This super-charged bunch from the one-year-old Indian Youth Climate Network went on the 3,500-km road trip to talk to ordinary folk along the route — many of them students in colleges and schools – about the imperatives of climate change, reports Shalini Singh.delhi Updated: Feb 05, 2009 12:55 IST
A month’s work by 10 youngsters — one that took them to 15 cities, starting at Chennai — came to an eventful end in the Capital on Wednesday.
This super-charged bunch from the one-year-old Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) went on the 3,500-km road trip to talk to ordinary folk along the route — many of them students in colleges and schools – about the imperatives of climate change.
What they ended up with is a body of knowledge about several innovative ‘clean’ technologies that are already being used around the country.
Twentyone-year-old Deepa Gupta, co-founder of IYCN, said the tour came about from the idea that India is an emerging ground for climate solutions, given its traditional practices. “We don’t know about so many indigenous solutions that are prevalent in our country — like organic farming in Andhra Pradesh, or using neem and garlic as pesticides, or the kind of recycling in slums such as Dharavi,” said Gupta. “We saw things already in place, like the Gadhia solar plant in Valsad, Gujarat, where steam is used for cooking and you can feed almost 50,000 people in one go.”
There were other serendipitous discoveries too, informed Alexis Ringwald, an environmental management graduate from Yale who was among the group of 10.
At Rajpipla in Gujarat, they knocked on the doors of the local prince’s palace to recharge their cars’ batteries. They found out that the young prince earned his living by cultivating worms and selling them as eco-friendly alternatives to chemical fertilisers.
And the group found another technology they learned about first-hand that they could showcase to others.
No wonder the group did all of this in cars that ran on electricity — and plant and vegetable oils.
As they travelled, this motley crew of 20-somethings – among them engineers, dedicated eco warriors, and a journalist and a mechanic — soaked in solar energy through mats and panels placed on their vehicles. The electricity thus stored was used by Solar Punch, a US-based pop band that toured with them, to amplify the music — and the message.