The article that changed my view … of how civil disobedience helps the planet | Environment

The article that changed my view … of how civil disobedience helps the planet | Environment


Suganshi Ropia, 21, is a law student from Pune, India

I try to keep in touch with news related to climate change, and am particularly interested in environmental law. My compulsion to do something positive about climate change was one of the reasons I decided to study law. When I read the opinion piece Civil disobedience is the only way left to fight climate change, by Kara Moses, in spring 2016, it crystallised my feelings about the responsibility we have as a community of humans to do more.

Suganshi Ropia



Suganshi Ropia.

The article made me realise that having a legal framework in place is not the only solution to a problem this complex. More than ever, we need to be proactive in our resistance, whether that takes the form of a quiet or a very vocal protest.

This piece was written days after 1,000 people successfully closed the world’s largest coal-exporting port in Newcastle, Australia and just two weeks after the Paris Climate Accord was signed.

It was written mainly from a British perspective, but really resonated with me. In India, where I live, smog pollution is a major problem. Moses discusses how this problem also affects those living in Beijing, and explains the double-edged benefit to employing people in jobs that improve the state of our environment as well as the quality of life for the majority of people on the planet. “The choice between clean, safe, democratic and sustainable energy/jobs or dirty, dangerous and undemocratic energy/jobs is a no-brainer,” she writes.

Moses implores us not to wait for treaties to be drawn up and politicians to agree on changes they would like to implement, but to work from the ground up, in small ways. She asks us to “take it upon ourselves to do more if we really want climate justice” and “support rather than denounce those willing to put themselves on the line, since we all benefit from their actions”.

I found her words urgent, clarifying and emboldening. I shared the article with friends, many of whom were similarly moved by it, and when we were asked to complete an internship as part of our course, I chose to work at a law firm that has an environmental focus. When I graduate I hope to work in this field and become someone bringing about positive change both professionally and personally.

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