Diving to a depth of 65 feet just off the coast of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Greenpeace activists unfurl a banner before the UN conference on biodiversity in Hyderabad in 2012.
My role as an activist coordinator in Greenpeace India helps me work closely with an inspiring creed of people who volunteer with Greenpeace as activists. These are individuals who believe in taking initiative, raising their voice and confronting injustice.
Most of us share similar concerns with regards to contemporary India and its development pattern. We usually end up with questions in our minds when we think about sustainability and the environmental destruction at large that we see today.
This little group of change makers are ordinary citizens from almost every part of this country. The majority are students but the activist cadre also includes businessmen, freelancers, thinkers, corporate professionals, artists, writers, filmmakers, climbers, painters and retired personal.
Greenpeace climber activists unfurl a banner with the message “Say NO to GM, YES to Food Security” at the Food Corporation of India’s godown in Delhi.
Having spent time with these activists, I feel, though there might be individual reasons, they are activists because they are passionate about a cause and want to bring about positive change. Their revolutionary attitudes, optimistic nature, love for the environment and hope for a better future drives them to strive and struggle for their cause.
They believe in Greenpeace's creative non-violent activism and have participated in different activities like climbing a coal power plant chimney to highlight the effects of rampant carbon emissions. Others climbed the FCI (Food Corporation of India) godown to raise the issue of food security and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's).
Greenpeace activists and the tiger mascot hand over petitions from across the country to then Coal Minister, Shriprakash Jaiswal.
Some have dressed up as Sheroo the tiger and met with the Coal Minister to talk about forest destruction for the sake of coal mining. Others have become vegetables in the markets of Kolkata to shed some light on GMO's and its health impacts. Some activists have sailed the Indian Ocean witnessing and exposing pirate fishing and its effect on marine life.
With Greenpeace's help, some activists involve themselves in research in difficult terrains like forests. Many bear witness to environmental crimes in the country and spread the news to the rest of us. Group of change makers share stories on social networking sites, spreading the message of environmental protection.
Greenpeace activists are dressed as Brinjals in Bangalore to protest against the decision of the government to approve large scale open air field trials of genetically modified (GM) food crops.
Activists are so passionate about what they are doing that they don't shy away from the possibility of being arrested. Several of them have been detained by the authorities on several occasions but this has not killed their spirit.
It is a hard fact that whenever one stands up for a cause some form of hardship must be faced. I believe it is small groups like these activists who are challenging misdeeds and fighting obstacles for a better and more peaceful world. Like the Mahatma Gandhi said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
A Greenpeace activist is detained by police outside Indian Parliament during an action carried out on the day the parliament was debating the CAG report.
It is also because of the love and support of these passionate activists that Greenpeace is able to excel in its mission since the last 42 years. I am personally fortunate to be in the company of these activists and for that the reason I love my job very much. I would like to thank the change makers and revolutionaries for inspiring us all and standing up for a cause.
You can join the band and be an activist with Greenpeace India. Contact Ali the Activist Coordinator - . Mobile number - 9008377224.