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Update from India: Environmental Activism

  • 8 March 2021
Programme Officer, Lucy Gillingham, writes about how India is suffering from the effects of climate change and how Jesuit Missions is providing support.

Whether it be bursting glaciers in the North, or the catastrophic flooding in the South, climate change is affecting people in India right now. This threatens the millions of people who live in this glorious country.

The World Bank predicts that by 2030, climate change will have brought an additional 62 million people below the poverty line in South Asia, 45 million of these will be from India. The effects of climate change on agriculture are the driving force behind this, as they decrease production and increase food prices [1].

Jesuit Missions currently partners with Lok Manch, working to protect India’s environment and the most vulnerable people affected by climate change. Lok Manch do this through advocating for land rights for the Adivasi community, India’s indigenous people. They have traditionally settled in forests and are now the government’s scapegoats for environmental degradation. The Adivasi people often lose their land to mining companies who are destroying the planet and making many of the Adivasi community homeless while doing so.

During 2020, Lok Manch was able to secure protected forest status for 657 villages, training the communities in water conservation, environmentally friendly farming methods, and tree planting. In the Delhi metropolitan area, which is home to more than 30 million people, Lok Manch is involved in improving the water and waste management systems for people to access clean drinking water (WASH).

Lok Manch also advocates for safe and sustainable fishing in Kerala, which has been the subject of memorandums to top political figures including the state’s chief minister, and a policy brief produced by the University of Sussex. On this front, Lok Manch partners with the Adivasis Development Initiative in Kerala to combat sea erosion and promote sustainable fishing techniques.

Jesuit Missions has been working with Lok Manch since 2016 to make people aware of their entitlements and help protect the environment. To support their important work in India please click here…