Amrita Student Represents Indian Youth at Copenhagen

Nov 28, 2009
School of Engineering, Amritapuri

Climate Change ConferenceIf you realized that you are driving towards a brick wall, wouldn’t you stop as fast as you could? Linkesh Diwan believes that climate changes due to rising carbon emissions are a brick wall threatening human survival, and he wants to do everything he can to help put on the brakes. This final year student of Mechanical Engineering at Amritapuri campus was selected to participate as an Indian Youth Delegate at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in December.

The purpose of the Copenhagen Conference, as it is popularly known, is to craft a new global treaty to reduce emissions, in order to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at acceptable levels. “Many scientists feel that this conference is humanity’s last chance,” stated Linkesh in a recent talk. “The last chance, to construct a framework that can guide our civilization into a saner, more careful and more sustainable way of life.”

World conferences on climate change have been convened since 1979. For the first time this year, youth organizations will have official constituency status. They will meet at a special Conference of Youth on December 5-6, just prior to the main conference. India’s 20-member youth team is representing the interests of over 1.3 billion people in India, 35% of whom are under the age 15, and well over 500,000,000 of whom are under the age of 30.

“The team’s stated objectives include collaborating with youth from around the world to help reduce the disastrous effects of climate change,” says Linkesh. He credits his mother and the values he learned at Amritapuri for helping him achieve the delegate spot.

“In school, I learned that Gandhiji was the father of the nation, who went on marches and picked up salt. But it was when I helped my mother in writing her book about Earth Ethics of Gandhi and Amma, that I really learned the real principles that guided his life. Both Gandhi and Amma have said, ‘My life is my message.’ I feel we should all think about making our lives the message and about being the change we want to see.”

Climate Change ConferenceSince his appointment as a delegate in September, Linkesh has been busy. He has organized a campus event in conjunction with the international 350 celebrations. When participants came from all over South Asia to take part in the international ACM-ICPC contest, he addressed them, to garner support for his mission. He has also done his part in the United Nations Seal the Deal campaign.

Moreover, on behalf of the youth delegation, Linkesh has composed a letter to the leaders of India stating the delegates’ vision of an India that “can lead the planet, setting an international example, as She simultaneously pursues meaningful development.” The letter includes concerns about the use of plastic, deforestation, air pollution and education.

Reflecting on what it’s been like for him since he learned about his appointment, he says, “I have come to realize that this climate crisis really is an ethical crisis. Individual greed, rather than collective responsibility, has been given a free reign on a worldwide scale and has created the problems we now face.” Insightful words, from a well-informed young man.

“As a delegate, I find many opportunities to share this new perspective with other people. “The moment they see the strength of ethical and responsible behavior, it is a transforming for them! Being able to share these ideas with others has made me more aware of the love that Amma says resides within us all.”

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