Common property resources, such as forest, water, land and minerals are being acquired by the state in the name of ‘development’ and handed over to private capital for unabated profit-making and exploitation. Unsustainable economic development and inequitable growth based on an economy dependent on the use of fossil-fuels and extractive industries — which intensified in the last 70 years — have led to sharp rise in carbon emissions, much beyond what the Earth can absorb. The biggest victims of climate change are the poor and the marginalised as their everyday lives, livelihood means and habitats are often at risk: particularly the urban working poor, the Himalayan and other hill people, fishing communities, coastal and island residents, small and marginal farmers and agricultural workers, Dalits, women, Adivasis, LGBTQI+ and forest dwellers. They have faced multiple displacement, dispossession, impoverishment and the wrath of harsh climatic conditions, drought, floods, landslides and increased number of cyclones on the coast. The continued big infrastructure plans such as the network of industrial corridors, sagarmala (chain of ports), petrochemical regions (PCPIR), mining, thermal power plants, nuclear plants, dams, highways and tunnels in sensitive Himalayan region and push for industrialised farming poses a big threat to the communities today.
Visionary Leadership is needed from states, the private sector and women. Much investment and development – and new infrastructure – is led by profit motive, and not loka sevanam, nor community sevanam. (Service to the Earth, Service to the Community). A visionary leadership is totally necessary for the future of our planet, the only home we have. Everything in life is a choice. Will leadership make better, more inspired choices for intergenerational justice?