Global People’s Climate March: Kerala marches towards forest conservation


Thrissur: Kerala conducted a public rally from Vazhachal to Athirappilly on Sunday, which called for the conservation of the remaining tropical forests to reduce climate change threat. The rally was held as a part of the Global People’s Climate March— a prelude to the Paris Climate Summit which started off today.

Sankar Sharma, a climate policy analyst from Karnataka, flagged off the march at Vazhachal, while Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel member VS Vijayan presided over the event.

“The main objective of the Global Climate March is to pressure the governments to start adopting renewable and non-polluting sources of energy. In September 2014, almost 7 Lakh people from across the world had participated in the march. This year, the main march was held at London,” said a statement released by the organising committee, Chalakkudi River Protection Forum, according to the New Indian Express.

The forum includes environmentalist C R Neelakantan, prominent scientist Dr V S Vijayan, and Dr A Latha of the River Research Centre.

“Around 1,500 people representing around 70 organisations took part in the first ever such march to save the tropical forests of the Western Ghats,” The Hindu quoted Dr Latha as saying.

“Until recently, 2015 had marked the highest temperature of all times. Even though several countries have started adopting measures to minimise the climate changes, we will have to wait a long time for the schemes to reach fruition. For this very reason, the entire world is looking eagerly to the climate summit at Paris,” said the organisers.

“India has also put forth several schemes to minimise the impact of the climate fluctuations. Massive afforestation and resultant carbon sequestration is one of the eight schemes put forth by India in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC),” the organisers added.

Large scale forest exhaustion in the name of development was also condemned by the march.

The government is planning to destroy around 140 hectares of ecosystem, including evergreen riparian forests, for the proposed Athirappilly hydel scheme. For the last 25 years, the public outcry and the intervention of the judiciary had resulted in the project remaining in limbo. However, the Ministry of Environment & Forests flagged the project once again in July. This will again result in a large-scale depletion of tropical forests,” noted environmentalists.