On 6 November, while tens of thousands of activists braved the elements to demand climate action in Glasgow, amid the ongoing United Nations climate conference, it was the youth organisations of Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh that offered solidarity in both corners of India.
Responding to the global day of action, the Chennai Climate Action Group, with other solidarity groups and organisations, took place on the beach road, umbrellas in hand, sloganeering for real solutions to current climate change concerns.
Placards called attention to the number of environmental disasters in our midst, from the government-sanctioned violations in the Ennore Manali region (Save Ennore Creek, Save Chennai), the erosion triggered by the Kamrajar, L&T and Adani ports in Kattupalli (Stop Adani, Save Pullicat), to the rapid urbanisation of beaches from Thiruvanmiyur to Kovalam (Save Chennai Beaches; No Flyovers).
In the northern state of India, Himachal Pradesh has witnessed many landslides caused by constant heavy rain. This monsoon, Kinnaur witnessed a spate of catastrophic landslides that took the lives of tourists and local people. The local movement has gained momentum against the relentless construction of hydropower projects that have contributed to and increased the risk of disaster in the region. The tribal inhabitants of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh are demanding an immediate halt on hazardous hydropower dams in this fragile and over-exploited region in the high Himalaya. This demand has also been echoed by the neighbouring tribal trans-Himalayan district of Lahaul & Spiti, where a series of dam projects are proposed.
The new spate of constructions is now planned in altitudes above 3000 meters going up to the trans-Himalayas. This region is reeling under the impact of the climate crisis, with glacial melts, cloud bursts, avalanches and flash floods. More than 20 projects are in the pipeline, even as 4 big hydro projects are still under construction. The fate of Kinnaur will be shared by the neighbouring trans Himalayan district of Lahaul-Spiti, where more than 50 projects with a capacity of 3000 MW are planned on the Chenab River and its tributaries.
Cover photo credit: #NoMeansNo campaign, Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh, India)