Activities at India Pavilion on December 11, 2015, Le Bourget, Paris
Sustainable Lifestyles Matter
“If we continue on our current consumptions patterns, one earth won’t be enough”, says Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, in a short film screened at the India Pavilion during a session on sustainable lifestyles. The session anchored by UNDP India on the last day of the COP 21 talks in Paris, examined the importance of the way we live, in addressing climate change.
While India is amongst the fastest growing economies in the world, it is also amongst the least wasteful, paying particular importance to sustainable lifestyles. Speaking at the session, Susheel Kumar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said “India is one of the few countries talking about the importance of sustainable lifestyles and consumption as a solution to the problem of climate change. We hope to see mention of the need to follow a more sustainable lifestyle in both the preamble and declaration emerging out of the Paris talks.”
The 100-mile principle empowers local communities
Recalling the words of two farmers from Ghana, “The food we produce, we do not eat; and the food we eat, we do not produce” highlights the central challenge facing the world today, said Ela Bhatt, Founder of the SELF employed Women’s Association (SEWA). Making a powerful case for re-ordering the world food system and better linking local production and consumption of food, Ms. Bhatt outlined the 100-mile principle – that basic necessities of food, water, energy, shelter, primary healthcare, education and financial services, could be met within a 100-mile radius.
What we wear: Khadi is low cost, high return and sustainable
Integral to a sustainable lifestyle will be what we wear. AK Jha, CEO of the Khadi and Village Industries outlined ways in which the Government is making a big push to harness the potential from the khadi industry, a hand won cloth that is spun and woven in natural environment. “Producing one metre of khadi cloth, provides one man-day of employment; it is an avenue for sustainable employment for rural artisans” said Mr. Jha.
The macro effects of consumption
Moving from the India perspective, to global, Arjana Srinidhi from the Centre for Science and Environment, called on both developed and developing countries to examine consumption patterns. With 40 to 50 gigatonnes of carbon emitted by the world each year, and an estimated remaining carbon budget of 1000 gigatonnes, in 20 years the world could be unsustainable, he asserted.
Every individual counts
Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are mainly driven by population size, economic activity, lifestyle, energy use, land-use patterns, technology and climate policy. But according to Prabhjot Sodhi, Centre for Environment Education, simple individual actions can play a significant role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Mr. Sodhi presented findings from the Low Carbon Initiatives toolkit which arms users with a wide-range of climate-friendly examples of every day actions that when aggregated across a larger population can contribute to Carbon dioxide reduction.
Mr. Satpathy, Director – Climate Change, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said, “Human induced climate change is becoming more and more apparent, the co-benefits of sustainable lifestyles have to be key to our strategy to address climate change.”
In conclusion, Preeti Soni, Head of the Environment Unit at UNDP said, “As India continues on its growth trajectory, adopting a sustainable lifestyle is everybody’s responsibility. It is not a return to conventional lifestyles but more so, about integrating technology, innovation and equity in our daily lives.”
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December 11 Valedictory, 2015
India’s INDC is prepared in a balanced and comprehensive manner to reflect all issues of
mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology transfer and capacity building while simultaneously endeavoring to meet all the developmental challenges that the country faces today.