Photo © Sudhanshu Malhotra
What happens when volunteers become activists for their city?
Meet our activists who were at the forefront of the Renewable Energy Action on Wednesday May 15, outside Power Minister Haroon Yusuf’s residence in New Delhi.
Shiwang, Suman, Vivek, Usha, Sidharth and Pujarini tell us about their day out!
Here's a thought blurb on their volunteer experience.
Standing outdoors in the burning 45 degrees heat is not a very good idea but I actually felt good because we were there for a cause. At the end of the day when the minister came out and said he wanted to meet the Greenpeace representatives, I had a feeling of victory and pride.
At the end of the day, it was a wonderful experience especially since it was my first action. Our actions had a huge impact. Greenpeace is a good platform for people who are looking for ways to contribute towards sustainability. Greenpeace actions are a great way of non-violent civil disobedience campaigns.
Volunteering makes you feel empowered. It makes you realize that even six people with the right mindset and the right will power can change things. That’s the power non-violent direct action gives you. I believe that solar energy will help us build a happy future because once we have the access to affordable and clean energy, we will progress as a nation together.
I used to think environmental problems are exaggerated. I was part of the youth program with Greenpeace in Mahan, MP and when I saw the effect of coal on people living near ash ponds full of chemicals I could not ignore it any longer. So when Greenpeace gave me the opportunity to take action and be a part of a solutions campaign like Renewable Energy, I gladly volunteered.
In the Renewable Energy campaign, Greenpeace India is talking about how to solve an electricity and coal pollution problem. I have the platform to convey my message, so why not? For me, we are the future of the country and we have the capacity to create a lasting change for the future.
I firmly believe that I am a person who can bring about a change in the society. And we have to inculcate this belief into other people who also see change as a process.
I read the Greenpeace India RPO report, and was shocked to learn that the Capital is lagging behind in its renewable energy targets! Delhi has abundant resources in terms of finances and administration to implement such a policy, still it is the worst performer in the country. Tamil Nadu and Bihar are leaders in renewable energy. So, I decided to do my bit through volunteering in the renewable energy community fairs and actions.
For me, the action was a way of reasserting my rights as a citizen. We need to ask questions to the authorities sometimes, even if it involves a little bit of risk, as someone has to challenge them for the larger common good.
Greenpeace offers several ways of contributing towards environment and sustainability causes. In short, it offers simple ways of enabling people to take action.
Lastly, there is an impression that Greenpeace is about young people. But that is not true. We welcome volunteers from all ages because all that matters is the will. Mature volunteers can bring in experience that is much needed in any volunteering activity.
Being part of the change process - you may not be able to help everyone but you can be involved at different levels of the change. You can create a little impact, maybe at the grassroots level, by advocacy, policy making or outreach.
In simple and plain words, I’ll borrow this quote from the Occupy movement that explains it all: “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
If I had known of Greenpeace actions earlier I would have participated in them too. The fact that the Power Minister of Delhi met Greenpeace and agreed to go on camera was a big deal! I believe that my contributions can help in creating a more sustainable world.
What’s the point of having rights if you don’t practice them? Volunteering in Greenpeace actions and other activities are great opportunities for people who are not activists to engage with an issue very directly. The effect of an action done in a non-violent manner is direct and immediate. It is one of the most wonderful examples of volunteering and it gives you a feeling of instant reward.
To volunteer with Greenpeace India please email
Ruhie Kumar is a Digital Media Campaigner with Greenpeace India.