LiFE as an idea was conceived by India in the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), 2021 in Glasgow. Environmental degradation and climate change are global phenomena wherein actions in one part of the world affect the ecosystems and populations across the globe. While the various top-down efforts taken till now have produced some results, it is evident that environmental goals now require a bottom-up approach with action at the level of individual, family, and community, which have received limited attention so far. Changing individual and community behavior alone can make any significant and lasting dent in the environmental and climate crises without damaging lives and livelihoods.
A United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) data says that if one billion people out of the world’s eight billion adopt environment-friendly behaviors in their daily lives, global carbon emissions could drop by 20 per cent. Exercising conscious lifestyle choices to protect and preserve our environment must become a part of individual mindset as well as shared social values. Today there is a need to turn LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) into an international mass movement making it an individual and collective duty to lead a life that is in tune with the Earth. Women, indigenous communities, and tribal people are often seen performing environment sustaining practices. Their rights have to be protected so that the indigenous knowledge can be widely shared across the spectrum. It is important for the world to go back to the roots and be acquainted with the indigenous knowledge regarding the nature. Plants used for medicinal purposes, sacred grove, such knowledge & practices have to be preserved and disseminated, which can be constructively done by civil society organization since they can effectively narrow down the space between the governments’ plans and the indigenous people’s knowledge applications.
It is equally important to ensure that all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 12 and 13 are deeply engaged in the Working Group. Regulatory actions seem to be easier in the short run, but only a change in the individual and community behavior of people will reap results in the form of sustainable lifestyle. For this to be effectively implemented, civil society organizations need to come up with action plans and inclusive policies which address the needs of both indigenous and industrial community to minimize the harm to environment and maximize the benefits from environment in the most efficient ways possible. A circular economy has to be created with a bottom up approach at place, for when the ground level participation takes place, only then the sustainability of various national and international actions/policies can be maintained.
This working group would look at what lifestyle changes may be made by rich and poor countries alike, and how these impacts are measured on a fair scale to address and retard the impending doom from the climate-environment crisis. It will look at the best strategies and practices to reduce the Tragedy of the Commons, and how policy can help support and strengthen this initiative of ensuring that the development is green and sustainable. Through this group, C20 India aspires to bring together the initiatives that take inspiration from local and traditional practices and are engaged in documenting and designing environment-friendly habits and habitats besides implementing and training at local levels.