Mandatory 'Environmental scorecard' for party candidates contesting elections in India

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India is the largest democracy in the world. The system of majority party rule is applicable here and most of the development is expected to happen from Government through taxpayers money. 

In the last few years, the whole world has awakened to the fact that there is a need to declare climate emergency worldwide. As per studies, only 11 years left to prevent irreversible damage from Climate Change. We are the last generation that can prevent irreparable damage to our planet. There is a visible and growing 'Climate Anxiety' and threat amongst people who are concerned about nature and otherwise. 

The sudden Climate Changes are not only affecting the adults or the newer generation but also threatening the entire nation. When we ponder on how Climate Change is affecting India, the recent turn of events with the water scarcity problem in Chennai, air pollution in metros (worst being Delhi), Cyclone in Bhubaneswar, the heatwave in North killing 36 people with New Delhi recording its highest-ever temperature of 48 degrees and Ghazipur landfill surpassing the height of Taj Mahal etc., it clearly demand action!!

Although a handful of individuals and Non-Profit organizations are doing their bit, its time for us to realize that the current situation demands action at a macro level i.e. through the government. As one of the solutions, every participating party candidate should showcase his/her contribution to save the environment and showcase their awareness. In turn, also make it mandatory for citizens to further adhere and support Climate actions.  

Hence, my petition is about introducing an 'Environmental scorecard' for all the political party candidates who file nomination to contest any sort of election from a political party (national/regional/independent, etc.) The way every leader is disclosing their current economical state or wealth at the time of filing election papers, 'Environmental scorecard' should also be mandatory. Just as GDP is used to gauge economic growth, it may now be possible to rank the leaders according to their success in keeping their air, nature, and water clean while maintaining prosperity as one of the key factors.

To my utmost surprise, only a handful of citizens are realizing that Climate Change is Real. Except for a few people in the Environment Ministry, the rest of the elected candidates in other ministries have an average knowledge of this. As a result of this, we see only some tree plantation photo-ops or conferences with speeches. The real action gets completely missing!!

The 10 key parameters of that 'Environmental scorecard' for every political party candidate should have:

1. All 7 key types of pollution – air, water, soil, noise, radioactive, light and thermal – are affecting our environment. Tackling Dust-storms, cyclones and increased levels of air pollution in their constituencies/ cities

2. Ensuring green cover of 33% in the country and planting certain numbers of tree in a particular area/region along with stricter rules to reduce sporadic clearances of forests and loss of biodiversity

3. Commit to the Paris Agreement which seeks to limit the Earth’s warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)

4. Saving wildlife, endangered species, marine life, and coral reef

5. Mobilizing more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation, and increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curricula, campus, and community outreach programs

6. Promoting and supporting innovations and methods in dealing with the challenge of single-use plastic in the country and promoting solar energy

7. Water scarcity, groundwater depletion, and ocean protection and cleanliness

8. How to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent over the next decade and achieve net-zero global emissions by 2050

9. Lack of safe garbage disposal systems in the country make India one of the most unhygienic countries in the world. Garbage disposal and sanitation are one of the areas where the country’s government and people need to work hard and improve the prevailing conditions

10. Contribution in creating a sustainable world and promoting a circular economy in India 

Further, with the recent discussions of declaring climate emergency is one step but what's next? If we have this 'Environmental scorecard' - every political party candidate will be a responsible leader with some Environmental actions attached to their names and in turn, doing their bit at a macro level. This will further inspire and push citizens and party workers in their areas to support this cause as each one of us need clean air, ample water, earth, soil and light energy to live and prosperous. 

I on behalf of Greenikus, along with hundreds of nature enthusiasts and conscious Individual/citizens across India, demand that the Election commission of India should urge contesting parties to be responsible and accountable towards tackling climate change. Hence, making 'Environmental Scorecard' a benchmark and prerequisite for any candidate who is filing nomination in the Indian elections.  

"It is our collective responsibility to save the world we live in"

- Reegal Ranjan Mantoo