The Hindu Lit for Life | Climate risk is not just a numerical term

Dr. Arunabha Ghosh, Shawn Sebastian, and Supriya Sahu talk about stories of lived realities and liveable future 

February 10, 2023 06:10 pm | Updated March 20, 2023 07:52 pm IST

Venue TTK Auditorium, Music Academy, Chennai SEE MAP

Time & DateFeb 25 , 2023 , 04:35 pm - 05:35 pm

At the session on “building climate resilience”, panellists drew attention to the importance of rebuilding lives after a disaster strikes and the need to demystify jargons such as adaptation and mitigation more than counting the number of storms and deaths .

What does it take to bounce back when your home is destroyed, cattle is washed away or the bridge to the marketplace is broken? How fast can you resume your normal life with hyperlocal interventions is what redefines climate risk today, said Dr.Arunabha Ghosh, founder CEO of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water.

Documenting how the local communities take their lives forward in the midst of hopelessness after suffering losses in a disaster is the next best way to build climate resilience as these examples could be followed by others as well. Seeking out stories of resistance, is what film maker and independent journalist, Shawn Sebastian, has been doing to help connect community action with policy makers and local governments.

Talking about his experience of making 16 films, independent journalist and film maker Shawn Sebastian said he came across commendable work being done in different parts of the country. For instance, group of Odisha women replanting casuarina forest to serve as natural buffer against future storms, youths helping to revive springs in the Himalayas, people fighting droughts in Rajasthan, forest fires in Uttarakhand or battling floods in low lying Kuttanad in Kerala. “Filming their efforts is important because there is a great learning,” he said and opined that every media house should have a climate correspondent to highlight such stories.

If 20,000 people died in super cyclone of Odisa in 1999 and 20 years later only 70 lives were lost, it means modern equipment helped to save lives but climate change cannot be stopped and communities have to be in a state of preparedness and learn from each other’s example, Dr.Ghosh added.

TN Forest secretary Supriya Sahu while emphasising that the need to connect to sustainable way of living, highlighted the State’s progress in steering a major vision change in climate resilience. She cited examples from Odunthurai village in Coimbatore where the village panchayat president mobilised funds to instal a windmill for clean energy and also connected to the TN electricity board to supply power to neighbouring villages. She highlighted Tamil Nadu’s vision of increasing the green cover and protecting the wetlands and sought to make it a peoples’ movement for success.

Ms.Sahu reminded the audience of eco-friendly living of earlier days which was integrated in the culture. Eating on banana leaves or using manjal pai came naturally without using jargons, she said and added that Tamil Nadu had shut down plastic manufacturing units and come up with stringent guidelines for setting up plastic recycling units.

The High Courts of Madurai and Madras have declared their campuses plastic-free. It is a challenge because people are constantly seeking a life of convenience and therefore, it is important to create more awareness and impose fines on defaulters. The commitment to be climate resilient has to come from the masses, Ms.Sahu said.

The Hindu Lit for Life 2023 is powered by Life Insurance Corporation of India in association with Ajay Toothbrushes. The Associate Partners are NITTE Education Trust, Hindustan Group of Institutions, State Bank of India, Sai University and Vivek’s. Jewellery Partner: Joyalukkas. The Mobility Partner is Hyundai, Banking Partner is Indian Bank Realty, the Author Lounge Partner is VFS Global, the Realty Partner is Casagrand, the Knowledge Partner is SSVM Institutions, the Bookstore Partner is Higginbothams, the Gift Partner is Anand Prakash, and the Water Partner is Repute.

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