The first day of the two-day long 4th Delhi Youth Summit on Climate Change concluded today in Miranda House with young people sharing ideas and green solution for protecting ‘our common environment’ and for sustaining the urban growth of Delhi.
The Youth Summit began with remembering the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and his teachings on Environment and with Shlokas that call for environmental harmony. The Chief Guest of the occasion Padma Shree Awardee Dr. Anil P. Joshi called for the youth of Delhi to wake up and come to terms with the ecological crisis that Delhi and India are facing and start acting. He said that the onus is more on the youth of the Delhi, since they can represent their voices better. He called for the youth to prepare themselves on war scale for fighting to protect the natural resources that are very important for the survival and future. Dr. Joshi questioned the GDP and other conventional economic indicators of development and urged that any such indicator must account for the status of the environment and natural resources as well.
Dr. Faiyaz A. Khudsar, Scientist In-charge, Yamuna Biodiversity Park also formed part of the Inaugural Panel of the Summit and urged the youth to work for the revival and protection of the two life supporting systems of Delhi, River Yamuna and the Aravallis or the Delhi Ridge. He said that River Yamuna nurtures us like a mother, and our mother has become sick. We must not ignore her but put in our best efforts towards improving the health of River Yamuna. He also emphasized on the need for planting native trees in Delhi.
Dr. Shyamala Mani of the National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi presented a detailed analysis of the environmental challenges being faced by the world in the present day. She focused on how the Waste sector is the most challenging one and also alerted the youth on the health consequences of not acting to prevent air pollution today. Prior to this, the College Principal Dr. Pratibha Jolly welcomed everyone and shared that she did seem to feel a difference in her energy levels due to erratic weather patterns in the last few weeks in Delhi.
The Second Panel of the Day, comprising Youth and Community Leaders, was also very meaningful for the participating delegates where issues like adapting to climate change, shifting to solar energy, Deep Ecology Planning and challenges of the “informal” component of the Waste Management sector. Mr. Navneet Yadav of Doers NGO, who is presently based in Himachal Pradesh informed the delegates how mosquitoes have now become common in Shimla, and were once non-existent in this Hill Station. He urged the delegates to now start developing adaptation strategies to climate change, since its impacts are already here.
Mr. Dev Arora, of OV Energy shared how the price of solar energy will soon become equivalent to that of harnessing energy from coal, and thus solar will be the energy of the future. The idea of planting a tree not just for what we benefit from it, but what all other members of biodiversity benefit from it was shared by Ms. Padmavati Dwivedi of Compassionate Living organisation. Mr. Shashi B. Pandit, General Secretary of the All India Kabaadi Mazdoor Mahasangh (AIKMM) shared the often ignored plight of the workers engaged in the waste management sector. He also appealed to the youth to engage with the issues revolving around the informal component of the Waste sector and stand behind those fighting to ensure justice for the waste workers.
And Open House in the post-lunch hour session began with a presentation on biodegradable plastic followed by the concept of veganism and how it can also help fight the climate crisis. Samarth Khanna, student of DPS Faridabad shared the success story of converting a waste dumping site into a forest by his team, members of which has an average age of 7 years. After the Open House, the delegates were divided into five Working Groups under the following themes
- Waste Management
- Water Resource Management and River Yamuna
- Energy Sector
- Transport & Air Pollution
- Urban Biodiversity – Recognition and Conservation
This was led by Youth Facilitators, who engaged each Working Group into meaningful discussion towards identifying the challenges and finding sustainable solutions. The discussions, ideas and solutions that have emerged will now be presented to the Experts tomorrow after which they will be incorporated into a Green Youth Charter that will be submitted to the Government for necessary action. The Youth Charter will be followed up by Delhi Greens, along with all the delegates of the Summit.