The Solar Generation team in Orissa. Amrit (extreme left) and Krittika (fourth from left) will be lobbying for greater use of clean energy at the COP/MOP conference in Montreal this winter.
Six students - members of the Solar Generation, from Bangalore went to Orissa from the 15th of July to the 29th of July to understand and document the impacts of climate change on the environment and also on the lives of the people living in that region.
"Over these two weeks we mainly covered the coastal region of Orissa. Starting from Bhubaneshwar where we interviewed college professors after which we headed south to Chilika Lake. At Chilika we spoke to and interviewed many villagers who gave us their take on various issues like increase in temperature, sea level increase, erratic rainfall patterns. We also spoke to some NGOS in this area. The people of the villages surrounding the lake also spoke to us about various other issues concerning the lake like the opening of the new mouth and how it affected them. Chilika was a real treat to us personally too. The bright, red crabs, the Irrawady dolphins, the exotic colorful birds and the moonlight reflecting on a serene lake at night left me totally speechless!Next we went to Konark, where the Solar Generation obviously visited the dazzling Sun Temple! We got some lovely interviews there too before we headed to Astaranga where we saw Nuwagarh. We saw some very powerful images there- the paddy fields had been flooded by the river water and the people there spoke of regular floods and even health problems due to increase in heat.Soon we went to Talcher and the Rengali dam where we saw smoke stacks polluting the environment and loads of coal being carried in NTPC wagons. We saw dirty coal fields and nearly choked at the foul smell that settled all around us.
The fisherman told the team that the new mouth was widening and that strange marine creatures found way into the lake, sometimes even sharks. He'd been fishing for about 7 years. The fishermen faced great competition from the commercial trawlers. the trawlers not only threatened to destroy their livelihood but also destroyed the marine life.Overall we got very insightful information and wonderful images. Learning and seeing all this and more, first hand was an amazing experience! Orissa was the hottest place in India this summer with the temperature reaching 55 degree Celsius. We saw how the state was affected after the 1999 super-cyclone and how the continuous floods and droughts affected the people. But the unbreakable spirit of the people and how they always welcomed us so sweetly amazed us! Also most importantly we studied and understood the impacts of climate change first hand!"