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A Tripartite collaboration on World Environment Day for the launch of The #28For28 campaign

The capital of Uttar Pradesh – Lucknow hosted the launch of The #28For28 campaign that brought together young change makers for climate action on June 5th. A tripartite collaborative arrangement between the High Commission of Canada, MASH project Foundation and Save the Children provided a platform for the young change makers of India. This launch had the City Montessori School and Lucknow Farmer’s Market as partners to celebrate youth for climate action. This initiative reiterated the conviction that voices of the youth cannot be ignored when it comes to #Climate Action. This event saw young change makers coming together to participate in the discussions of combatting climate change with newer solutions.

Ms Prachi Gangwar, DIG of Forests (C) Integrated Regional Office Ministry of Environment, Forest and climate Change was the chief guest. During her address Ms Gangwar mentioned that the numbers were scary so she wouldn’t touch upon that, but it was a well-known fact that climate action and a change in lifestyle were important and needed to be undertaken on priority. She further added that with the launch of the flagship programme, LiFE, by PM Modi, other ministries and MOEFCC were focusing on their topmost priority – a sustainable future with sustainable choices! The Counsellor and Head of Advocacy Program from the High Commission of Canada, Mr Colin Shonk. and the Head of Campaigns, Save the Children, Ms Pragya Vats, shared the vision behind #28For 28 while introducing the campaign. During the introduction, the goal of the campaign was stated, as featuring the stories of 28 Indian change makers in the UAE in November at the COP28 summit. Colin Shonk, High Commission of Canada mentioned that young people have always been at the helm of environmental and social movements. The climate crisis too was therefore not an exception. They were already leaders today, and they would be the leaders tomorrow as well. He further added that the Government of Canada recognized the power of the youth and was commi t ted to protecting the environment and combatting climate change. In view of this their Prime Minster had established the Climate Change Youth Council and paved the way for creating a sustainable future by empowering young people. During the inaugural event, Venkatesh Arora, Sarah, Srishti Bajpai and Srijanita Maurya, four change makers from Lucknow shared their stories. They were from diverse backgrounds and came together to exchange ideas and discuss innovative solutions for important social issues. The motto shared by the young speakers was “If Not Now, When? If Not Us, Who?’’ this motto was appreciated and well received by the audience.

Actor Dia Mirza, Goodwi l l Ambassador UNEP, Artist Ambassador Save the Children and UN Secretary General’s Advocate for SDGs sent a recorded message which was played for the audience present. Pragya Vats, Save the Children stated that children were the first and the worst affected by climate change which was real. She said that the children instead of being fence-sitters are prepared to jump into action to work towa rds ef fe c t ive and sustainable climate action. She said that she has learnt a lot by just listening to children. They always surprised her with their insights, their enterprise and the resilience for change. The youth she said must show them the way for climate action and it was the duty of every mature adult to support them. The High Commission of Canada, MASH and Bal Raksha Bharat, jointly celebrated their power and resilience! The CEO of Lucknow Farmers Market, Jyotsna Kaur Habibullah conceived and executed a seed ball activity for the students of the school. Actor Dia Mirza, Goodwill Ambassador UNEP, Artist Ambassador Save the Children and UN Secretary Genera l ’s Advocate for SDGs mentioned that the optimism, energy and belief in change that the children and young people had inspired her. She elaborated by saying that climate action was crucial and many young people in India, were leading climate solutions. She also expressed her happiness at joining Canada High Commission, MASH and Save the Children in lauding the climate heroes. She said it was indeed time to make way for the young!

Prof. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, Founder of City Montessori School delivered the closing remarks and shared how she envisioned the involvement of the youth in climate action. She appreciated the unique voice and perspective of the modern day youth that went a long way in contributing to these efforts. She was optimistic that their energy, vision and creativity would make a big difference. The adults she felt must empower them by providing them with tools and resources, to lead from the front and amplifying their voice. This then, would drive real change. The time of action she felt was now and it was for the youth to bring about this change. Founder & CEO, MASH Project Foundat i o n , Aashish Beerg i , encouraged the youth and said that the #28For28 campaign was a great platform for the youth to showcase their action stories on climate change, and in the process provide inspiration for young people and the generations to come. He said that he was happy with this collaboration!

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