Fighting against the impacts of global warming and climate change is not like any other ‘social’ cause. It is more of a humanitarian call – an attempt to save the entire race from an end, which may not be too far. While the entire world debates and discusses these concerns in various sustainability conferences, India has its own share of worries. According to the Annual Climate Survey 2010 published by the Indian Metrological Department, the year 2010 was characterized by record high mean annual temperature for the country. The annual mean temperature in India during 2010 was +0.93 C above average, thus making the year 2010 the warmest year on record since 1901. During 2010, 4 cyclonic storms (maximum wind speed exceeding 33 knots), one each in the pre-monsoon and the monsoon season and 2 during the post-monsoon season, formed over the Indian Seas.
Changes are taking place, and they are taking place faster than one could’ve imagined. Due to widespread awareness drives across the globe, the differences between perception of the people and the scientific community have narrowed for the best. Indians are opening their minds to these stark realities too. “In India the Climate change skeptics/Climate deniers/Climate naysayers are a dwindling minority. The majority of the cross section of the population see Climate Change as a stark reality,” says Nitin Raikar a renewable energy advocate who works with Suzlon Energy.
Nitin’s efforts in the direction of climate change are a case in point. He has worked in the field of renewable energy for over a decade. His passion for the environment was born out of his simple observations about changing weather patterns back in his hometown. He remembers how over time, when he was growing up, plants and animals around him started to disappear. What used to be a land of chirping birds and grazing cattle was no longer the same. And the landscape became more unforgiving. He also saw the effects of climate change during his 15 years in the Indian army, when he was stationed in the Thar Desert. He was a keen participant of the army’s afforestation drive in the arid wastelands.
Today, years later, he is still using is his knowledge of geopolitics and ecology to deliver his message of environment protection at the grassroots. Nitin is at the forefront of The Climate Project and one of its key presenters. The Climate Project (TCP) represents a global force consisting of specially trained climate activists who are dedicated to educating people about the urgency and solvability of the climate crisis at a grassroots level worldwide. It has nine official branches and reach in more than 50 countries. TCP supports more than 3,000 diverse and dedicated volunteers, all personally trained by TCP’s founder, Al Gore. Since TCP first began in 2006, TCP “Presenters” have delivered more than 70,000 presentations reaching a combined global audience of more than 7.3 million people, sharing our message that the climate crisis is real and the time to act is now.
The Climate Reality Project (formerly the Alliance for Climate Protection), non-profit organization is holding an event – 24 Hours of Reality. The campaign will kick off with 24 Hours of Reality, a worldwide, live streamed event on September 14-15. It will be broadcasted to 24 time zones for 24 hours and in 13 languages on ONE single day. It will consist of a new multimedia presentation created by Al Gore and delivered once per hour for 24 hours, in every time zone around the globe. Each hour people living with the reality of climate change will connect the dots between recent extreme weather events — including floods, droughts and storms — and the manmade pollution that is changing our climate. From Tonga to Cape Verde, Mexico City to Alaska, Jakarta to London, people living with the impacts of climate change every day will tell their story. You can experience as much as you like without even leaving your home.
Why is the Climate Reality event important, especially in a country like India? “The objective of the Climate Reality event is to reach out to the civil society and underpin the very basic fact that climate crisis is our problem. Real solutions, systemic solutions, innovative solutions, can only come when we address it together. The Climate Reality Project is bringing the facts about the climate crisis into the mainstream and engaging the public in conversation about how to solve it. This would help citizens around the world to rediscover the truth and take meaningful steps to bring about change. It is guided by one simple truth: The climate crisis is real and we know how to solve it. I am positive that it will definitely bring about a paradigm shift in people’s perception on Climate Change which in turn will galvanize subsequent action on inducing change in a sustainable direction,” says Raikar.