Climate Action and Global Citizenship: Drawing Inspiration from Childhood Lessons

Aditya Anurag Nanda, drawing from childhood wisdom, emphasizes global citizenship. Advocating climate action, he urges a united effort to heal Earth’s wounds, promoting responsibility and positive ecosystem rebuilding.

Presence of grandparents in a child’s life is a perfect bliss as their love, care, wisdom; teachings through stories make the offspring learn many things in subtle manner. My childhood memories resonate with many such interesting lessons that I got to understand with the caring touch of my sexagenarian friend, my grandfather.

On one occasion while returning from the school by the school bus, grandpa was doing his daily ritual, waiting for me at the bus stop. My usual habit was, while getting down from the steps of the bus, instead of touching the ground smoothly I always jumped at the direction of my expectant nurturer and comforter.

Each time I made this attempt, he immaculately caught hold of me. But my apprehensive support staff of the bus would never let it go by my-self and always acted as a bridge between me and my grandpa by holding my hand for safe landing on his lap.

However, on that particular day, while climbing down the steps of the school bus, I was lacking any jovial energy. The usual buoyant, bouncy smile of the face that always erupted as my vision caught hold gramps presence at the bus stop was missing. Instead, my face was seen remarkably upset and sorrowful.

Grandpa looked straight into the eyes of school bus Bhaiya (brother) and asked non-verbally by raising his eye brows, about the reason of unhappiness.

Responding to that gestural enquiry, our clueless Bhaiya reciprocated in the same way by moving his head, lifting eyebrows, twitching lips in downward motion and signaling dismissive wave of his both the hands, all at the same time, about his ignorance of the situation.

However in a whispering voice he shared that, I have been keeping quite since the beginning of my bus ride.

The susurration once again super-imposed the reason of unhappiness on my face and I tried to be very serious by making straight move in the direction of our home. Grandpa, holding my school bag was lagging way behind, in back screaming to be careful!

Reaching upon home, grandpa explored something unusual. I went inside the bathroom and started cleaning my school dress while grandma was busy in persuading me to give up that idea and come out of the bath room for my own safety. Looking at this high voltage drama, grandpa asked “What happened? Why you are behaving this way?”

Inside the bath room, I was near the tap, trying to soak my school dress with the detergent, when I heard the utterance of grandpa that added to my annoyance.

Without making any eye contact, with trembling lips, tear filled eyes, agitated body language and high pitch voice, I said, “I want to wash my clothes but granny is not allowing me.

I told her; from today onward I would be mopping the rooms, washing the clothes of you all and cleaning all the utensils of kitchen. If you wish, you can give me your cloth too that I will wash it right now!”

Listening to me he said nothing, just entered the bath room, held my hand and looked into my eyes and asked, “What happened in the school? Are you hurt by anybody?”

I was in a denial mode, accepting any hurt feeling upfront. But his emphatic look and soft touch unearthed the buried emotion of injustice happened with me. The pain of punishment despite of faultlessness was hunting me from within that took the shape of rolled tears. He could feel the burden of the hurt emotion, thus lifted me up and gave a sweet soft cuddle to nullify the pain.

Being positioned in his cuddle for few seconds, I heard him asking me about the incident that caused my emotional scar. While trying to reiterate the fact, my visual imagery took me to the time of the incident adding to my anguish.

With increased swallowing and agitated voice, I narrated the story that how my class teacher asked me to clean the room along with the wretches who have soiled the class room with the puddle on their shoes. Even though I was not party to the crime, I received the punishment of cleaning the room together with the offenders.

With a poised face and holding calmness in his voice, my patriarch made his cuddle around me little bit tighter, warmer and said, “Don’t misinterpret the habit of persuasion for cleanliness in your vicinity with punishment dear! Adhering to tidiness, neatness is also not in alignment with whether you have caused any mess or not.

Cleanliness means wellness for all. You might not be adding to the untidiness in your sphere but it’s your responsibility to see that your surrounding and realm should be having freshness, orderliness and good hygiene.”

This answer added resentment within me for which I immediately asked, “But grandpa! I didn’t go to the field either to muddle my shoes and smudge the class room! So why should I be cleaning the class room with those malefactors?”

The bitterness in my heart expressed in my facial reaction and the voice as well prompted ancestor to hold a gentle, calm and affinitive smile on his face. With a compassionate voice he said, “But sweetie, cleanliness is not a choice! We all need to make a move in that direction only to make our life healthier and happier. You know dear, it does not matter, whether you are adding to the filthiness or not but it is important that you are keeping your environment clean”

This emotion bounced back after so many years after listening to the ruckus and commotion around COP-28 in the international arena and reminded me of my yesteryears of spending time with grandpa. As per his conviction, we are global citizens and have the responsibility of maintaining the global environment and atmospheric order.

Looking at the intensity of climate crisis, we need to focus on healing the wounds of the earth: that the human society has caused over the years.

It’s time for action now. At this juncture, the climate crisis can only be addressed though the promotion of Global Citizenship, where each and every one us take the positive action in lowering our carbon foot print and rebuild a positive ecosystem around us: as we have only One Earth.

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