Actress Dia Mirza on Thursday said climate change needs to become an electoral issue for the political class as only then will they walk the talk on solving the environmental crisis. The former Miss Asia Pacific International also said people need to understand that the issue of climate change is not separate from their daily lives. "Our lives are not separate from the environment and that you and I are not separate from nature. All our actions and patterns of consumption impact the environment and impact, therefore, our own personal human health...
"Unfortunately, the climate crisis is not an electoral agenda yet. It needs to become that. I was talking to a 14-year-old young man who is coming up with innovations and I said, 'Why do you think politicians don't talk about the climate crisis? Why hasn't it become the centre of everyone's focus?' And he said because it's not an electoral agenda yet. And how can it not be? It's a question of our survival," Mirza said.
The 39-year-old actor, who is United Nations Environment's Goodwill Ambassador, was speaking at a panel discussion at the Times Now Summit 2021. Mirza noted that the UN and its various programmes have made science accessible to people.
"Today, we understand and we know what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is and we have access to it. So this gives us the power and autonomy to question everyone, industries, governments and hold the people who need to be held accountable," she added.
Mirza said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced back in 2018 that India will eliminate all single-use plastic items by 2022 but till today, there has been no behavioural change on the ground level.
"We had that great moment where our prime minister signed the document where he said by 2022, India would become single use plastics free. It's a huge, massive declaration to make, but is it implementable on the ground?" she asked.
"It hasn't been because we're already in November 2021, and we're still struggling to change behaviours and implement the policy that has been introduced. So behavioural change is necessary. It can make a big difference. We need to have a basic understanding that we are dependent on nature to support health and life," she said.
The actor believes people need to question their everyday behaviour and decisions.
"What textile are we wearing? Are we refusing fast fashion? Many people don't even know that to just make a single pair of jeans, over 2,000 litres of water is used.
"So wasting less, consuming less... There are many other simple solutions. Eating a mostly plant-based diet, eating less meat, eating local and seasonal fruits and vegetables... And then that understanding has to translate into every other action," Mirza added.