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Chhavi is 14 years old. She lives in Hirapur, a forest land which is 60 kms away from the Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra.  She loves her village, especially the forest.  The sunlight peeking through the canopies, the droplets on the leaves during the monsoon season, the constant chit-chat of the birds and of course the fruits. She is expecting. She hopes it will be a girl. Chhavi can’t wait for her little sister to be born so that she can show her all the special places in the forest. But one day Chhavi woke up to people shouting. She heard her father shouting at people, who were from the city. It was evident from their clothes. Since then Chhavi was no longer allowed to go to the forest. When she asked why, her mother said that the forest will cease to exist and it’s best if she forgets about it. Chhavi was heartbroken to know that the thing that she held so close to her heart was being taken away from her by a “Mega Development Project”. More so because she won’t be able to show her little sister anything. The forest and its beauty will only remain as a picture etched in her heart.

Aman came to Delhi with his father to help him with is job. His father thought it would be better if Aman had some exposure. Aman an 18 year old boy wanted nothing but to help his father earn some extra money. Everything about the city was different. There were no stars in the sky, no sound of birds, no trees to give him shelter when the sun is right above your head and there was this constant hindrance in his lungs. It was as if someone was choking his windpipe all the time. But he endured it all for his father, his mother and his three younger siblings back home. He was afraid to even miss his home more so even to tell his father that he can’t breathe this city air.

There are so many children and people like Aman and Chhavi who miss nature and are suffering because of what pollution and rapid unplanned development did to our environment. This Pandemic if nothing has shown us a ray of hope. It has shown us that in the name of development we are choking our children, our country, and our planet. deteriorating quality of food, air and water has led to health issues. Now that we have come to a standstill it’s time that we look back and see the consequences of our actions. They are not good. But we can do better.

Greenpeace India has come up with Green Recommendations, which is a set of guidance that are to be submitted to the Indian government. The directions aim towards Green Recovery and  sustainable development. Yes you read it right. Sustainable development is not just a dream now. Greenpeace India is making it happen but we need your help. As the citizens of India nothing is more powerful than your voice. So this independence day let’s raise our voices for ourselves and for the future generations of our country. Clean air, Clean water, clean energy is our right. It shouldn’t be a privilege.
Sign the Petition to let our Government hear our voices. Together let’s make this country what it could be.

-Brishti Mondal


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