Streets around the globe have been filled by young people in huge numbers to pressurize the political leaders with their demands to take immediate and urgent steps to curb climate change. The protest which has now spread across the globe draws inspiration to form a 16-year-old Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg. This strike which has attracted massive crowds to the streets began on September 20 in full swing, three days before the United Nations Climate Summit. The strike is proposed to continue for the one week till September 27th marking a worldwide “Earth Strike”. As indicated in the reports published by the United Nations Millennium Report and the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports, as high as sixty per cent of earth's ecosystems are exposed to terminal loss.
The surge was carried forward in some major cities of India including – Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai, where the people came together to stage peaceful protests to sound the alarming situation of climate change and urge the government to take definitive action towards this with immediate effect. The people marched towards the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change fervently sloganeering and rejoicing the collective spirit. The efforts showcased their contempt for Prime Minister’s reaction to Climate Change which he had labelled as “people’s sensitivity” to heat or cold weather due to their ageing. The pollution in India has reached an alarming level where 12.5% per cent of the deaths happen due to the poor air quality. In the Indian context, two landmark judgments have been rendered by the courts in India especially related to river Ganga. The High Court in the case of Mohammad Salim v. State of Uttarakhand and Ors. expressed its dissatisfaction concerning the reckless manner in which the State of Uttarakhand and State of U.P. have acted with regards to safeguarding the Ganges and Yamuna.
The court called it a sign of non-governance. The hon’ble high court of Uttarakhand with a perception to revitalise these water bodies rendered this landmark judgement to endow them with personhood. In another recent case after Ganga and Yamuna were conferred legal personality Lalit Miglani vs. State of Uttarakhand and Ors. The petitioner had requested the court to declare the Himalayas, Glaciers, Streams, Water Bodies etc. as juristic persons at par with pious rivers Ganga and Yamuna. The High court of Uttarakhand observed that “the very existence of the rivers, forests, lakes, water bodies, air and glaciers is at stake due to global warming, climate change and pollution” and hence the application was disposed of. However, owing to the contention of the of State of Uttarakhand, that granting personhood to the river, glaciers and aquifers may lead to serious implications and result in complex legal scenarios both of these judgments were overturned by the Apex Court of India in the year 2017.
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