisis.
The round table “Climate: from action to reality, everyone, everywhere to live sustainably”, was moderated by Moira Dawa, specialist in communication, advocacy and partnerships, UNICEF. The first speaker, Hitarth Pandya, Founder, President of Kids for Environmental Development Initiatives (KEDI), highlighted the importance of environmental education and awareness from an early age. He emphasized, “Children need hands-on experience of nature. Rather than learning crops, yield and water management from textbooks, it would be more effective to give them hands-on experience. Then, RK Sama, former project manager of WASMO enlightened the audience on the initiatives undertaken by WASMO. Representing the Government of Gujarat, Kunal Gadhavi, Section Manager, Department of Climate Change, Government of Gujarat, rightly pointed out: “Awareness raising and small steps such as recycling and ad hoc use of plastic are strategies that can be adopted at the individual level to save the planet from a serious future.” Speaking on the importance of youth participation, Shyam Dave said, “It is up to young people to engage in discourse and to understand the importance of sustainable solutions.Then, the representatives of the GEER Foundation made a presentation on the “GEER Foundation climate resilient interventions for vulnerable communities in the Kutch region”. adaptive capacities and resilience initiatives that can help alleviate the climate change crisis.
As the focus of this event was centered on mobilizing young people for climate action, four passionate young changemakers spoke about their initiative on saving wetlands. Dipankar Sah, a 16-year-old said, “With KEDI, I learned to practically apply the concepts I learned in school. And not only that, I learned so much more than textbooks cannot. not even begin to cover.”
The session ended with a vote of thanks delivered by a representative of the GEER Foundation, Rupak Solanki, Deputy Director of the GEER Foundation, who highlighted the main takeaways from the day and urged the young audience to participate in climate action to help our planet.
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