Nine years and the determination to protect her own future. The protagonist of this story is the little girl Ridhima Pandey, Indian, who has recently started a legal proceeding against the Indian government for not having reduced greenhouse gas emissions from factories, vehicles and agriculture.
Too often governments forget – or pretend to forget – that the decisions taken in the medium term will have an impact on the lives of our children and our grandchildren. The petition, which is addressed to the Ministry of the Environment, Forestry Policies and Climate, as well as to the Central Council of pollution control in India, accuses the officials of neglecting their duty to protect the population from environmental damage. “The government of my country has failed to take measures to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which cause extreme climatic conditions,” Pandey declared recently. “This will have an impact both on my generation and on future generations”. With those reasons, she presented her own petition to the National Green Tribunal in India, specialized in cases related to the environment.
Pollution to the stars
In India, nation of 1.25 billion people, the problem of pollution is very important. In recent decades, a decrease of the monsoon rains and an increase of the waves of extreme hot have caused severe drought, minor crop yields and reduced access to fresh water. On the other hand, the rise in sea level, the melting of the Himalayan glaciers and extreme rains cause dangerous flooding. In fact, you can find in the country four of the ten most polluted cities of the planet in terms of air quality. According to a study by Greenpeace, 1,2 million Indians die every day for the excessive concentration of fine dust in the air.
“Farmacisti in aiuto“, an NGO active in India, says: “The frenetic development of modern India is exacerbating the poverty of the classes that are already socially marginalized and often it is not a sustainable development. Together with ‘Namastè’ we fought for years against these inequalities trying to sustain these communities with education, access to medical services, vocational training and social support. We believe that only a sustainable development that respects man and the natural resources can be a way of change for a real development of the country. We hope that the social conscience demonstrated by this young girl, daughter of an activist, can be taken as an example and that soon more and more people will take part in the change of this country.”
And how can we forget, then, the Encyclical letter signed by Pope Francis on the environment, the “Laudato si“, where the Pope launched a serious cry of alarm: “There is a very significant scientific consensus that indicates that we are in the presence of a worrying heating of the climate system”, due for the most part to the large concentration of greenhouse gases. Humanity must “take consciousness of the need for changes in lifestyles, production and consumption”. The Holy Father in his invitation to preserve the Creation put himself on the part of the children, of future generations and, obviously, of the last, when he says that the consequences will probably fall in the coming decades on Developing Countries”. The framework that the Pontiff describes in the first chapter of his Encyclical is depressing: deterioration of the quality of human life and social degrading.
Rahul Choudary, advocate of the girl, says: “Minors in India are informed of problems relating to climate change and on the effects of its impact. Pandey is simply asking the government to do its duty and to protect the natural resources from which hers and future generations depend for survival”. Adults in their hypocrisy, know everything and pretend nothing happens. Children in their purity, realize it and ask for help.