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Indian Youth Climate Network Propagates Power of Cultural Change

Posted Apr 01 2009 12:51pm

Living with modern conveniences can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, the convenience of artificial lighting with the simple flick of a switch has revolutionized living conditions for billions of people. The same can be said of owning an automobile and many other conveniences which people often take for granted. The downside is that having these conveniences within our grasp whenever we need them can be habit forming. Hence, when it comes time to change our habit, even if the new way is better, many people resist.

Moving from careless to green living is an apt example of this phenomenon. Commuting by foot or bicycle is known to improve overall health for many people and, of course, save money on fuel. However, when confronted with such a choice, many revert to the old way of doing things. For this same reason, recycling of beverage containers is much more successful in areas which mandate by law that consumers pay a small fee at the time of purchase which can be recovered when the container is returned. Still, despite this arrangement, regions with mandatory bottle recycling see a success rate of well below 100%.

The key to overall success lies in easing people into their new habits. Just as noted comedian Jay Leno says that he does not understand the appeal of conversing with a friend via text message rather than just placing a voice call, many of us must adopt new habits slowly, over time, at a comfortable pace. That is exactly why I have maintained since the earliest weeks of the existence of this blog that cultural change is the best approach toward reversing the climate crisis.

What happens, however, when a nation is so large and its communities disbursed over vast areas that influencing an entire culture presents unique challenges? How do residents of one area learn about the environmental achievements elsewhere? Enter the Indian Youth Climate Network. This wonderful endeavor by inspired environmentalists from India and the United States led a caravan of clean vehicles and environmental exhibits to many parts of India during January and February.

The purpose of the tour?

"India is full of climate innovators, so spread out across this huge country that many people don’t get to see that these solutions are working right now. We wanted to find a way to bring people together around existing solutions to inspire more action and more innovation. There’s no time left to just talk about the problem.”

- Caroline Howe

Indian Youth Climate Network

I applaud the work and success of the Indian Youth Climate Network for showing the world just how we must approach cultural change in order to combat climate change. You can learn more about IYCN at

Fomenting the Triple Bottom Line

Corbett Kroehler

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