Haiyya
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Haiyya

Reflections From My First Global Climate Strike in Bangalore

Vihaan from Haiyya attended his first Global Climate Strike and these are his musings from this one of a kind protest experience. Read on to find out about his reflections and questions that a young trans man is sitting with in the climate change space.

It had just been two weeks since I shifted to a new city. New city, new people, new connections, and revisiting some of the old friends from colleges with memories. It was 24th September 2021 — there was a call for Global Climate Strike announced. I decided to participate in the strike but had no clue how I would go there. And I didn’t know anyone who would be part of this strike. The strike location was an hour away from my place, and I reached the location about an hour late due to prior work commitments. I tried looking for a gathering of people — checked my Google maps, asked people around. I felt I was lost. I followed my Google map again and I saw some people standing in the middle of a small park. Some of them were holding posters in their hands. When I walked closer to them, I saw some posters on climate justice. I heaved a sigh of relief. I went ahead and joined them. Everyone was standing in a circle with posters in their hands. Some were talking about Bangalore city and climate change and how we can structure our cities better. I started listening to the ongoing chatter.

This year’s global theme was intersectional climate justice and the tagline for the campaign was “Uproot the system.” Climate crises are interlinked with socio-economic crises such as sexism, ableism, casteism, class inequality, racism and these amplify the climate crisis in many ways and vice versa. It is not just a single issue; our different struggles and liberations are connected and tied to each other. In this strike, people were united in the fight for climate justice and acknowledged that everyone does not experience the same problems; nor does everyone experience them to the same extent. Hence, the theme and demands for this climate strike were intersectional climate justices.

This was my first climate strike in the new city for me. I hadn’t really explored Bangalore’s protest and strike sides before this strike. 20–25 people participated in the strike. People from across different generations were part of it. People in this strike were sharing their thoughts and opinions through different perspectives. Some of the conversations were on the definition of development and how this development is different for different peoples. Question of “whose development?” was coming up strongly. One participant spoke about the role of protest and strikes in climate change. Another participant spoke on how climate change is political. One of the speakers specifically spoke about the importance of caring and support while doing activism in the current political scenario, government policies and impact of climate change, impact of climate change on livelihood, farms and Adivasis issues, air pollution, impact of liberalism on climate change, and many more.

People were sharing their stories, data, facts and figures, laws and legislations. Participants also sang protest songs like “gaon chodab nahi”, we also gave slogans related to intersectional climate justice like ‘What do we want? Climate Justice! When do we want it? Now’, ‘long live peoples’ unity’, ‘long live farms protest’, ‘Jai Bhim’, ‘Lal Salam’, and many more. People were carrying posters with slogans like — ‘Climate Change? No! Change the system’, ‘long live farms unity’, ‘Burn the patriarchy, not the planet’, ‘Activism is the fee which I pay to live on the planet’, ‘This is a climate emergency’, ‘Climate Justice Now’ and many more.

All the slogans and speeches were coming from people’s personal and political locations. These different opinions and thoughts were a good reflective exercise for all of the participants for their politics and views. I, for one, come from a different movement space and have been part of different kinds of protests and strikes in Pune, Mumbai and Delhi. This protest was a little different. I did not see any police officers around, and press persons were in a corner. I was sort of shocked with this observation. I was also happy and felt surveillance-free at that point. But who knows if there was another type of surveillance in place?

My experience of this strike also helped me understand and reflect upon the conversation I had with my colleague and campaigner, Akshay in our check-ins for the last five months. It was a learning experience for me. I was happy to learn about the issues related to climate change that people were talking about. I now don’t feel disconnected and it has inspired and motivated me to continue my reading of at least one article/ video/ podcast on climate change every week. By going to this strike, I also discovered a new area of the city and a totally different protest/strike culture.

As a young person new to climate change trying to understand concepts and issues, I am struggling with some questions in my head. While talking about climate change, people mention intersectionality and problems faced by marginalized people. But is climate change activist / activism inclusive of people coming from marginalization? Are people from the margins recognized as leaders in climate change space? Other movement spaces have some kind of conversation on climate changes and its effects on women, oppressed caste, tribals, etc. There is a kind of solidarity from those movements to climate change. But I am thinking about some questions like: Are climate change activists or activism space standing in solidarity with people facing atrocities in the name of caste, facing transphobia and homophobia because of their gender identity and sexual orientation? Will this space be open to support and stand with solidarity and raise voice for sex workers rights?

These questions make me think that I need to work on climate change because I personally don’t know any trans person working on climate change but transpersons are one of the most affected due to climate change! With these questions and musings, I would like to invite you all to share your experience also. In the next part of this blog series, I will try to delve deeper into why climate change is a pivotal issue for marginalized genders and how it affects trans persons in particular…

(This article is Part 1 of a three-part series on climate change from a young campaigner’s perspective.)

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