With growing world population, urban development is imminent to provide basic infrastructure. And building inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities is the only way to boost prosperity at the local, regional, national and thereby global levels. A sustainable city also helps foster inclusive communities including the marginalized and vulnerable in the shared development.
As we all agree, climate change is one of the biggest challenges the world faces today and it will take a team effort to tackle. It can’t be solved by one country, industry or community. The governments, public and private industries and local communities will have to be part of the efforts for a long term and consistent solution.
Increasing public awareness about climate change is the first line of defence. Understanding the effects of climate change on daily lives, jobs and health will facilitate both behavioural change and societal support for the actions needed to mitigate climate change. There are a growing number of NGOs, government bodies, environmentalists and activists that are raising the awareness among the general masses on the risks of harming environment and are training the youth and communities to harness the environment friendly practices in all spheres of life. BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION MAKEOVER
Building with environment friendly construction is the first step towards reducing carbon emissions. The developers have realized the impact of construction on the environment and are adopting green building guidelines. The mere act of constructing is against the environment and therefore, the property owners are maximising the use of existing assets, or repurposing the same instead of demolition and new construction. Many realty firms are implementing new construction technologies and carbon accounting to evaluate building’s full lifecycle impact while, quite a few construction materials companies have committed to becoming carbon negative by 2040.
CHANGING BUSINESS PRACTICES
The phrase, "people, planet, and profit" to describe the triple bottom line and the goal of sustainability, was coined by sustainability legend John Elkington in 1994. It has now transcended from being part of company’s CSR to environmental, social and governance (ESG) framework in an organization.
The businesses have realized, that the impact of climate change on people and communities also endangers their financial success. Therefore, business practices and performance on various sustainability and ethical issues provide a way not only to measure business risks but also identify opportunities.
GLOBAL ACTION PLAN
Globally, the governments too are conscious of the fact that climate change affects communities disproportionately depending on their existing vulnerabilities, societal inequities and economic disparities.
In fact in an historic move, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in 2022 concluded with a momentous decision to establish and operationalize a loss and damage fund. The fund aims to provide financial assistance to nations most vulnerable and impacted by the effects of climate change.
INDIAN SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE
India’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) vertical, in collaboration with Union Ministries and States/UTs, is the nodal agency for coordinating and monitoring the works towards accelerated adoption, implementation, and monitoring of the SDG framework and related initiatives at the national and sub-national levels. The key stakeholders include the Government, civil society, private sector, academia, think tanks, research organisations, and multilateral organisations.
Citizens, real estate developers, activists and entrepreneurs are working in their own ways from adopting strategies to protect environment & creating awareness to bringing sustainable practices to villages & training the youth.
By sharing their passion and actions that are bringing actual solutions and change on the ground, these climate champions are inspiring others to act for the planet.
Akhilesh Anil Kumar, a 23-year-old climate activist from Kerala, worked with his organization, Bring Back Green Foundation, and the noteworthy achievement was their work on the Climate Education Curriculum, a revolutionary project that aimed at incorporating climate change education into the mainstream curriculum.
Medha Priya advocates for marginalized voices, particularly those of children and women, whose concerns are often overlooked. She strives to raise awareness and address their unique challenges within the sustainability discourse.
Pradeep Aggarwal, a renowned real estate developer has embraced cleaner construction practices and is implementing innovative approaches that prioritize environmental responsibility. He aims to encourage widespread adoption of cleaner construction practices throughout the real estate sector.
Sanju Soman is a dynamic and passionate environmentalist dedicated to addressing India's climate urgency. Under the Climate Leadership Program SUSTERA, he has till date trained 300+ youth climate leaders across India.
Sumaira Abdulali through her NGO is helping people to find out ways with which they can generate their own data and learn to take action to engage the authorities to mitigate the problem.
These are just five of the many around us that are creating an inspiring impact in their local areas, producing noticeable effects on their communities and surroundings. These unsung climate warriors understand how climate change affects the people as much as how their organisation can help make the world a better place.
The underprivileged people are the ones most affected by climate change.
Buildings & construction account for 40% of energy-related Co2 emissions in cities.
According to the WHO, climate change has a direct impact on increasing illness and disease.
Environmentally sustainable cities tend to be resilient to natural disasters and has population that is productive and includes the under privileged into their markets and services.
Climate equity ensures that all people share the benefits of climate protection efforts.
The circular business models can help reduce, reuse and recycle carbon intensive raw materials.
Climate-resilient solutions include Green buildings, low-carbon transportation, increased green covers, reducing air pollution and strengthening community participation.
CLIMATE LEADERS COME FROM VARIOUS WALKS OF LIFE, WITH DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC STANDING BUT WITH ONE PURPOSE – DETERMINATION TO SAVE THE PLANET AND IMPROVE HUMAN LIVES.