Our farmers who give us our daily bread now live with swine and sewage!!
The drought stricken farmers and their families have fled their parched lands in Latur and Dhander districts of Maharashtra, setup camp in the local Municipal Ghatkopar fields in Mumbai. I almost choked at the sight. Foul smelling field filled with the exodus of our bread providers from the so called farmers lands..Khets! I thought to myself, This is the farmers market we talk about, it this our very farmer who gives us our daily bread?
The wrath of climate change was staring me in the face! All the lessons that we teach about in the academic curriculum were coming alive right before my eyes. Climate Change is real Climate change is not going to go away. Climate change is expected to make food shortages more severe and frequent. But you must know that women have demonstrated not just physical power, but strong intellectual ability in creating solutions for climate-related problems. As I walked by faces staring at me,I realized they are strong and not parched like the grounds below their feet which let them down. I had a lesson to learn from them, here.
Districts of Maharashtra have already witnessed some of the changes that are expected to come with global warming. Since the last few years droughts have hit the village harder and more frequently than before.
Heart wrenching sight of our farmers living together with the pigs, swine and sewage, fields strewn with gutter waters from neighboring areas around. I believe they have been living there for the last two months they say totally exposed to increased risk of injury, death, loss of or separation from elders, caregivers and mental health. These women showed their strength and resilience in the climate battle alright. All hardened faces looked back at me, expressionless. I wanted to weep but stayed strong to face them, interact and talk to them, know their needs .
I realized that in times of crisis or disasters it is seen that the women and children are always the first to get effected. Young Environmentalists NGO went to research the situation and study what were the most needy items the farmers wanted. It is no use giving pulses and food as the farmers have already got plenty of that from local help and mostly use fresh food even though they may be displaced. We found that women and girls still prefer to feed the men folks first, neglecting themselves so we distributed packets of water and food to children and women first. We provided solar lanterns to the women folk who will use them at night for safety purposes. We believe that solar will give them hope more than anything else, as keeping self esteem and wellbeing is important too. We need people to come forward to help us provide more solar lanterns to the entire contingent of over 700 people. If we provide even 300 Solar lanterns it should suffice their need. It’s a sad irony that in many ways women, a resource of strength and love, are the people who hold the family and world together yet they are also the people most neglected in climate crisis.
Now the farmers have come to us, it is our turn!
You may contact Elsie Gabriel Climate Reality Mentor/founder Young Environmentalists Programme 9967347511