The year 2021 started with some uncertainty and apprehension after the chaos of 2020. However, we can see that climate change talks have taken precedence, protesters are using the power of technology to the fullest, and governments are being forced to take notice of the planet’s predicament.
This year, we’re drawing inspiration from the most striking environmental protests and campaigns in the recent past. Here are some of the forerunners of environmental campaigning that are encouraging so many to make a largescale switch.
School Strike for Climate
Aug 2018 to present
Led by the indomitably spirited Greta Thunberg, the School Strike for Climate gained power in numbers as thousands of schoolchildren across the world demanded answers, together. They directed poignant questions at governments, parliaments, and world leaders about their climate action plans and the future. The protesters took Fridays off from school (giving it its name – Fridays for Future) to pressurize governments all over the world to take immediate action.
May 2018 to present
A group of academics got together to form the Extinction Rebellion. It aims to urge governments to accept scientific facts and adopt practices against climate change, biodiversity loss, and social and ecological collapse. This movement is inspired by historic grassroots events, and the protesters seek global support to avoid the sixth mass extinction. They have held inspiring and effective rallies in many countries to draw attention to dire issues.
March for Science
22 Apr 2017
Earth day in 2017 saw hundreds of scientists and academics marching in the US cities to raise awareness on the importance of science; they were joined by marchers from other countries as well. The 21st century has seen the government officials’ stance on facts vs. feelings go back in time – they have been ignoring straightforward facts! The March for Science prodded governments to choose evidence-based policymaking, fund scientific research, and accept scientific consensus on climate change and evolution.
September 2019 Climate Strikes
20–27 Sep 2019
Also known as the Global Future Week, this was a series of strikes and protests across 150 countries. As many as 7.6 million (estimated) people participated in the movement to demand swift action against practices contributing to climate change. The dates were picked to coincide with the United Nations Climate Summit to prompt the UN into taking a firm stance on the issue. This was, in fact, the third global strike that was part of the School Strike for Climate.
March Against Monsanto
The infamous Monsanto corporation has been embroiled in controversial news since the ’70s. In 2013, protesters took to the streets across 330 to 436 cities to call for action against GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods. The March Against Monsanto movement called for the clear labelling of food items that contained genetically engineered ingredients. On social media, the campaign spread messages about how the influential corporate giant had enjoyed political favouritism, monopolised the food industry, and treated small-scale farmers callously.
Recent Environmental Protests and Campaigns in India
India, in addition to participating in most of the above movements, has seen some major environmental protests in the last two years alone. Across the country, Indians joined hands (virtually via social media) to press the government and the Environment Ministry to stop atrocities against the environment. Check out:
The thick rainforests of Dehing and Patkai in Assam are home to an immense diversity of species. However, there’s also coal in the underground. While there’s always been illegal coal mining here, it’s only going to increase as the government is ready to give permission for mining.
Withdraw EIA 2020
In many intricate ways, the draft notification of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 has been framed to do the opposite of environmental protection. At a time when the world is taking measures to protect and preserve the environment, this notification dilutes what little India had in place for the purpose.
Save Dibang Valley
The Arunachal Pradesh district, where the river Dibang flows, is rich in natural life as well as populations of indigenous tribes. It has a spectrum of wild landscapes. However, a proposed hydroelectric project planned on the river by Jindal Power Ltd. and the Hydro Power Development Corporation could ruin it all.
Save Aarey National Park
The bustling city of Mumbai is environmentally balanced thanks to the Aarey forest – home to wildlife and Adivasi communities who have called it home since before the city popped up. A metro car-shed construction planned within the Aarey area, however, brings despair.
The dismal air quality in Delhi, which has become famous across the world, had people from all age groups stage a protest urging the government to take immediate action.
Goa is more than beaches and parties; it is also irreplaceable rich biodiversity of Western Ghats forests. The state’s Mollem National Park faces demise with the proposal to extend a railway track, add a four-lane highway expansion, and a 400KV electricity transmission line through the forests.