Can we really do anything to tackle climate change in Bangalore?

June 8, 2017
By Rang De Team
Bellandur as it looked in 2005. Photo by Sitaram Shastri

If you have been living under a rock then you might not know that this month has been significant for climate change. We celebrated World Environment Day and brands from Ola to Myntra did what they could to join the trending topic. The United States shocked the world by withdrawing from the Paris Agreement but the rest of the world has been united in its determination to soldier on in the battle against climate change.

(We should take inspiration from Nicaragua, the other nation that refused to sign the agreement because they believe it doesn’t go far enough.)

Ola’s message was brilliant. #FarakPadtaHai (it makes a difference) is what they kept hammering on for a week and Ola share became Rs 1 for a day. And that message is really what we subscribe to here at Rang De as well.

Instead of tokenistic appreciation of environmental concerns, we believe in active and practical involvement. Every little bit counts and we are a testament to that statement. (Or, as a Gujarati friend told me when I first joined Rang De, ટીપે ટીપે સરોવર ભરાએ — drop by drop fills a lake).

The same lake 12 years later

Bangalore is burning & much more

In our hometown, we are particularly concerned about climate change.

Last week, Varthur lake joined Bellandur on the list of burning lakes. It caused uproar on social media.

In this brilliant (the headline may sound somewhat bombastic) and long article on Wired, we see a picture of a city ripe with dynamism but whose development has mercilessly choked its natural resources. Shadow actors have emerged to quench its thirst as an apathetic citizenry only raises its voice to decry the injustices of the water mafia without actually taking a cold, hard look at themselves and their actions that caused the situation in the first place.

This Saturday, we have tied up with doers like Mansoor. Vishwanath Srikantaiah, Pooja Rai, Mansoor and Vishalakshi Padmanabhan are four individuals that earnestly believe in sustainability and would like to let people in the city know how they can alter their lifestyles and support the initiatives that are working towards healing the city.

Converge: DIY Sustainably is the second in a series of events that seeks to unite people that want to make a difference and will be held at Innov8, Koramangala on Saturday (4PM-6.30PM).

In this event, our speakers hope to discuss waste segregation, composting, rain water harvesting, open well rejuvenation, sourcing food locally, constructing playgrounds through waste materials and much more.

As an organisation focused on ​financial empowerment of rural communities, sustainability is important to us as we know firsthand how the impact of climate change is most acutely felt by the poor (especially those in the agricultural sector). We want to engage urbanites to draw attention to​ methods we can implement to bring effective change in the long-term. ​

All of the speakers are united in their belief that we cannot just rely on the authorities to bring a semblance of order to the world.

In this expansive interview of Vishwanath on Broken Toilets, our city’s Zenrainman explains it best:

At the end of the day citizens have to understand that there is nobody out there who can solve your problems. Getting that message across has been the thing.

We don’t know if Bangalore will be unlivable by 2020 as Professor TV Ramachandra of the Indian Institute of Science predicted last summer.

We can only be responsible for our own behaviour and learn (perhaps, more importantly unlearn) what we need to and be part of the solution.

After the Mara Habba tree festival organised by Jhatkaa over the weekend, both me & my colleague were admiring the beautiful trees of Cubbon Park. “When was Cubbon Park created?” he asked. “1870,” I answered.

“So it takes nearly a hundred years for something beautiful to emerge.”

That is really the timescale that we need to keep in mind. Nature cannot be cajoled with and results cannot be realised overnight. It takes the concerted effort of thousands of people at the same time with each convert going on to inspire so many more.

Real change takes time, requires consistent effort and true belief. This world is worth saving and we can only do it together.

And the sooner we start, the better.

Tickets to Converge: DIY Sustainably can be found at the following link. To find out more about the event and the speakers, do head over to the Facebook event page.

Rang De is a not-for-profit funded by Tata Trusts, working to fight poverty by providing small loans to underserved communities in India. It allows individuals and corporations to lend to rural entrepreneurs across the country helping them step out of poverty.

In its mission to bridge the gap between rural and urban India, Rang De has raised over 58,000 loans totalling over INR 59 crores, funded by over 12000 individual social investors and more than 25 corporate partners.