Tag Archives: Climate

Track, engage, inspire – Revolutionary Social Media

Information is power, said Robin Morgan. And this power is gaining more and more momentum online or in the ‘new media’ sphere. It engages and empowers millions of internet users. Internetworldstats.com pitches the figure at 2267 million users worldwide.

The mediums are many- blogs, video blogs, youtube, social networking sites, online petition campaigns. This medium is fast gaining recognition for lobbying for environmental action. We all are familiar with the power of the ‘share’ and ‘like’ button, thanks to a certain Zuckerberg.

The COP meets for past few years had a number of civil society observers and independent bloggers. There were a lot of independent videos and documentaries produced. There are now official ‘tracking teams’ at such summits, each responsibly and dedicatedly reporting back to their home countries from these international forums. Though traditional media continue to report at the forefront of such events, but the dynamism and the connectedness of the online media is unmatched. Especially among the youth, it continues to be the top most source of their daily news dose.

Off late, I have realized the power of the audio-visual media to tell inspiring stories and the power of sites like Reddit, Digg, Stumble upon and of course Facebook to spread this work around.

I participated in a two month online film-making course by noted environmental film-maker Nitin Das, organised by the British Council for select climate champions from India. Short documentaries were prepared by all participants and we have been circulating this work through a group called ‘Circle of good’ on Facebook and other social media tools. It was formed with the objective of creating a platform to find an audience for our creative work (mostly of environmental and climate change advocacy category). This viral experiment is on-going and we hope to take our stories to a wide audience using social media.

I chose to make my documentary on the subject of solar energy called ‘Solar Sangh’ which tracks an initiative of two young postgraduate students trying to spread solar energy technology to the masses. In India, the target audience for solar technology is associated with villages and the rural poor. We miss out on the urban poor that form a sizable segment in our cities.

There are many such stories waiting to be told. In the coming times, youth will play a major role in taking mitigation and adaptation actions for climate change. And social media will humbly be the medium of their messages. ‘Medium is the message’ coined by Marshall McLuhan holds a new meaning.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o__3IeGP1c]

Rozita Singh is British Council’s International Climate Champion.
If you are an environmental filmmaker (professional or amateur) or are simply interested in watching environmental films, you too can join the Circle of Good group on Facebook.

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The BIG day

Day 7, Having worked through the night both for the presentation and our dance, we got up a little later than usual, in time for our final rehearsal for the presentation.  With a little more correction to our recommendations and compilations we were finally ready for the big show.

Dressed in the British Council T-shirts, we gathered at the conference hall, where all the VIP’s including the Maharaja of Jodhpur Gajsingh ji, Members of ‘Wells For India’, Scientists from CAZRI and AFRI, Deputy Director of British Council Charlie Walker and our very own Reesha Maam and Guru Sir. Then began the round of presentations, at the end of which the chief guests expressed their pleasure in organizing such camps and its importance.

Following this formal gathering was the cultural show, where a group of native singers had come in to entertain the guests. As we were nearing the end of the camp, both happiness and sadness took on high and all of us started displaying our own talents in dancing (can be better called spinning) to the native tunes.

After the Maharaja left started our own party, which proved that even our dance rehearsal was a success and this party lasted all night resulting in us skipping our breakfast the next day. We had to finally split up, but the learning during this camp was not only the subject of climate change but also friendship and teamwork. In the end we were all sure that this camp will certainly encourage us to do further work in our own fields and we would help each other to bring an environmental change in our society.

Prajitha T, International Climate Champion, India

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The Blue City

Day 5 was a trip to Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. The drive up to the fort begins to reveal the majestic presence it holds across the city. We were met by our guide for the day. The foundations of the fort were laid in 1459 by Rao Jodha and it has never been invaded. The fort is therefore considered one of the mightiest forts of all time and one of the most spectacular forts in South Asia. The fort was donated by the maharaja as a public building and has since been turned into one of the best museums in India. The tours included the beautiful Period Rooms, impressive collections of palanquins, elephant howdahs, cradles, paintings, weapons …the magnificent heritage of the Rathores of Marwar – Jodhpur.

The terraces of the fort offer a view across the blue city – the maze of buildings in the old town painted in a distinct blue which provides the eye with a vision fitting to the fort that overlooks it. The indigo blue paint not only reflects sunlight to keep the homes cool but also act as mosquito repellents.

Part of our tour  included an explanation of the water harvesting system of the fort, past and present.  We were guided through the old town, again shown the old water management systems. These are no longer used within the city following the connection of the Indira Gandhi canal to provide the city’s water.

The narrow streets of old Jodhpur were bustling and vibrant. The International Champions were dazed by the interaction between, humans, animals and vehicles.  A dose of ‘retail therapy’ was needed after such a packed week so we explored the many shops offering local textiles and handicrafts. A great day for all.

Jessica McQuade, International Climate Champion, UK 

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Renewable Energy – Our Future!

Day 3: The day began with a lecture by Dr. PBL Chaurasia, Principal,VyasEngineeringCollegefor Girls,Jodhpur, on the scope of renewable energy sources, with a focus on solar energy. Dr. Chaurasia has carried out research at Fuel Cell Laboratory,UniversityofBermingham.

We learnt that while India has 17% of the world’s population it has an electricity consumption of 2%. At present,Indiahas an installed capacity of 1,85,500 MW and the National Solar Mission envisages to achieve solar power of 20,000 MW by 2020. According to Dr. Chaurasia, “Thar Desertalone has the solar potential to meet the entire power requirement of the country.” He introduced us to various innovative solar devices like solar candle making machine, solar still, solar PV pump and integrated solar device (heater, cooker, dryer combined). We also came to know about an innovation called passive cool chamber- a refrigerator which runs without electricity (Rs. 5000). It works on the principle of evaporative cooling, keeping the vegetables and fruits fresh for 3-5 days and milk products for 3-5hrs.

For the next session, Mr. Vikas Balia a corporate lawyer spoke about industrial pollution and economic growth. He began by speaking about the textile industry of western Rajasthan, and how the hand processing units use harmful chemical dyes which the treatment plants are unable to treat. However he felt that, “Conservation without growth holds no meaning; shutting down industries is not an option, they may just shift to another place.”

He observed that currently there is market failure in allocating resources efficiently. So, he advocated technology led solutions and an equitable distribution of cost for environmental conservation. Along with this, Mr. Balia proposed that policy makers should adopt a holistic approach and that law should be aligned with economics, to do away with regional imbalances.

In the afternoon it was time to visit a recharge well (beri) in Judia. We were accompanied by a camel which caused much amusement to the champions! 

Next we visited Suzlon’s monitoring station at Balesar to learn about wind turbine generators (WTGs). The station monitors the 91 WTGs owned by various companies that generate a cumulative power of 140 MW. We enquired the cost and found out that 1MW WTG amounts to roughly Rs. 6 crore with an operational cost of Rs. 15,00,000-16,00,000. The power generated is fed into the state grid and the companies are paid for it by the government. We felt very fortunate to visit one turbine, equal in height to a 25 storey building.

Some myths were dispelled here, such as wind turbines cause noise pollution and being the cause of death for birds.

The surrounding picturesque landscape at sunset provided the perfect ambience to retrospect on the day’s learning.

Reading of the day: ‘The Rational Optimist’ by Matt Ridley (Recommended by Mr. Vikas Balia)

 Preeti & Rozita, International Climate Champions

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International Climate Champions from UK, China, Bangladesh and India at Jodhpur

After about three hours of flying across three states we arrived at Jodhpur , and our entry into the Water Habitat Retreat was flagged by the royal appearance of the building which served to be a visual treat for us. This structure which was once the hunting palace of the Maharaja is now a representation of the traditional water conservation mechanism with one of the largest catchment areas. With a lake and an annicut to keep us company through our stay, our learning will turn out to be a more visual.

We were given basic information about the city of Jodhpur by Mr.Karni Singh, Director of Mehrangarh Fort Trust. We then proceeded for a ‘Water Walk’ which basically was to enlighten us about the various water conservation systems of Jodhpur that were present within the campus. We were assisted by Mrs.Kanupriya, Project Director of Jal Bhagirathi Foundation, an NGO which is reviving traditional Water harvesting systems in Jodhpur. Apart from the technical explanations we also came to know about the history of the palace and various other interesting stories which included haunted areas in the campus.

The day ended with a briefing on what we would be experiencing in the coming week and we dispersed with high expectations on what is in store for us.

Digu Aruchamy, Prajitha T (International Climate Champions India) and Jessica McQuade, International Climate Champion UK

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Save Tomorrow, Today

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the governing body of the Convention, and advances implementation of the Convention through the decisions it takes at its periodic meetings. The Conference of the Parties has been held in 16 countries with Climate Change being an increasingly important issue across the world. The last two conferences in Copenhagen and Cancun respectively have caused quite a stir among the nations resulting in various heated discussions and some successful policy implementations.

COP 17 was held at Durban, South Africa this year in the month of November. This place apart from being rich in its bio-diversity is now also looked upon as a country with opportunities for economic development. With on-going climate negotiations all over the world this event is much awaited among environment enthusiasts and policy makers it was an event of huge magnitude and great significance.

The negotiating process on climate change revolved around the sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP), which meets every year to review the implementation of the Convention. The COP adopts decisions and resolutions, published in reports of the COP. Successive decisions taken by the COP make up a detailed set of rules for practical and effective implementation of the Convention. There were always moments which demanded absolute attention tracking the policies and changes every country has made or is about to make.

Thousands of participants, including government representatives and observer organizations, have attended previous climate change conferences. The sessions in Durban attracted over 20,000 participants, including some thousands of government officials, and over 10,000 representatives of UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and around 4000 accredited members of the media. The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun last year had over 11,800 participants.

Participation in COP 17 and CMP 7 was restricted to duly nominated representatives of Parties, observer States, accredited observer organizations and accredited press/media. Those Parties to the Convention that are not Parties to the Protocol may participate as observers in the meeting of the Parties.

All Conferences to date have had a high-level segment attended by anywhere from 70 to 100 ministers and senior officials, usually at the end of the session. The high-level segment normally includes an opening or welcoming event with some head of state participation and is partly attended by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Arriving during the second week of COP had its own advantages and disadvantages. While I missed the numerous discussions and meetings I made it just in time to attend the launch of ‘Momentum for Change’ providing me the opportunity to carefully listen and gain perspective from the plenary chaired by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, President of South Africa Jacob Zuma and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres marking the initiative of the United Nations system. This conference as a whole was a great platform to meet leaders and negotiators from all over the world sometimes playing a huge role in the decisions you make. I also had the opportunity to meet and interact with Mrs.Jayanthi Natrajan, Environment minister of India.

While many sit back and start to think of this conference as ‘just another conference’ which is over hyped , one might want to come take a look at the magnitude of this event and the support of the youth that spreads around like wildfire keeping the momentum at a progressive pace. Yes, there are many setbacks- but out of this imperfection there lies a level of agreement with thousands of youth wanting their voices heard. Being part of an event of such a huge scale only made me want to go back to my own country and provide them with the vision and knowledge I gathered here and share my experience.

Shruti K N, International Climate Champion, India
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In Durban…

Its been a rare privilege and great learning experience. I have been involved in various activities all over Durban, some have been such a great experience where I met key people.
On 25th at the opening session of COY7, I conducted a workshop on “Building Grassroots Groups”.  I spoke about my experience with starting up an organization. I was grateful that people really appreciated my talk, and asked me to present the again on the following day (26th) at COY. I presented again to a much bigger and a much diverse audience and went into details using my own experience and some that I had gained from the workshop in  Bangalore. I used stories of Climate Champions in India to motivate them to fight for their cause. The event was received with much warmth and appreciation and I was humbled  by their kind words.
On the 27th, we went on the Climate Train. The much anticipated event saw the Executive Secretary Ms Figueres, Ms June Joseph-Langa, CEO of Indalho Yethu (SA’s main Environmental Agency) and the Mayor of Durban. I interacted with Ms. June and she invited me to hold a workshop for young South African kids aboard the Climate Train!. It was a great honour indeed and I will be conducting them next week.
On 28th, I attended the session chaired by Dr, RK Pachauri, Director of TERI. The session focused on “Response of Indian States to Climate Change: Development of State  Action Plans against Climate Change. I asked Mr. Pachauri the following question: ”Thank you for the opportunity Sir. My name is Saket, I am the British Council’s Climate C hampion from India. I have been keenly following the development of State Action Plans on Climate Change. How in you’re opinion can young people take part in development and implementation of such policies?”  I later managed a photo with him as well!.
Climate Champions and the Climate Caravan were hosted for a business leaders dinner on 28th night. I met up with British Council representatives, Mr. Sundru Pillay, the project manager of the Climate Train, Mayor of Durban and several other key partners of the British Council in South Africa.  Mr. Pillay (who is also the President of Lions International) invited me to deliver a guest speech at the Annual meeting of Lions Clubs International (South Africa) to be hosted aboard the Climate Train on December 2, 2011.
I spent a day on 29th, doing workshops with school children in Durban. Kids had come in from all over Durban. It was very delightful experience seeing  how seriously going green is being taken in Durban :) Nguyet from Veitnam and I conducted a quiz where we divided them into groups name Methane, Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide and asked them to draw their sources. The other team then had to guess. Following this, was a short quiz designed to raise awareness about the intricacies of Climate Change. We planted a sapling with them as well!.
I was invited to a dinner marking the launch of WWF’s book on “Towards a Greener Economy” in association with NedBank on 29th evening. The exclusive event saw a panel discussion chaired by the CEO of WWF, CEO of Nedbank and a prominent ecologist. The session focused on major challenges faced by the world current economy and how we can achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050. Amongst several notable people I met was Mr. John Smith, one of the negotiators with UK delegation and the Director of Climate Change Initiative of the British High Commision of SA. He was keenly interested in my project and encouraged me to continue my endeavor. We discussed about India’s stance and the future of Kyoto Protocol.
On 30th, I was invited by the Manager of eThikwini Municipality to be a part of the Climate Change Learning Exchange which had representatives from 13 different countries like Germany, France, China, Ghana, Somalia, Norway, Taiwan etc. And I was also the youngest member there! The event was attended by several government representatives with a panel discussion on “Climate Change Adaptation”. It was perhaps one of the most amazing experiences at COP17. We were doing case studies and then building strategies to solve the key challenges highlighted by the case study. It was such a learning experience solving key problems along with policy makers from around the world. On the sidelines, I met with the Deputy Director of French National Bank, and discussed the future of Carbon Markets.
On 1st, I was invited by Ms. June Josephs-Langa, CEO of Indalho-Yethu to attend a breakfast meeting marking the launch South Africa Youth Chapter on Climate Change. The meeting was attended by representatives from various organisations from all across Africa. The afternoon was followed by the Webex session with Christiana Figueres  I attended with other champions. I met with the team of official Indian negotiators in their country office as well.  In the evening I was invited to attend a Gala dinner hosted by Ms. Maneka Gandhi and the Director of the movie 11th hour. The theme was “Going Vegetarian”. The event was attended by Government negotiating team from India, and several other key people. I was interviewed by the media present there, who wanted me to talk about my work on Climate Change. Executive Director of EmpowermentWorks (an international NGO)  was very appreciative of my work, and was very keen on collaborating with my project!
Saket is at Durban attending COP17 as part of the British Council delegation.

Saket Dave, International Climate Champion, India


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An Extended Adventure!

By Mark Bessen, International Climate Champion, USA
 30 January 2011

After the Climate Camp officially ended, I wanted to spend a bit more time in India before flying back to Los Angeles. Using the International Centre Goa as a home base, I promptly began my adventuring. I stayed in Goa for a week, and then took the train up to Mumbai and stayed there for another three days. This was the first time I had travelled alone – much less traveled internationally at all – so I was understandably nervous. But I found the friendliness and willingness to help from almost everyone in Panjim and elsewhere to be very comforting.

On day one I decided to do the typical Goan touristy thing to do – go to the beach. First on my list was Calangute. As it turns out, the beaches of Goa are just about the only part of the state I did not like at all. Maybe I don’t appreciate them fully because I live near the beach, but they are just overwhelmingly overcrowded and strewn with garbage everywhere. Every two meters you walk, someone is trying to convince you to participate in some form of water sport – parasailing, jet skiing, wind surfing, tubing. Finally I gave in and decided to try the parasailing. As it turns out, it was great! Definitely worth all the hype, even though I was only in the air for 30 seconds or so. It felt like I was floating, drifting away from the concerns below me. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to find a place to go paragliding.

From Calangute I ventured a bit north to Anguna beach. I bumped into a man who was just starting a “paraboating” company, and decided to give it a try. If you’re as confused as I was about the difference between parasailing, paragliding, and paraboating, here are the basics: parasailing is when you’re pulled by a boat with a round-ish parachute; paragliding is where you go off cliffs with an elongated parachute and “glide” along the wind currents; paraboating, paradoxically, is more like a small plane – you have an elongated parachute, but there is a large fan and motor on the back to blow you whichever direction you choose. As I said, I tried paraboating. I was in the air for about 20 minutes total, and the view was breathtaking. I could see the whole coast of Goa, all the beaches, all the landscapes.

The next day I went to the Spice Farm in Ponda. I was taking buses everywhere in an attempt to reduce my carbon emissions, so due to a combination of my getting lost and the changing of bus routes, it took about 3 hours to get there. The spice farm was fascinating, which was a pleasant surprise (I expected it would be generic and somewhat unexciting). I had a one-on-one tour with a guide who was able to answer my exhaustive list of questions, and I learned quite a bit. Did you know that nutmeg and mace (the stuff in pepper spray) come from different parts of the same fruit? After my tour, I wanted to check out the main attraction of the farms – the elephants. It was terribly depressing. The conditions of captive elephants are absolutely atrocious. The two elephants I saw – one female and one bull – were chained up so tightly they couldn’t take more than two steps in any direction. The bull had his tusks hacked off, and both were being brutally screamed at by the people in charge. Every time they screamed, I could see the elephants flinch in anticipation of being whipped again and again. I asked if I could spend some time with the elephants and have them unchained for a while. They told me the only way to do so was to participate in one of two activities – an elephant ride, or an elephant bath. I didn’t want to subject an elephant to carrying me, so I went with the bath. Those in charge coaxed the elephant to the watering hole with a series of commands and physical abuse, at which point I was able to pet and spend time with the elephant. I just wanted to be near it, but the guides were intent upon having the elephant “perform”, showering me with water and splashing with its trunk. All in all, I highly recommend the spice tour, but if you’re any sort of animal activist, as I very much am, the elephant escapades are a bit traumatic.

On Monday I went to visit Aayush Surana, International Climate Champion, India at his university, the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS). I got a taste of authentic Indian dorm food, and I was thoroughly impressed. Aayush tells me that meat is only served once a week – the other 6 days are purely vegetarian! I’m envious of the ample availability of vegetarian fare in India. I learned to play carom, a game similar to American billiards. On Tuesday I went out in the field with Parag Rangnekar. Most of you know Parag as “the butterfly guy,” who led us through a nature preserve where thousands of butterflies saturated the air. However, wildlife (primarily butterfly) preservation and research is only a hobby for Parag. Professionally, he works for the Mineral Foundation, an organization implementing grassroots projects in communities surrounding mining sites. The Mineral Foundation receives subsidies from mining organizations, including Sesa Goa (where we saw the building made entirely out of bamboo) to fund projects relating to how the local communities are affected by mining. Parag’s work focuses mostly on water management. Mining dramatically disrupts the water table and diverts the natural flow of rainwater (particularly in the monsoon season). Since much of Goa’s population relies on agriculture – primarily rice farming – the issue of irrigation is critical for their livelihoods. The Mineral Foundation has funded the building of walls to normalize water flow, regulated wells which can be used for fresh water, and even funded the development of preparatory schools in local communities. These projects both improve the villages around mining sites and provide jobs to villagers. I got to see some of those projects firsthand.

The following day I met with Dr. Banakar of the National Institute of Oceanography. NIO is run by the government, and security is incredibly high. It seems almost like some sort of CIA operation when you get through the three levels of doors into the main office complex. It was nice to be able to see some of the research used in current research, but my visit turned me off a bit to working in a lab. The cold, windowless labs were not too welcoming. While I was visiting Aayush at BITS, I noticed that there was a conference going on regarding Wastewater Treatment and Energy Production. As my Champions project was on Microbial Fuel Cells, I was very excited. I very infrequently find any active work going on surrounding this topic, and it was heartening to see some of the innovative research going on. I was inspired to pick up my research (which I had previously put down for a while due to lack of resources, i.e., a lab) upon my return home. The conference was a great networking experience, and I met experts in the field from around the globe. It was a bit intimidating, though – I felt like I was the only one there without a Ph.D.!

After a 12 hour train ride, I was in Mumbai. I loved the city. Yes, it was chaotic and congested. But everything felt so active and full of life! It was fun to spend time just walking around to try to get a sense of what everyday life is like in such a populated city, which consists of so many economic groups. I visited some of the slum areas of Mumbai, which were quite heart wrenching. The children begging were the most upsetting. I felt somewhat helpless, as I couldn’t just keep handing out money to everyone. I also went on a boating tour to Elephanta Island, which I saw some of the caves created to honor Hindu gods and goddesses (the main cave depicted Shiva). It was great to see one of the religious sites in India, and presented a very different viewpoint. After all of that gallivanting, I was ready to get on the plane back to Los Angeles.

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End of one and a beginning to another!

20 January 2011

By Joanne Kotalawala, International Climate Champion, Srilanka

Day 6 of the ICC International Camp in Goa, many are filled with mixed emotions today as it is the final day of activities of the camp. Once again we begin the day early and head in to the coach for a somewhat different field-trip. Today we will explore nature by boat. We are heading out to visit the mangrove eco-systems of Goa and we were also visiting Cambarjua Canal, where we hoped to sight crocodiles, who are the keystone species in the mangrove ecosystem of Goa. We were privileged to be in the presence of Dr.Untawale and Dr. Borekar who are experts in these fields and were able to give us a great deal of information on these. We first visited the Mangrove ecosystems, where we first sited the white egrets dotting the green background of mangroves. Here we were able to observe the unique structural and biological nature of growth of the mangrove species. En route to the Cambarjua canal we made a stop at the Dr.Salim Ali Bird sanctuary, which is located along the edge of the mangrove forest. Along the way we observed birds such as Kingfisher, Eagle etc. Then it was a smooth ride to the Cambarjua canal, it did not take too much time to spot a crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) quietly basking in the muddy waters on the banks of the mangroves. It was truly amazing to observe a crocodile in its natural habitat. From here we headed back to ICG, where the groups made the final additions to the Goa declaration and prepared for their sessions with Sam Harvery, Director British Council, West India and also with David Viner, Head Climate programme, British Council, London. After this it was time for a lovely dinner, overlooking the beautiful beach of Goa.

By Abhishek Acharyya, International Climate Champion, India

When I touched down at the Kolkata Airport I ended a phenomenal journey which started from the same place a week back. In the last 7 days. I have learnt so much not just about the environemnetal isssues but about many more things. About life in different parts of the world, about environmental problems in different parts of the world. Also how they are tackling those. These 7 days of my life have been one of the best days of my life. There were many first in life in these 7 days. From flying to a live video conference and more. Even though I live so close to the Sunderbans I have never been able to go there. But thanks to British Council I have seen how estaurines ecosystem work. I think I should not write a lot about what happened when as it will take ages to explain and my climate buddies have already written about it.

But I would like to thank British Council for organising such a wonderful camp for all of us. In this world spinning out of control due to selfishness and conflicts we the young people of the world came together and worked for the same goal ‘a better future’. We may live thousands of miles, separated by seas, oceans and un- erasable lines. We might speak different languages, we may belong to different religions but we are one – we are Climate Champions. We are doing different kinds of works and in all these works I have a strong belief that we will contribute to a better world in the future.

The journey now we will begin will decide whether we will get to live in this world as humans, whether our young cousins will get to play in those fields where we used to play when we were young. Whether we will restore the dignity of our Mother Earth. And whether we will give the helm of affair of a better world to the coming gerenation. I wish you all a very best of luck and I strongly believe that we with our youth power will find answers to these questions.

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“Lizards of the sea” with “Horns of cattle in the mouth”

19th Jan 2011

By Abhishek Acharyya, International Climate Champion, India

Do you want to Know about the “Lizards of the sea” with “Horns of cattle in the mouth” or “Solar powered, Pulse stabilizer and tidal subsidizer”. If yes read on. It’s the 5th day of the 3rd International Camp of ICCs at Goa. Today we had a tight packed schedule first we had presentations by some of the Climate Champions. I gave a brief presentation on the Children’s Day event we organised at the Victoria Memorial, Kolkata and the special camp where I went to our neighbouring village. Then there was a lecture on the Forests of Goa by Shashi Kumar, followed by another educative session with Parag A. Rangnekar on butterflies of Goa. Some of us including me also bought a book by him on the same topic. After a brief break we had another round of presentation by other Climate Champions. Then Mr. Ajay Gramopadhye, a passionate wildlife photographer, environmentalist and our guide at the camp showed us some of the best wildlife pictures I’ve ever seen. Here I would also like to mention the kind of creative work our climate buddies Shenaz from Maldives have shown us of his country. It is sad that such a beautiful country like theirs will get wiped off the face of the earth if we don’t start solving our problems rather than creating more. Sunita our Climate Champion from Nepal showed us a documentary  she is working on, though half finished, it was very good. It is about the effects of climate change on women . It is true that climate change affects women in a much more profound way than men. We also had a great session with Dr. Untawale , who is always with us and is so  helpful solving all of ours queries all the time. He explained to us about mangroves today which filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge. Finally two professors form the nearby Goa University told us about the botany and zoology of Goa, sealing in all the small gaps which might have been there. And they told us how mangrove and other ecosystem acts as the thing I wrote in the intro and how Portuguese described Crocodiles in Goa. But before we left for Old Goa, we had a lecture to catch by Ramesh Kumar, from NIO. He told us about the Monsoon and Climate Change. And answered all the left over questions which I had.

Finally we went to Old Goa and Panaji. There we went to a very old home. Being a History student it was the icing on the cake which thanks to British Council and especially to Sharlene I could eat. Therefore summing it up I guess it was the best day till now but I think I should say that yet as every time I say that British Council does something better. So I am eagerly waiting for tomorrow.

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