Last September, Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old student from Sweden, sat in protest outside the Swedish Parliament to urge politicians to act on climate change. She did not receive much support from her school, friends and family. But her conviction that ‘one person can make a difference’ made her go solo. Since then, school students from all over the world have taken it upon themselves to spread awareness and convince lawmakers about the dangers of climate change. The biggest worry for them is people’s lack of connect with natural disasters and subsequent disappearance of flora and fauna. In March this year, students from across India, missed classes for a day and took to the streets demanding lawmakers to take concrete steps to reduce pollution levels and cut the carbon footprint. These students have formed several groups on social media to urge people to save the world. In a latest initiative, on Tuesday, June 4, a group of school students gathered at the government housing colony in New Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar area, where hundreds of trees are being cut down to make way for high-rise buildings as part of the area’s redevelopment plan. Protesters hugged trees and demanded their right to breathe clean air. They held aloft placards with messages like ‘Even dinosaurs thought they had time’, ‘Hamare jungle se buri nazar hatao’ and ‘Breathing is killing me’. Among the protesters was a nine-year-old student from Gurugram, who had come with his mother and brother. He proudly showed his placard which read, ‘Save trees; Save wood; Save earth; Stop killing me.’ He smiled shyly and added, “My mom and bhaiya helped me make it.” Last year, there was a furore over the Delhi redevelopment plan for Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Thyagaraja Nagar, Mohammadpur, Kasturba Nagar, Naoroji Nagar and Srinivaspuri. NBCC had the task of pulling down old residential complexes – built in the 1950s – to replace them with high-rise residential buildings and commercial spaces, but construction work was temporarily halted by courts following a series of protests and litigations against the proposal to fell 14,000 trees. The forest department, which had given its go ahead, later withdrew all permissions. The protest this time is led by two students, Asees Kandhari, a Class X student and Aman Sharma, class XI student. The two environmentally-conscious students are knocking all doors to draw people’s attention to the impact of climate change. They are upset with the lackadaisical attitude of the general public and politicians towards climate change. “We talk about natural disasters like landslides, floods and droughts that happen around us, but because of our mindset, we fail to connect the link between these calamities,” says Aman.
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