Author – Aishwarya Chandrasekar
Leading ecological organization, the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) has recently released a documentary series titled “Faces of Climate Resilience” that exposes the challenges faced by climate-vulnerable communities in five states across India.
CEEW documentary series
This documentary series is a new endeavor by CEEW, India Climate Collaborative, and Edelgive Foundation for creating public awareness about climate change. By releasing a documentary film every week from 5 August 2022 until the COP-27 conference in November 2022, this initiative wants to instill a sense of responsibility by humanizing global challenges that must be addressed right now.
CEEW is a New Delhi-based non-profit policy research organization that focuses on global issues. It is known for its indepth research and collaboration with non-government, and public institutions. Arunabha Ghosh, CEO of CEEW states, “it is not just what we are doing to the planet or what the planet is doing to us; we’ve got to learn about what we are doing to each other”.
Climate change, together with habitat destruction has drastically reduced the planet’s biodiversity. Erratic monsoons and heavy downpours have disrupted agricultural cycles across India. Each film in this series focuses on a different community in Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, or Uttarakhand, recounting the story of those terrible days that threw their entire life off-kilter and their unflinching will to overcome hardship.
Triumph of rural prodigies
In the documentary named “Uttarakhand’s Young Water Scientists: How students are leading spring conservation”, a few youngsters of Nainital District in Uttarakhand, Heera Sammal and Chandan Bhatta, have taken it upon themselves to methodically condition the water spring in order to increase its output, making it a more reliable source of water for the local community. Their unrelenting service extends to empowering future generations and rallying the community to learn about and spread the traditions.
SHG women nurture a seaside forest
In another story titled “Nurturing a Forest: How SHGs in Puri scaled nature-based solutions against climate risks”, women of rural Odisha are shown taking initiative to prevent sea erosion by planting trees. Bengalata Rout, President of the Tandahara Village Forest Committee in Puri district narrates how the steady increase in cyclones and accompanying floods have relocated so many households in her community. So the women decided to organise a SHG to transplant trees, preventing seawater intrusion and making the land more resistant to climate change.
Combating climate rampage in city fringes
Rapid urbanization in India is producing a slew of issues, including more slums, a drop in urban living standards, and environmental degradation. The fact that India is so poorly prepared to deal with the effects of climate change is a sobering one. The documentary “Living on the Fringes: How Mumbai’s Ambojwadi is responding to climate change” narrates the living conditions of the Ambojwadi community in a densely populated city like Mumbai. They are undertaking a thorough risk assessment and involving the whole community with the support of a local NGO as they try to cope with the dangerous scenario they’re in during the monsoon onslaught. They have developed a first response plan and are mapping out flood-prone locations while also raising awareness through street plays.
Defying the tides of despair
The documentary named “Rebuilding Cheruthoni: How a Kerala town is climate-proofing infrastructure,” depicts the terrifying experience of Nazer during the 2018 Kerala floods and the aftermath. He demonstrates how he and his fellow residents of Cheruthoni are adapting the city’s infrastructure to the challenges posed by climate risks.
This CEEW documentary series highlights a different aspect of India’s changing climate and its devastating impact on a wide range of groups whose predicament has not received the attention it deserves. Despite this, it serves as a reminder that every time a storm or flood strikes, there is a community somewhere working relentlessly to rebuild with unwavering determination.