Who is a ‘climate activist’? Come, meet some of my favourites.

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A climate activist campaigns and supports positive change in regards to the global climate crisis. He/she also leads wholesome discussions, spreads awareness and motivates others to take appropriate action.

At present, many young people are contributing to this social cause. What they are doing is simply noble because in reality, it’s not the young people who are the cause of climate change but many of them are still doing everything in their power to improve the current situation.

‘Climate change’ as a term on its own is scary and troubling. Its meaning invites more fear into the hearts of those who understand the dire consequences.

RECAP: ‘Climate change’ occurs when greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane are emitted from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, etc.). As a result, the gasses become trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere and heat it, thus disrupting the weather patterns in all kinds of ways.

The situation has worsened since the Industrial Revolution and to add insult to injury, it’s a man-made disaster.

Therefore, it’s imperative to read about and become inspired by youth climate activists who have risen as the voice of reason at such tender ages.

1. Tahsin Uddin

A 22-year old climate activist from Bangladesh who fully understands the unfair impacts of climate change on vulnerable groups of people in his country.

He promotes cycling as an eco-friendly vehicle, plants trees and organizes clean-ups.

2. Russell Raymond

A 17-year old reporter from the Caribbean nation of Dominica whose motivation to combat climate change rises from a personal experience.

When Hurricane Maria made landfall in September 2017, he was devastated to see the state of the island he once called home.

Hence, he used photography as a medium to capture grief and highlight the fatal effects of the crisis.

3. Mitzi Jonelle Tan

Mitzi belongs to Manila, Philippines and ardently campaigns for ‘climate justice’ – a term that I came across a short while ago.

Her fight against climate change can also be attributed to a personally-lived experience. Which happens to be the two back-to-back hurricanes that hit the Philippines in 2020.

During this difficult time, she and her organization made it a mission to feed the hungry, ask them in-depth questions about how the storm had impacted them and help them in every way possible.

4. Greta Thunberg

Perhaps, I saved the most infamous climate campaigner for the last.

She is the 15-year old girl who protested outside the Swedish parliament in 2018.

While holding a sign that said “School Strike for Climate”, she demanded that the government meet its carbon emissions targets.

Her small act led to big changes around the world. Students from the UK to Japan emulated her driven actions.

She was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for climate activism.

Her most heroic act which inspires me is when she sailed the Atlantic in a solar-powered yacht to attend a UN conference in New York.

At the end of the day, we cannot measure a youth climate activist by the number of achievements but by the sentiment with which they promote climate awareness and justice.

So, if you were looking for a sign to build a cleaner and greener world, this blog is it. 

We’ve already been impacted by climate change and it’s just the beginning.

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Climate change is a real, palpable problem – a man-made phenomenon whose effects we all are experiencing but doing little to curb.

In this blog, I would like to attempt to pin down some of the impacts which the climate crisis has already had on planet Earth so that my observations can generate a level of awareness and a certain sense of accountability in my readers.

Before we start, I’d like to assert that the more apt. the term is ‘global climate change’ since the alterations in our surroundings are not only being felt in India but also in the rest of the world.

I digress but it’s important to note here that the effects of climate change are unevenly felt around the world. The effects can differ between communities as well as individuals.

While the heat-trapping process has resulted in a rise of about 1.98°Foffsite link (1.1°C) from 1901 to 2020, it has also led to sea levels rising, droughts, floods, etc.

In theory, the consequences of climate change may seem one-dimensional but upon a closer look, they are far more disturbing once decoded.

For instance, a drought will disrupt human life even more in the sense that food production and human health will be impacted.

Floods will result in the spread of diseases and damages to ecosystems and infrastructure.

Such instances will interfere significantly with worker productivity as well.

This is why it’s important to examine the impacts of the global climate crisis before it’s too late.

1. No improvement despite lockdowns

The two most debilitating greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide and methane) continued to wreak havoc on the atmosphere in 2020 despite the worldwide socio-economic lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The above statement reflects how deeply the climate crisis has percolated into the planet and how necessary it has become to understand what we can do to avoid its further escalation.

2. Water resources take the brunt

Did you know that a snowpack (a mass of lying snow that is compressed and hardened by its own weight) is an important source of fresh water for many people?

So, as the snow from a snowpack melts, it becomes freshwater which is a valuable resource for the masses. Especially those residing in the Western United States where precipitation is unpredictable in warmer months.

But when temperatures rise, the amount of snow reduces overall meaning snowpacks may not be very reliable sources of water during warm and dry seasons.

3. Human health is compromised

It’s common knowledge that these heat-trapping gasses lead to hotter weather and heat is a deadly phenomenon for the human body.

The dry season can also fuel wildfires. Events such as lightning and strong winds have been recorded as contributing factors to the California wildfires.

Long-standing equity exists here wherein underserved and vulnerable groups will be impacted the most by climate change.

People struck by poverty, the elderly and individuals with preexisting health conditions may be the first in line to experience the aftermath of this crisis.

Therefore, we should act like a self-aware community as it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the looming global climate crisis.  

How The LGBTQ+ Community Continues To Influence The Fashion Industry.

No matter what your sexual orientation is, you should feel unbridled pride for who you are today and what gender you are attracted to. And, this feeling of pride and contentment should be felt every second of every day.

LGBTQ community and its awareness may be relatively new to people’s ears and even more astonishing to their eyes. And, the most novel concept born out of parades and fearless protests against violence and discrimination against queers is queer fashion. It is fair to say that queer fashion designers are being delightfully creative and brave by portraying their own beliefs using fashion. Their contribution has shaken up the fashion industry because they are depicting their and other sexual orientations using their own brands. There are many ways these people’s opinions have altered the fashion we know and witness today.

Such brands expect mainstream brands to try and accept what is beneath the surface. They want the line between gender, identity, and self-expression to blur. They want to create non-gendered beauty that is also fashionable and does not conform to the societal norms at the same time.

My favorite was the new rendition of the American gamer from the Midwest by a brand from the USA. Normally, his most worn outfit is a loose cotton T-Shirt and cargo pants. But this brand shook up things and traded the cotton T-Shirt for lace tops and spandex T-shirts that reveal some skin on your back and chest. *imagines PewDiePie in this outfit*

This bold statement by this brand tells me that it is better to create fashion that is inspired by a real-life event or a personal observation than simply crisscrossing male and female clothing.

Even celebrities like Taylor Swift took to their stages to kick off the Pride month in June by literally dressing up like a rainbow. Her message to “love who you want to love” is reflected in her pleasantly colorful outfit which was a pair of high-waisted lace-up shorts and a cropped, fringed long-sleeve top worn with a yellow tee underneath and some rainbow sneakers as well.

This way, she has inspired fashion in a new way. Wear all the colors of the rainbow and you are immediately part of an empowering moment. Continue reading “How The LGBTQ+ Community Continues To Influence The Fashion Industry.”

I sketched some. I got interviewed some.

I was recently interviewed in the capacity of a teen age blogger and that is what makes me happy and hopeful for the prospects of this blog. In the said interview, I let you know in a little more detail of what I have been up to and how my blog has stemmed into something I never imagined it would become.

READ MY INTERVIEW HERE!!

Now, within me, there is a massive ubiquity of happiness and apprehension as I present to you some of the drawings that I have been doing in the gap year that I have chosen to take oh so boldly.  I was always under the erroneous impression that sketching would not be that hard.

 

img_68541Well, that was until I picked up my thoroughly run out black ball point pen and started scratching aimlessly on the paper.

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The tip of the pen or pencil is so powerful. Every stroke, every slant line, every kind of shading done is imperative to the bigger picture. Every picture demands a preciseness that may take years to master.

Now, viewer discretion-I am not Picasso so you better teach your eyes to not fall out of their sockets because all that I have drawn and showed here is not very good, it’s not even close to perfect. Also, you can indoctrinate me in the techniques of sketching better.  (You can also make fun of the sketches but hey, do it in a corner where no sound reaches you.)

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It is just my very sad and very brave attempt to tame the black ink.

 

Please read. Please comment. I want your words. I want your feelings to reach me.

Renovatio. 

Probably the lengthiest poem I have ever written! I hope you like it. Please give me your honest opinions in the comments below! 

P.S The title of the poem is in Latin and translates to rebirth. 

She was made up of words,

They all said. She was meant

To be an author, they proclaimed.

But her mother, Mrs. Smith

Cooked dreams of an early

Marriage and a crawling toddler

For her. Thus, she ran.

 

She ran, leaving a world

Behind only to step into another.

She would paint her own life,

Embellish it with colloquialism,

Flowery words and further,

In her haste, she could only

Collect what her greedy hands

Touched. A toothbrush. A

 

Satchel and not as much a

Glance to the lady who was

Constituted of belligerence and

Hostility for her shaky career.

Betty was the bird emancipated

From a wooden cage. She would

Flap her wings around a strange

 

Place. She would grasp the

Feather and let it sink into

The welcoming ink and let the

Words spill out on an otherwise

Blank page. Oh! The jolts of

The train were like droplets of

Water flicked hurriedly after a

 

Nightmare. She was in a rocking

Carriage with people carrying

The burdens of their own stories after all.

She never batted her eyelashes

At another. Her concentration

Was pinpointed on the leather

Of the ledger she had managed

 

To gather. Her dexterous fingers

Groped the skin of the new diary

And her heart beat faster by

Imagining what would go in it

And which magazines her work would

Travel to. She was the witch and

This diary was her wand. She

Would cast enchanting spells

And thrive from it all.

 

For once, she heaved and a

Bizarre fear settled in the pit

Of her stomach. She knitted

Her brows deep in worry and

Anxiety for the thought of

Starting over. But the word

‘Valiance’ quivered in her mind like

Trees from an arrogant wind

Before a storm and she felt

Bolstered again. Because, she

 

Knew that no matter how harsh

The wind howls at the tress, they

Quiver but they never crumble and fall.

“Ma, I put lipstick on and I feel so pretty!”. 

Grip the brush with the tightness
that a  warrior exhibits while holding a sword.
Dip it in a powdery box much like a king
does after a war. Except his fingers
caress the crimson Tilak and gently
graze his forehead. You are no less than
a king or a queen, for that matter. Spread
the colored powder across your skin,
with the delicateness of your mother
who watches with fascination as her
fifteen-year-old daughter lives out
her dream to look more beautiful
than she already is in her dressing
room. Now, smudge all the sprouting
blemishes that might have bloomed on
your skin, it will cover not only spots but
also your imperfections. Apply
lipstick now. Brush the tip across
your dry lips with the artistry of
an artist who has ample experience to
recreate Mona Lisa in his basement.
You are ready to face the world.
You wear a mask on the outside and
conceal yourself from within.

A lengthier poem, this one.

I have so much on my plate right now and this is why I come bearing some of the contents that are on my plate.

I have devoted myself to the empowerment of teenage girls. This is why I am going around interviewing young girls around India (virtually, of course) to document their life-changing experiences and interesting discoveries.

Check out the Facebook page and hit like-  Teen JWB

For any writing assignments, comment below or just email me-avantikainghal216@yahoo.in

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does it feel like to move on?

It feels like exactly how
it sounds. You move
three steps ahead of
a force that was once holding
you back. You break
away from shackles that
were rooted around
your wrists and ankles.
You had fallen down
and now you have gotten
up-stronger and with
much more vigor. Your
mind can conjure images
of a healthy future. And
you can actually smile
without feeling the torture.
You can look
back now, it’s safe,
because what you will
see won’t be a mistake.
It will be a lesson of a
lifetime. And you will
remember his face
without fear or tear
streaks. You are not
reading these lines. You
are reading between
them because you know
exactly how it feels to
have moved on.
Yes, you have conquered
the art of moving on
and looking back with
courage and not scorn.

I am talking to you. Yes, YOU. The beautiful woman who fell head over heels over someone who does not give a damn. I want to help you move on. (I rhymed here too. Give me a cookie). If you are feeling down for any reason (related to boys), feel reassured after reading this poem because you can do so much better.

Personally, I never moved on because I have never fallen in love, (But does falling for Nutella count?). And, this was only my imitation of a sanguine woman who feels that she is strong enough to forget.

Thanks.
Good night.
I love you all.
Stay blessed.

Indelible.

Her demise shook the world
and left an uprising in its wake.
She was human but the world
obnoxiously called her a Dalit. Her
skin was marred with scars of
the most gruesome kind but
little do you know, they were
her battle scars that she took
to the grave. Her body, a
holy shrine was entered without
an invitation but you are not
aware that her soul is purer
than yours will ever be.
Her cache of memories will
be drenched with flashes of
hungry stares and lustful eyes
but also warm hugs and gentle
smiles from her parents,
something that the
scrupulous media does not want
to reflect upon. She can’t be
a secret anymore; her caste
cannot be a hindrance anymore.
She needs a powerful voice
and we must give her one.
As i recount this tale,
I am suddenly this girl. I
consume her desires. I
am her soul and spirit. And,
my fingers close in on against
each other and I take labouring
breaths. My throat feels like
huge amounts of sandpaper were
shoved into it. My eyes are watery
and blood shot and all you do is
stare. My clothes are shredded
and little rags are my only trustful
companions on my otherwise
naked body. A string of wounds
cover my arms and legs and you
whisper about how sordid a
scene this is. You mutter about
me being a victim but the truth is
I am a warrior who survived an
intrusion that was not supposed
to happen and yet, you back off
from a growing crowd and wonder
what you’ll have for dinner tonight,
leaving me there on the ground,
writhing in more than just pain and suffering.

Women empowerment is such an imperative concept and people often overlook it, thinking change will happen by itself. But no. We need to become the voice. This is a poem solely dedicated to a rape victim who was not represented sufficiently in the media because of her caste. Please read this poem and give some constructive feedback!

Have a great day!

Avantika.

 

 

 

 

The Time Oxford brought out the poet in me.

Incredibly short verses of poetry written by me while doing a short summer course of Creative Writing at Oxford University. It sounds fancy, I know. You can also catch all the highlights of my expedition on Jaipur Women Blog. The blog name will be ‘Velvet Eyes’. 

  1. Of an arm
    Coyly placed on my
    Shoulder and a smile
    Plastering his face,
    He breezed away into
    The arms of another
    After treading on my already broken heart.

2. Teardrops fell
Slowly but surely as the parents distanced
Themselves from their only offspring and
Ventured off to a world of modernisation
And Ignorance alone together.

3. The sun is my continual nemesis
And it destroys me in more ways than one.
Silent questions are raised eternally and
Will not die down until I stop concealing
Myself from my own bright demons.

4. There are pictures sketched on the
Concrete that the law abiders despise. They
Condemn them because the depth of the paint will
Never rest comfortably in their eyes, like it does in mine.

5. Shaky hands
And a sweaty forehead, a heartbeat faster
Than a bullet train’s speed is all that takes me
To saunter over to the podium and spill
Meaningful words that reach every ear, move
Every heart and propel them forward in their life.

Have a great day and don’t forget to smile, Netizens!

Avantika.

My first ever poetry slam! 

Stop.
Did you hear that?
It was the sound of your fear.
In the form of short breaths and tiny beads of sweat.
You are terrified. And you are foolish.
For you binge-watched Criminal Minds for two hours straight.
In the middle of the night.
And now, your primary fear is a fast approaching attacker.
Hidden behind the curtains or huddled up in your attic.
You contrive plans to beat him. Beat him with all your strength.
Until your fist is tainted blue from the punches
And cheeks ruddy from all the rush
But wait!.
All of this is fictional and inside your head.
For you had bolted every door before
you made it to bed.
But some woman out there screams with a
clay tongue as the ingress to her innocence is shattered by someone.
And here you are, lamenting about gender bias, confined within four walls.
I have faith in challenging.
So challenge the age-old convention of casting women as  Mary Janes with doe eyes in those horror movies and drab shows.
The fear that had blanketed you earlier should be gone by now
You should be able to get up and adorn the cape of bravery
And stand up to these loons while spewing profanities at them articulately.

Hi! Did anyone miss me? No? I figured that out by myself. So yes, I participated in my first EVER poetry slam and this was the poem I performed. Like it? Hate it? Tell me.

Read the interview I took of the organizer here-  http://jaipurwomenblog.org/post-jaipurs-first-poetry-slam-vriddhi-plans-to-have-a-comedy-night-soon/

THAT’S ME.
Bye!