While we curate content and take up issues, here are some of the frequently asked questions we’ve been receiving over the course of 2 years since our inception. We hope to bring some clarity on them through this post.
What does LIB do?
These are unprecedented times. People are waking up to the importance of living in harmony with nature, now more than ever. Now that we’ve finally opened our eyes to the adverse impact humans have on nature, a lot of people are focusing on joining hands with nature protective movements. Many of us, even though well aware of the circumstances, fail to act against evil just because we don’t have a proper and accessible medium. Let India Breathe is a platform/channel that uses technology and communications to improve our current system of governance and democracy by engaging citizens and amplifying their voices. Diverse citizen voices keep us going. We try to reach each of them, urban or rural, and bring them in light of public attention through compatible media.
- What happens when I join an email campaign? How is it different from a petition?
Through our website, we create and curate email campaigns. Mailer campaigns are sent by you directly to the minister or bureaucrat. They are usually State or Central secretaries presiding over the Environment Ministry/Department of Forests (etc.) who are actually legally bound to read and reply to our mails. Email campaigns give our voices a lawful approach and we plan to go by the rules and win at it. A petition gives a lot of agency to the initiators. An email campaign enables you to contact the authority directly. And you already know how simple it is to send, with us.
- Does this actually help create policy level change?
Yes. Whenever there’s a project proposal, objection from citizens is an integral part of the clearance. When legal Environment Impact Assessment proposals, documents and policies are created, there are provisions made for citizen participation and suggestions. The way things are going currently, large corporations and government departments sanction projects that would severely harm the local ecosystem and biodiversity, disrupt the lives of locals and tribals, destroy the habitat of hundreds of animal and plant species. Lack of awareness & participation from the citizens offers approval to these “developmental” projects. Active citizen participation can make a huge difference.
- What happens when we send out an email as part of the campaign?
The emails (of disapproval/withdrawals/rejections/concerns) that are sent to the government from the citizens can be used legally in court proceedings to help petitioners and activists. If a Right to Information (RTI) request is filed to get a list of people who have sent in their objections to evaluate the percentage of objection, emails to the authority can be used as a powerful leverage. The same happens when a Public Interest Litigation is filed against government departments/corporations. Step two post an email campaign is that the ‘authorities’ invite the people who voiced their opinion for a public hearing. Where we can voice our concerns in detail.
An example: Transit Oriented Development Policy for Delhi – A detailed email formulated by thought leaders and activists was backed by 1800 citizens. When the RTI was filed, the list was easily available, which made us realize this is a model that is working.
- Does sharing a post on our social media accounts help?
Absolutely! The more media coverage these campaigns receive, the better. As environmentalists, we do have connections with the media, and we encourage them to write about our causes. When people share these posts and begin to talk about it, the issue gains attention. When the news reaches more and more people, we’ve seen some campaigns receive support from thousands of people from each and every state in India.
- What can I do sitting at home to protect the environment?
You can keep yourself informed by following our posts. If you’re reading this post, then you’re already interested in protecting the environment. Let India Breathe is a one stop platform where you can find a way to raise your voice and have a say in formulating solutions. We provide verified and curated information (headlines, copy, legal information and photos) with the consent of the local organizations, NGOs and activists fighting for the cause. We use social media channels like our website, email, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to reach out to our strong and reliable network that we have built over the last couple of years. Our website and social media pages also educate and raise awareness among people about all the movements and legal battles that are currently being fought that they can choose to support with just a few clicks.