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To keep you informed periodically of news relating to the various themes of environmental and social justice disputes, we invite you to discover the "YFC Blog"! Here, you will find different articles on environmental issues around and ways to engage.






Across India


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Outside India


Japan

Education Lecture

at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

Beppu Japan

Date: November 29 2023

United Kingdom

Teach-In

at University of Oxford

Address: SR1, Oxford Department of International Development

Time: 4:00PM Onwards


Find more details on this link



Updated: Nov 30, 2023





Day 1: November 27

Virtual Press Conference (organised by YFCI)

Day 2: November 28

Teach-ins Day (organised by local organizers, anyone can join)

Day 3: November 29

Creative Actions Day (organised by local organizers, anyone can join)

Day 4: November 30

Mass Commenting (organised by YFCI, anyone can join)

Day 5: December 1

​Street Advocacy Day (organised by local organizers, anyone can join)

Day 6: December 2

Street Actions Day (organised by local organizers, anyone can join)

Day 7: December 3

Twitter Storm (organised by YFCI, anyone can join)


November 28>> Teach-In Day

A teach-in is a forum or discussion that focuses on a specific political issue and involves audience participation. The first teach-ins were held during the Vietnam War. Unlike a more formal lecture, a teach-in isn't only intended to educate, but is organized to invite questions and discussion. Most teach-ins focus on controversial or complex topics, and they usually include brainstorming about practical action participants can take. You can read more about teach-in on Wikipedia.

  • In 2011, Occupy Wall Street movement began using teach-ins to educate people about the inherent problems of capitalism.

  • In 2015 and 2016, Black Lives Matter teach-ins were held across the United States, including in Ithaca, New York; the Pratt Institute; Framingham State University; and Greenville, South Carolina.

  • In 2017 and 2018, the University of Michigan ran a number of free online “Teach-Outs” on topics such as free speech, fake news, hurricanes, and science communications.

  • In 2018, Stanford University held a teach-in for gun-violence in schools.



Option 1: Documentary/Movie Screening + Discussion



Bhopal: Beyond Genocide (1986), is an Indian documentary about the Bhopal Disaster of December 1984, in which a gas leak at the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, India caused nearly 4000 deaths and over half a million injuries; directed by Salim Shaikh, Suhasini Mulay and Tapan K. Bose. Watch Here.


Bhopal Express (1999), is a compelling drama about a newlywed couple whose lives are altered by the deadly Bhopal gas tragedy. Starring in the film are notable actors such as Naseeruddin Shah, Zeenat Aman, Nethra Raghuraman, and Kay Kay Menon.


One Night in Bhopal (2004), is a drama-documentary focuses on five local people, who saw first-hand the effects of the gas on the patients, a local police superintendent who helped to restore calm on the night and a young technician at the factory whose life was saved by an oxygen mask. Watch Here.


Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain (2014), is movie that follows the events leading up to the industrial disaster as they relate to the life of Rajpal Yadav, a rickshaw puller who gets a job at the Union Carbide plant.



Post Screening Discussion Tips

  • Open the discussion up by inviting reactions, comments, or questions.

  • If no one responds within a few seconds, offer something from your personal experience to get the discussion rolling: your reaction when you first saw the film, reactions other people have shared with you, details about Bhopal Gas Tradegy etc.

  • As the facilitator, you are welcome to respond to questions and comments but you do not need to be the only responder or have all the answers. You can simply acknowledge a question and put it back to the audience for a response. This technique encourages an open dialogue, exposes different perspectives, and invites participation from more viewers.

  • Once the discussion winds down, thank the audience for sharing and being part of the discussion. You can also acknowledge their insights or summarize significant aspects of the conversation.

  • Inform the audience what they can do to learn more about the subject and to take action. You can provide website resources (www.bhopal.net) inform them about relevant local organizations (International Campaign For Justice in Bhopal) and #JusticeForBhopalNow


Option 2: Reading Circle

A reading circle is a place where one can read for enjoyment by themselves or with another person. The main purpose of a reading circle is to provide a safe place where people can read, discuss, learn and engage.



Example: Ambedkar Reading Circle which is an anti-caste collective often host reading circles in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad..







November 29>> Creative Action Day

Art and movements have supported each other for as long as human beings have suffered through and fought against oppression. From the struggles of indigenous uprisings and the Civil Rights Movement to current struggles against the forces of racism, sexism, ableism, colonialism and other human rights abuses, people have used creativity to subvert censorship and the limitations placed upon them.


They have used art to unveil the normalcy with which we accept and follow abusive and discriminatory laws. The Black Panthers in their black leather jackets and berets, and their heads held high in natural afros took fashion as a medium to make themselves visible in all their blackness. The underground zines, literature study circles and the poetry of protest chants continue to ring truths about unjust systems and mobilize minds to challenge the truths that are doled out to us. Posters and sculptures scattered around public spaces bring people to a stop asking them to consider the messages underlying the aesthetics of the designs.


Creative actions help us tell a story, raise awareness about an issue, and inspire others to join us. Use this guide to inspire you. You’ll see examples that use symbolism, public displays, actions that engage the public, and those that disrupt the everyday order, from around the world. Creative actions also encourage us to have fun while putting in the much needed hard work. So often in movement work do we become overwhelmed by the difficulty and the length of our struggles that we forget to step back and appreciate the immense joy in working with our communities and for our collective futures and happiness. This joy is what sustains us to carry on and keep fighting.


Option 1: Banner Hang/Drop


A banner drop is the protest action of putting a banner in public place to spread a message and raise awareness. The banner may target a corporation, a law, a political campaign , or any activism.


Hang a large banner in a prominent area of your campus/ neighborhood to disrupt the visual landscape. You can find some samples of actual banner drops on this Wikipedia Page.







Option 2: Video/Image Projection



Guerrilla projection, pioneered by artists and advertisers, has been increasingly embraced by activists in recent years as a new medium for delivering messages. The advantages are obvious: With a single high-powered projector, you can turn the side of a building into a huge advertisement for your cause, plastering your message on a spot that would otherwise be out of reach. It’s relatively cheap, and far less risky than, say, trespassing onto a building’s roof to hang a banner off of it. Most importantly, it’s visually powerful: You can literally shine a light on the opposition.


Example: Some of activists from Black Lives Matters use projection to communicate their message. You can find inspiration here.



Option 3: Poster-making Party


A poster party is when a group of people gather to make posters for the cause of their fight. It becomes a space to have conversations and educate more people about the cause. It can be a space to ideate for further forms of dissent.



Option 4: Chalk-art


Chalk art or street art, is a creative expression wherein artistic images are drawn on the streets with chalk. It is an effective tool to express dissent and at the same time can catch people's attention. It can therefore, also enable having educative conversations.







Option 4: Open Mic



Open mics are events where people can come and perform. It can involve anything from musical pieces and poetry, to dance and monologues. The open mic can have a theme which becomes the overarching theme for all performances. It is a good tool to use, as it encourages public participation and helps to sensitize and educate people.








December 1>> Street Advocacy Day

Option 1: Candle March


A candle march is a symbol of solidarity with the victims. It is a medium that has been used many times in past, one being during the Nirbhaya case in 2012. Read more at


It requires merely lighting candles and marching silently to express dissent. All those marching must gather at the end of the march at one location, where they sit with their candles and also posters that they might bring to push their point forward.



Option 2: Pop-up Stall


A pop-up stall, is a temporary stall that can be set up to raise awareness about a topic and initiate conversation. It should ideally be put up in any space that is usually bustling with people, in order for there to be maximum reach of the petitioned cause. these stalls not just enable conversations about the cause, it also allows for more people to learn how they can actively involve themselves. Therefore, encouraging public participation.




December 2>> Street Action Day

Option 1: Die-ins


Die-ins are a form of protest where participants simulate being dead (with varying degrees of realism). In the simplest form of a die-in, protesters simply lie down on the ground and pretend to be dead, sometimes covering themselves with signs or banners. Much of the effectiveness depends on the posture of the protesters, for when not properly executed, the protest might look more like a "sleep-in". For added realism, simulated wounds are sometimes painted on the bodies, or bandages, usually made to appear bloody, are used.


Option 2: Silent Protest


A silent protest is an organized effort where the participants stay quiet to demonstrate disapproval. It is used as a form of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance[1] that encourages voicing out different opinions through certain acts such as not showing support to a certain product, attending mass parade, having symbolism, and educating and encouraging other people to join the protest. This aims to support and resolve different matters related to inequality, peace making, and nation leadership problems.



Option 3: Street March


A street march is an organized march for a cause. It involves chanting of slogans for the cause that is being fought for. Participants are required to march to one location together where usually a few speeches are given before the crowd disperses. It's an effective tool to attract attention and encourage mass participation. Participants are also encouraged to bring posters to further their cause.


Option 4: Human Chain



A human chain is a form of public dissent where people stand hand-in-hand to fight for the cause that they believe in. It is a good tool to draw attention to the cause and initiate more conversation, especially if the cause is not being looked at as something to be paid attention tool. It encourages more public participation, and becomes a space for mass education. It has effectively been used in India before. Read one example here.



 




What Happened in Bhopal?

The night of December 2nd marked a tragic event in Bhopal, as thousands of residents suddenly succumbed to the effects of highly poisonous gases, primarily methyl isocyanate (MIC) and its derivatives. The source of this catastrophe was traced back to the Union Carbide factory nestled in the heart of the old city of Bhopal. The incident unfolded with many awakening to a disorienting cloud of smoke, inducing coughing and throat irritation among the population.


However, the repercussions of the incident didn’t end with that. It affected many generations of families which were exposed to these highly toxic gases. According to Guardian, twin sisters Shazia and Fouziya live in their home in the Nawab area of Bhopal, near the factory, where toxins leaked into the water supplies. They both have severe mental development issues, which doctors believe was due to genetic damage.

Rashida Bi, a survivor who has lost five members of her family to a variety of cancers over the past three decades, considers those who escaped with their lives “the unlucky ones”. She adds: “The lucky ones are those who died on that night.”


Why did it Happen?

The root cause of this disaster lay in the inadequate and improper safety systems installed at the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) plant (now taken over by Dow Chemicals). Over 27 tons of lethal gases, including MIC, escaped into the atmosphere due to the malfunction of all six safety systems at the facility. Disturbingly, internal documents from Union Carbide revealed that the company knowingly utilised "unproven" and "untested" technology in the plant's design, compromising safety standards to cut costs.


The consequences were severe, not only affecting the human population but also causing significant harm to the surrounding flora and fauna. The Bhopal gas tragedy left an indelible mark on the city's landscape.


In 2001, the Michigan-based Dow Chemical Company bought Union Carbide, acquiring its assets and liabilities. Dow, however, has steadfastly refused to clean up the Bhopal site. Nor has it provided safe drinking water, compensated the victims or shared with the Indian medical community any information it holds on the toxic effects of MIC.


What is the situation now?

Fast forward to the present, and the aftermath of the tragedy still haunts Bhopal. While a legal fight for compensation goes on, the disaster that occurred on the 2nd December still continues. In August 2023, The Hindu reported a concerning situation — 337 metric tonnes of hazardous waste, remnants of the 1984 gas tragedy, remain stored on the premises of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL). This revelation came from a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT), highlighting the persistent failure to dispose of the hazardous waste despite prior warnings and directives.


The NGT had previously appointed a committee in 2022, which identified the "possibility of contamination of soil" around the UCIL premises and recommended the "speedy disposal" of the waste. However, as of 2023, the situation remains unresolved, underscoring the enduring environmental and health challenges stemming from the Bhopal gas tragedy.


However, this is not the first time that the issue of contamination of groundwater came to the forefront. In 1989, Union Carbide Corporation’s scientists reported severe contamination of local groundwater but the report was suppressed by the Corporation. Post this many civil society organisations including Bhopal Group for Information and Action sent the water samples from near the area to different labs to get it tested. Many highly toxic materials were found out, findings were presented before union carbide and clean up was demanded. By the 2000s, toxins were found in vegetables grown near the site as well as in breast milk of women.


While there are other demands from survivors such as accessible healthcare, additional compensation and economic rehabilitation to name a few, this campaign focuses on chemical waste that has been pending on factory site and has been polluting the soil and groundwater in the region. According to an article from The Hindu, dating 1/08/23 there is still 337 MT of waste deposit from the Gas Tragedy. We therefore, demand effectively and promptly decontaminate the factory site and groundwater in Bhopal from Dow Chemicals. The campaign consists of an email campaign as well as a week of action:


Email Campaign- a pre-generated email–people can simply scan the code or click on the link and send the email to Dow Chemicals to effectively and promptly decontaminate the factory site and groundwater in Bhopal. This campaign will be live on Nov 26th.



Week of Action- This week will be a series of coordinated and distributed actions in solidarity of Bhopal Gas Tragedy survivors digitally and on-ground across India from November 27th to December 3rd. You can read more about here.





Sources



Reading material:

  1. Groundwater Contamination near the Union Carbide Plant at Bhopal- A Draft Research Report (Published by Environmental Quality Monitoring Group PSI Dehra Doon in 2001-02)


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