Dehradun: On her twelfth birthday on Sunday, Ridhima Pande, a young environment crusader from Haridwar in Uttarakhand, took a pledge to sensitise people about climate change and environment at the grassroots level.
Ridhima hit international headlines last month when she along with 16 children from across the world filed a legal complaint at United Nations Climate Action Summit against five countries for not addressing the climate change crisis.
At her age when children usually prefer to enjoy life, watch television and play games, Ridhima spends her days glancing at news websites, understanding climate change pattern and interacting online with fellow activists.
“To begin with, I plan to sensitise people around Haridwar on the environment challenges we face. Lots of factories contributing to pollution and no agency taking action against them,” Ridhima told News18. As per government a report, six cities in Uttarakhand, including Haridwar and Dehradun, have abysmally poor air quality.
Daughter of Dinesh Pande, an activist himself, Ridhima who studies in class 8 gets equal support from her family and teachers. Although her academic schedule sometimes gets disturbed, “one has to manage,” she says.
The twelve-year old was the only child from Asia who participated in the UN Climate Action which become a ‘talking point’ after Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg’s fiery speech ‘How Dare You’ pointed fingers at the world leaders for ignoring the sensitive climate change issue.
Ridhima also addressed the forum and highlighted that India was experiencing the impact of climate change. In the next few weeks, she intends to take her crusade further.
“I plan to do a strike in Nainital to seek attention for the issues that matter,” says the young girl, adding that there are times when fellow students or friends poke fun at her and questions her activism.
“At times I feel bad but then I convince myself that I should continue to focus on things that could make world a better place to live in,” says Ridhima, who filed first petition in National Green Tribunal on government’s shortfall on climate change in the country.