I have been volunteering for social issues since my childhood. I spent most of my childhood with my parents in our agriculture fields in our village, Paleannaram (Nalgonda district, Andhra Pradesh) where I’ve been a real witness to climate change. My childhood was great because we never faced any water problem for farming and didn’t use so many fertilizers on the crops for yields.
The way climate is changing, it is affecting the agriculture very badly. We have now started using a lot of fertilizers, but the yields have not increased. There is also not enough water for the crop. There are no jobs in the village now due to climate change and so I moved to the city to help my family.
I reached Hyderabad and got a job in a private company to work as a sales executive. I worked there for almost 4 and half years which did not give me any satisfaction. Then one day, I came to know about Greenpeace and it’s creative approach to activism inspired me to join the movement to do something for the society and for myself as well. While raising funds, I participated in a lot of actions and public engagement activities.
In 2009, I protested against genetically modified rice, manufactured by Bayer crops. In turn I was arrested and a case was filed a case against me and the other volunteers who took part in the protest. The case against us lasted for almost four years. It was not easy going to the court every month but when we were released by the end of it, I felt a sense of pride that I had been a part of an action that was successful in communication the hazards of genetically modified rice in India.
Last year, in the month of October, the government of India hosted the 11th World Biodiversity Summit. Our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh gave a lecture about saving biodiversity. To highlight the coal crimes and deforestation for coal mining, Greenpeace has done a lot of awareness. Stopping deforestation means stopping coal which means reducing emissions. I am glad that I have been a part of this change with Greenpeace for a cleaner environment.
If we can save the environment, people will not move to urban areas in search of jobs. If development is approached through sustainable models in every part of the country, we can even solve rural poverty.
We need to save the environment because today is not end of the world. A lot of generations have to survive on the same planet.
The author is working with Greenpeace as a fund raiser.