BENGALURU: Global warming and water crisis are probably two of the most searched terms on the Internet. There’s abundant information for us to discuss. But, how’s the melting of a glacier or a starving polar bear a problem for us is what most of us would think. Two youngsters decided to talk about climate change through their Instagram page Sunny Side Up. For Praveen Sridharan, it was a career path, and for Mohamed Aaqib Quraishi, it was an intrinsic motivation that intensified after his daughter’s birth.
Goals and visions
Aaqib and Praveen have been friends since class 10. They shared similar interests and approach to life. Aaqib is an entrepreneur. Praveen is working in the financial industry in an MNC in the Netherlands. He’s looking for a career where he can actively be involved in financing renewable energy projects and pushing for policies.
“Our interests came from different tangents. My interest in pollution and global warming inspired me to take an elective called Alternate Sources of Energy in my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. I pursued a Master’s in Sustainable Energy Technology at Delft University, Netherlands and specialised in policy, societal impact, and economics. I felt approaching the issue of climate change through advocating higher use of sustainable energy was the best thing to do,” says Praveen.
Aaqib, on the other hand, was fascinated by the whole idea of renewable energy and its importance to society. He also made sure to keep himself abreast of the latest developments in the field with regards to policy and technology.
Small changes, big issues
Talking about Sunny Side Up, Praveen says, “We pick out issues that we think deserve immediate action. So we don’t follow a particular order while uploading posts or videos. Our goal is to encourage and see more people adopting other energy sources like solar and wind so that we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”
The duo plan to use social media to mobilise the masses to understand how they can bring about a lifestyle change with sustainable practices. “We assimilate facts from reports on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, World Economic Forum, and also combine them with the situations we face in real life. We see pictures of melting glaciers, but the key is to understand how that relates to our daily life. How are we causing it? And how can we stop it?.”
To lead as examples, the duo has stopped using showers. They use one bucket per day and one and a half if its a hot day. Their family members also follow this. They use organic oil for all purposes, have cut down on their plastic consumption, and plan to invest in solar panels for homes.
“The overall issue in our state is lack of ground-level awareness of how renewable energy, water management, waste management, etc can help. The government needs to understand that for this energy and lifestyle transition to occur, every citizen in the state needs to believe in the cause.
Taking the green route
Ahead of the World Environment Day June 5, the duo hope to do their part. “We’ve seen protests organised for climate change in the past. The recent global icon from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, is an example. The problem is there’s no lasting impact on our lives. The idea is to get information out there by talking to each other about what you are doing in your life for contributing. If you are doing it and see a friend not doing so, tell him/her. Tell them what the impact of it is, what plastic can do to our environment and why it is important we recycle it.”
They will soon have interviews with field experts — friends, colleagues, and people whom they’ve studied with — to share what can help. They will provide information on how to go about obtaining solar panels and how to finance it. “There is immense responsibility. We already see motivational responses from our friends asking us to take this forward and thanking us for starting this. This is sort of an initial validation that what we started is something that is necessary. In the end, our aim is to be a mobiliser. We have enough information. We need action,” says Praveen.