Sustainable Solutions: 8 Homegrown Organisations Leading The Drive Against Climate Change
The Earth Overshoot Day has progressively been antedating since the 1970s, but this year due to a pause in human activities during the pandemic, it arrived a month later (on 22 August) than it usually does. It is the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that particular year, and is something that is used as a benchmark for our success or failure in being able to use natural resources in a sustainable manner.
It has been found that essentially, we continue to operate in ‘overshoot’. India’s economic growth has been marred by challenges pertaining to water, air, and land pollution, as well as numerous environmental hazards and disasters. India’s continual legacy of degrading physical environment, along with the mounting pressure of advancing scarcity of natural resources has led many organisations and advocacy groups to extend their efforts towards proactive research and implementation.
Here’s a curated a list of such organisations working towards a sustainable future for our planet.
I. Avani Kumaon
Founded in 1997 as the Kumaon chapter of Barefoot College, Rajashthan, Avani is a community built on the principles of sustainability and local empowerment in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. A global network of diverse employees, interns, and volunteers give life to Avani’s community-centric rural development programs. In a region where small farms are many families’ only source of income, Avani is a hub of opportunity, constantly developing new approaches to sustainable, conservation-based livelihood generation for rural communities. The organisation is devoted to generating income for local people using only local skills and local, environmentally-friendly materials. Their primary focus is on sustainably harvested and produced tints, dyes, textiles and garments.
II. Chintan Environmental Research & Action Group
Waste-picking ranks the lowest in the hierarchy of urban informal occupations and is usually taken up by women and adolescents. In India, over 2 million people earn a livelihood through waste picking alone. However, there is a level of stigma and disrespect associated with this occupation reserved for the lowest echelons of society. Chintan Environmental Research & Action Group was founded in 1999 by Bharti Chaturvedi in order to take proactive measure to absolve the stigma around waste-picking. They enable adults in the community to derive an honourable living from recycling work while simultaneously working with young people from the community to consider future options outside of waste picking if they choose. Their programmes focus on capacity building for green jobs for the informal sector, working towards the inclusion of the urban poor in policymaking, research, and advocacy on issues of environmental justice, and helping children working in recycling to phase out and go to school. Using waste as a tool to fight poverty, child labour, gender-based violence and exclusion, and climate change while creating green livelihoods, Chintan pushes back and combats unsustainable consumption.
III. Clean Air Asia
Clean Air Asia was established in 2001 as the premier air quality network for Asia by the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and USAID. Its mission is to promote better air quality and livable cities by translating knowledge to policies and actions that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from transport, energy and other sectors. The organisation works with ministries (energy, environment, health and transport), cities in Asia, private sector and development agencies to provide leadership and technical knowledge in the following areas: Air Quality and Climate Change, Low Emissions Urban Development, Clean Fuels and Vehicles and Green Freight and Logistics.
IV. Daily Dump
Daily Dump is a design-led brand – a pioneer in designing and building products and services for decentralized waste management in homes, communities, offices and public spaces. Their range of segregation products – composters, books, services and more, reflect its mission to enable everyone to harmless. It was founded in April 2006 by Bengaluru-based industrial designer, Poonam Bir Kasturi in order to change citizens’ mindsets towards waste management in urban spaces. With their marquee product, a tall cylindrical-shaped composter made of terracotta, Daily Dump has made waste composting at home a ‘cool’ endeavour. The composter not only lessens the load on public agencies dealing with garbage but also reduces the emission of methane gas. It is fun, simple, and saves the planet.
V. Green Yatra
Green Yatra is a Mumbai-based leading NGO dedicated to the protection, conservation and betterment of the environment, Mother Nature, and humanity in general. Having been founded in 2009, it is run by a group of young and passionate nature lovers. Their only objective is to create a habitable green Earth and a better world for the present and future generations. The NGO works with individuals, corporate houses, educational and non-educational institutions, social groups and communities, NGOs, social entrepreneurs and just about anyone who is interested in bringing a positive change in the society and the environment. Their mission is to bring the focus back to the value and importance of the environment, nature protection, conservation and work towards a sustainable green world. At the moment, they are working on our various projects to nullify the environmental imbalance caused by human beings and the society at large.
VI. Let’s Do It India
Founded by Professor Pankaj Choudhary in 2016, Let’s Do It India is the Indian subdivision of ‘Let’s Do It World’ organisation, which intends to reduce the problem of illegally dumped waste in the country by conducting regular clean-up activities. The organisation has a strong presence in 24 Indian states with an astounding volunteer base of over 1 lakh. They have mobilized over 1.6 million self-driven citizens of India and have collected over 44,000 tons of waste. While envisioning a lasting change in solid waste management in India, the not-for-profit organisation is relentlessly addressing the need to promote a greater understanding between people and the environment.
VII. Indian Youth Climate Network
The Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) is a youth organisation in India that aims to raise the voice of Indian youth on the global platform, as South Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions affected by climate change and environmental issues. Further, IYCN is motivated by global need in the Indian context to adopt mitigation and adaptation policy measure to combat climate change. Started in 2008, IYCN was registered as an NGO in 2009 and today, IYCN has offices in six locations with chapters in the Indian states. The organisation has worked on several initiatives including the Rural Energy Project, Climate Solutions Road Tour, Climate Leadership Programme and others.
VIII. Coastal Impact, Goa
Based out of Goa, Coastal Impact is a non-governmental organisation, in their own words, aiming to “study & monitor India’s marine ecosystems, support awareness, outreach, research and conservation actions and also help build interest and engagement amongst local communities and visitors about the extraordinary oceanic ecosystems of India”. The organisation has a sister concern named Barracuda Diving, which offers scuba diving programmes and is useful for volunteers who would like to participate in Coastal Impact’s underwater surveys. Coastal Impact has been conducting underwater cleanup drives for the last 25 years. The team has found and removed a number of plastic items, garbage, and glass materials that pose a health hazard to marine creatures.
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