Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a global initiative called “Lifestyle for the Environment — LiFE Movement” through a video conference on Sunday (5 June) on the occasion of World Environment Day.
“Mission LiFE puts individual and collective duty on all of us to do whatever we can for a better planet,” Modi said during the launch. The vision, he explained, is to create “pro-planet people”, who live in harmony with the planet and do not harm the environment.
“Our planet's challenges are well-known to all of us. The need of the hour is human-centric, collective efforts and robust action that further sustainable development,” the Prime Minister said.
The idea of 'lifestyle for environment' or LiFE was first proposed by Modi at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
“Today, the world admits that lifestyle has a big role in climate change. So, I propose before you a one-word movement. This one word, in the context of climate, can become the basic foundation of one world. This word is LiFE … L, I, F, E, which means ‘lifestyle for environment’,” he said in his statement to the Glasgow summit on 2 November 2021. According to Modi, the proposal received widespread support globally.
At the heart of this mission is the exercise of mindful, eco-conscious choices by individuals as a pushback against mindless consumption, which has become a feature of society in the 21st century. “These (conscious) choices exercised by billions of people daily around the world will take the fight against climate change billions of steps forward every day,” Modi had said at COP 26 just over six months ago.
It is the LiFE movement’s goal to drive collective action through climate-friendly actions taken by individuals around the world. It will lead to a wide ecosystem that promotes and enables environmentally friendly lifestyles.
The initiative includes a global call for papers to individuals, universities, think tanks, non-profit organisations, among others, to submit quantifiable and scalable behaviour change solutions that can be adopted by people at all levels — individual, community and organisation — in the interest of reversing climate change.
Further, Modi urged people to abide by the principles of “reduce, reuse, and recycle”, which he said were always part of India’s culture and lifestyle alongside concepts like circular economy. “Our planet is one, but our efforts have to be many — one Earth, many efforts,” he said.
The World Environment Day this year, with its rallying cry of “Only One Earth”, was apt for the launch of LiFE. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, climate economist Lord Nicholas Stern, top UN officials, World Bank president David Malpass, Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, and NITI Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant were among those in attendance.
“I’m inspired by India’s leadership and efforts to curb the rise in emissions. And I was excited to learn about the LiFE movement and its potential to draw in the full power of collective action,” Gates said, adding that “individual actions will send market signals that encourage governments and businesses to invest in these new climate innovations and create the breakthroughs we need.”
Stern said: “Fostering a sustainable lifestyle that is in harmony with the environment is needed. We must act strongly to use and reuse our resources much more efficiently. Public action can and must incentivise private action."
“It is his (Modi’s) belief that unless we change individual behaviour, we cannot combat climate change,” Kant said.
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