on eco-anxiety, anti-capitalist mental health cultures & climate justice // + summer cooking film
Some Organisations that will give you more insight:
Yugma Network on Instagram
Adivasi Now on Instagram
Youth for Climate India
There is No Earth B - always has a digital campaign going on that you can support!
Mumbai-based organisations: FFFMumbai, Muse Foundation, SaveAarey, SaveOurCoastMumbai
The Resilience Project (UK)- we're gonna start creating a bunch of more resources for the Indian context!! excite!!!!
Some Activists in the Environ(mental) health movement:
Jessica Kleczca (also posts a series of climatepositive news every week!)
Amongst the shots that made the final video, I was mostly just cleaning and washing leaves. These leaves are known as Chawli in Mumbai and in whatever composite hindi-marathi-konkani language we speak. They're supposed to be the green cousins of the green-purplish Lal Math which is called the amaranth leaves in English I do believe. I love the colour of lal math, but personally prefer the flavour of chawli. We prepare chawli in two different ways:
phodni (marathi word for tempering) of jeera or mustard (depends on the mood) and haldi in oil (we like coconut oil). next, we love frying onions in this household and cannot survive without them. then we add the leaves, roughly chopped, then salt it. cover and cook until soft and then add shredded fresh coconut
same thing except we add moong dal that has been soaking for a few hours along with the leaves and a sprinkle of water.
these preparations are mostly derived from the Maharashtrian pale bhaji (marathi word for leafy vegetable) and the Goan Phugath (konkani word for bhaji) styles, I guess.
Other shots: I did add the cooking unpolished rice and kneading jowari bhakri dough shots. And ofcourse the rooh afza & lime juice sharbat. that's bout it.
That part where I accidentally wrote an illegible essay on-screen:
those who have taken care of a majority of our biodiversity for aeons and ye
t suffer the worse impacts of a system steeped in environmentally-destructiv
e hegemonies that exploit those of marginalised castes, socio-economic back
grounds, bodies, cultures, those with disabilities, land, water, air. fo
r those directly experiencing the climate crises impacts, eco-anxiety is all-pe
rmeating because it becomes a question of life & lifelihood at the present-m
oment. In some ways eco-anxiety is a term coined for the privilege-------if y
our house is being burned down, cut down, when someone's home and land
and history and identity and language and culture is being erased, is it really
just eco-anxiety or is it trauma? grief? eco-trauma? eco-grief? do the people
who are directly affected even have the privilege of the language of academia
to describe how they feel? not everyone. remember, don't put your feelings a
bout the future over someone's else's present lived reality. instead, use your feeling. to stand in solidarity with the excluded, to call out blatant opressors
and exploitative institutions and to take justice-centric climate action in way
s that you can. climate justice is all about solidarity. remember that. when y
ou feel eco-anxious, remember that there are so many others feeling it too a
nd you are not alone. you are in solidarity with millions of people, who are
all collectively working towards a better world. the fact that you are feeling
eco-anxious means that you are feeling strongly against the injustic that is h
appening---its better to be feeling it than being ignorant. we just need to lea
rn how to channel discomfort into action. take the time to rest but do not
partake in the opressors' idea of rest. rest is radical. pausing is anti-capitalist
leisure is love. remember that.
All too often, it's hard to cope. to hope. Everyday, we’re losing about 80, 000 acres of tropical rainforest, aka the rightful homes of indigenous lives, of non-humans species, of centuries of ecology are being snatched away each day. Humans eat about 5 grams of microplastics each pe week. My city, an urban coastal concrete jungle that is the only home I’ve ever lived in, Mumbai was just ranked as having the 2nd-worst Air Quality Index amongst all the cities in the world. For every 1 dollar made by the bottom 90% of humanity, a billionaire makes 1.7 million dollars.
70-75% of young people say they’re eco-anxious—aka feel distress about the fact that we’re living through climate crises. These are numbers and numbers are based on researches that may not look the same in your context, but regardless, almost all of us, deep down, feel the dread that comes with landscapes changing so suddenly. I hear it creep into the voices of nostalgic adults as they reminisce the nature of their childhoods, but they’re quick to forget, quick to get busy, quick to ignore. And, for the present-day young, that’s not an option. Our futures are being radically shifted and the fatigue of bearing that knowledge is ever-present. But…why am I telling you all of this? because there’s more to it. there’s so much you can do. Initially, I was gonna come up with a “Hey here are 10 ways you can get over your eco-anxiety” listicle, but this honestly looks different for everybody and each of their positionalities and backgrounds, so instead, here’s a video letter to my younger self. Well, for one, I promise things will get better. There will be news of policies and actions that are climate positive, communities who successfully resisted exploitation, conservation efforts that warm our spirits you’ll find none of this on mainstream media. Probably diversify your reading, viewing, and other sources of consumption. Also, trust me, its not that hard to find non-profits doing impactful work who need support from more souls, I know, at first, you felt clueless about how you could help the climate justice movement—but here’s your sign to sign up to the next climate strike or support that digital campaign or visit a reforestation project. You just might find people to talk to. It’ll get less isolating over time. Whenever you need to, never hesitate to talk to someone—whatever you're feeling is 100% valid and you deserve to find joy in climate activism, in life. To find spaces of culture and care and hope. You’ll eventually turn to art to express yourself—its the best decision you’ll ever make. You’ll find your one true love in the solarpunk movement and turns out its not that hard to imagine and co-create futures of diversity, sustainability and inclusivity. You’ll also overwork yourself and suffer wonderfully during bouts of burnout. Let yourself relax and rest—protip, the best way to do this is to watch studio ghibli films while eating bowls of rattaee halwa. And above all, remember and remind yourself everyday that this, this is not about you. um, I know that sounds strange, but let me explain, quoting activist Tori Tsui’s wonderful book that I haven't read yet because not sure if its available in India, but from all their interviews and all her articles and their cool work, Ive got this sense that essentially it’s not you. Don’t make this about you—yes the feelings that you feel are yours, but realise that mental health is not always just your internal brain’s wiring going chaotic even if it feels that way. The truth is that for far too long mental healthcare has approached mental health from an individualism-centric approach, but we are never separate from the structures that surround us. Yes, your own unique individual positionality determines how you feel about the climate crisis, and yet this positionality is governed and regulated by larger structures. So this is not about you, its about the climate crisis and how it is harming all of our health, collectively. We must stand in solidarity with each other, as spectral individuals with varying life experiences, with those who are facing the climate crisis’s direct and indirect impacts, with those who are most affected and the most excluded. So younger me, remember to not make this about you. It is all of us together in this. Climate activists from around the world, the young, the old, those who have lived in indigenous cultures of stewardship, those who have survived apocalypses, those who have been bred into the idea of isolating urban capitalism, those who have lost everything, those who are trying their best, those who love so much, those who are one with the trees, those who are trees. We’ll make it, together, somehow, to a world where justice, equity and accessibility rise from the ashes. Where all life have rights. There’s a lot of labour involved, emotional, physical, there’s a lot of discomfort involved, there’s a lot of action involved. But, we can’t forget that care and rest and joy is the gust of wind that overthrows power structures, that love, self-love, love for each other and all of life, that’s what revolutions are made of. You do not have to be an ever-flowing over-flowing empty cup. You can be a full plate of many different intermingling parts of a whole. A balance of nature and sustenance. And right now, some of us, some of us need to rest, care for each other and ourselves, some of us need to sit down and breathe in and out and feed ourselves. some of us, including you.