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  • T. S. Dinesh Nadar

Why I am a Climate Activist

My experience as an FFFI (Fridays For Future India) volunteer has been time-consuming.

As a part of the design team, tight deadlines and corrections have been the norm. My coordinators are quite familiar of my neck-and-back pain rants by now. As a writer, I do not get enough time for writing, courtesy the deadlines we get for making posters and content slides.

Drop four hours of college lectures and assignments in the mix, and I should be chasing my personal ambitions and studying for exams in place of volunteering.


So, why I am still a climate activist?

The reasons flood in my mind as I collect a few, like catching butterflies in a park for this column. But should you be in a hurry, here’s the one-stop solution: It is what you must do as a human.

If you’re still reading, (i) thank you (ii) here are the reasons why I am an activist

Even as I struggle to put which reason over the other, I would cite the opportunities first. Since I started volunteering, I have featured in three webinars/livestreams, two news articles and in a radio channel. Being a climate activist gave me more opportunities in five months what my education system couldn’t offer in over fifteen years, despite promising to do so.

And being an engineer, productivity necessarily is not my trump card. I am your typical engineer, a person who wanted to pursue another stream, failed to do so, and is regretting each passing day for being in the wrong place. Here’s where volunteering comes in, providing me with knowledge that actually matters, and is helping me unlearn how not to be a slave, defy and rise to today’s systems each brandishing chain-links to tie you and your voice down.

Earlier, I was a engineering lazy human. I am now a breathing human. Still lazy, but think that’s okay.

And I did have a few wants when I had filled out the volunteering form for FFF India. I wanted to make new friends (something new for my unsocial bones), and not ones who needed a teacher to spam assignments to get talking. Few months into it, I relish every agenda-less meeting, some pushing the hour hand down by six hours. We don’t need reasons to talk here, just as in case with every family and on the socializing front, the team has got my back (even as it aches from hours of meeting).

A humble-shoutout to the wealth of knowledge I got to learn from the team. Be it knowing how much of a scam EIA draft or compensatory afforestation is, or PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovary Disorder; look it up), the humans are ready to share everything they know, even if they have exams the next morning. The best part? You are not being judged for asking questions. Beat that, college teachers.

I sometimes want to thank MoEFCC and our leaders for being such a duckling, for they may be one the reasons why I have met so many friends in the first place, but that doesn’t distract me from wanting & demanding them to not suck as much as they do now.

My time in the lockdown couldn’t have got more productive, and memorable as it does with Fridays For Future India.

Yes, I am not paid for what I do, my spinal column still cracks under agony every time my coordinators ask me to get something done, but every effort is worth the opportunities, memories and wealth of wisdom they gift in return.

And that is why, I am a breathing lazy human.

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