As we move closer to the historic climate change conference in Copenhagen this year, what disturbs me and a larger part of the international youth delegation is the fact that even though we are witnessing real evidence of climatic change everyday, both developed and developing countries do not seem to be agreeing on cutting down emissions.

On one hand, the US (which is a major polluter) and other developed nations, want the developing countries to commit to emissions, and the developing countries are not willing to do that as it will hinder their development.

But is there anyone out here lie me, who thinks that it’s time that we, as citizens, take the matter in our own hands and make changes to our everyday lifestyles? We would all agree that eventually the decisions, that nations take, are going to boil down to citizens accepting them and making changes to their lifestyles. Be it preferring public transport, saving water and electricity or cutting down personal carbon emissions through other means, we all know that it is possible. All that is required is a strong will and commitment! Waking up to this, organizations like 350 and several other non-profits are trying to spread the message of climate change issues in local communities.

Here in Bombay, we did a rally on October 24th, the International Day of Climate Action along with 350, the Indian Youth Climate Network, Rotary Club of Bombay and Sanctuary Asia. Several symbolic events including music, theatre and dance were organized so that the message about climate issues reaches the public. The first step to creating change is awareness and that’s where activism and lobbying plays a very important role.

Amidst all this, organizations like Acara, which are taking up critical issues of energy and water and helping create sustainable social businesses have a very important role to play, both in terms of advocacy and creating grass-roots change. The youth can play a very significant role in creating this change and I hope the spirit continues to grow!