We often take time to know those who are fighting for a cause as critical as the environment, and take time to understand the issue itself. This time around, I’m sharing some excerpts from the interview I did with Nirmala Karunan, the founding member of Greenpeace India.
What can the common man do to save the environment?
Reduce our own wasteful consumption, get involved in political movements to protect your environment, starting with your own community. This could be anything from waste reduction and recycling and pollution control to resurrecting rivers, streams, forests. Support groups that are working at the national and international level. Think global, act local!
Does India present the same challenges as any other country in the world?
In India, environment and development and the two key issues. We cannot have inclusive growth without addressing concerns of social justice and the environment. Where will the fisherman fish if our oceans are depleted? Should India cut down its last remainingforests in the central Indian landscape in its pursuit for energy or should it look at energy alternatives like efficiency and renewables? How will our farmers survive if we destroy the soil health through chemical fertilisers? These are some of the key concerns.
Is alternative energy practical?
Many forms of alternative energy have already proved themselves. Wind power technology is now quite well developed and is set to grow well. Power from wind is in many places as cheap or even cheaper than coal. New developments in turbine technology are leading to increased capacity generation and therefore better economics for the industry. There are also exciting new developments in the field of solar energy that are reducing costs and increasing generation capacity. Bloomberg reports that solar power could be as cheap as coal in India within 5 years. In Bihar, alternative energy from rice husk has provided electricity to villages that have been ignored by the electricity grid.
When and where did Greenpeace start?
Greenpeace evolved from the peace movement and anti-nuclear protests in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1971. A group of activists set sail for Amchitka, the money for the mission was raised with a concert, their fishing boat was called “Green Peace.”How does it get financing?
To maintain absolute independence, Greenpeace does not accept money from companies, governments or political parties. We screen for and actually send checks back when they’re drawn on a corporate account. We depend on the donations of our supporters.
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Tomorrow: Sonam Kapoor