John Paul Jose is a climate activist, global peace ambassador, and writer. He is engaged with research, activism, rewilding, landscape management collaborations with various organizations, and other activities to safeguard a liveable future. He is from Kerala and his interest in nature comes from the natural environment and landscape in which he inhabits and additionally coming from an agricultural family. He spends his young days interacting with nature as a part of agriculture and further conservation practices like planting trees, protecting streams, observing species, etc. However, while moving to the cities and being forced to dwell in a material environment, it was difficult for him. So, most of the time he spends reading about nature, and along with that, he came to know about environmental issues and climate change.
He gradually began to join civic groups and local environmental movements. However, year after year, climate change became something that was least known and discussed about in public space even though we were already in a climate crisis condition. Consequences of climate change began to be felt from cities to rural landscapes, impacting on even livelihood. So, after watching the changes so closely he began to focus more on climate and environmental justice. He says he is good at multitasking and can be a great motivator. He acts after evaluating the situation by thinking and strategizing for the best way out. He says that he's extremely emotional and can't see anyone in misery and no actions being taken and sometimes these lead to stress and anxiety when the solution is out of his hands.
Beginning of His Journey
Everything from his personality to the direction towards concern for the planet or activism flows from the natural landscape in which he inhabits. And since understanding about environmental and climatic issues across the world, It was difficult to move forward without doing anything. People were suffering, birds and plants he saw while growing up were in danger and everyone's future is at threat. He says, while no one was talking about it, it was a crucial issue that we should urgently tackle. Prolonged delay and inaction could lead to more problems and we were already seeing destructive consequences from them.
Managing the Challenges
Before the pandemic, protests on the streets and several actions for justice along with studies helped to move him as if everything is normal. However, as their voices remained to be unheard it was difficult to move on so he began to concentrate on individual actions and collaborations as well. Since the pandemic, physical protests were impossible and it amassed a lot of stress and anxiety. So, he resorted to connecting with nature while at home, feeling the magnificence of nature around and furthermore having some native animals to take care of. Spending time like this was rejuvenating and getting involved more helped him to understand and care better. It was difficult as well, while on the other side digital activism, discussions, and understanding more about climatic problems began to bring more anxious times. However, he continues to diversify into diversifying actions while taking a break from upsetting instances and reaching back to it soon. Furthermore, various actions across the world by different activists and frontline leaders help him to observe the positive side and to keep moving forward.
Continuing to understand and observe about the climate crisis and growing obliviousness and delay in action amidst global awareness and movements is challenging. These inactions bring more concern and anxiety to watch why nobody is serious about it. Furthermore, he says that uncertainty of the future, while devoting most of the time to climate action, he has neglected to think about his future. So, with the climate crisis, issues are going to be worse. Besides, lack of support from family, tokenism, ageism, and misusing prestige are raising challenges. However, among which he sees the lack of platforms to create more awareness and fight as a major challenge. Having multiple platforms is a good sign to raise our concerns, bring attention to the catastrophe we are in, and likewise provide justice to millions of people.
Journey for Climate Justice
He got involved in climate justice activism since understanding about sea-level rise, melting of glaciers, extreme rainfall, and temperature, etc. While issues in Amazon or Arctic used to echo in public dominion. None of the media or political leaders talked about similar threats of climate catastrophe across the world. He realized that the consequence of the climate crisis is largely on more than half of the people in this world, as people are highly dependent on nature having their identity and livelihood coming from the nature and none of the climate actions concentrates on supporting us in conserving our identities, culture, and livelihoods but rather to be displaced to an industrialized society.
He says that climate justice is the key to what we expect from climate action. It's not merely about changing business, looking for innovations or business opportunities it's about supporting people who are being affected and preventing the catastrophic crisis. These problems are not discussed about while we generalize the climate crisis within just a few grades or clean energy. He furthermore says that Governments and corporates continue to immerse in activities contributing to the climate crisis and at the same time greenwash them with seemingly positive efforts. We don't have massive platforms to share our concerns in India unlike developed nations or urban areas, so voices must be heard in time to avoid disaster.
There are a few accomplishments he is proud of. One is local initiatives like rebuilding, supporting the conservation of species like spiders & millipedes. Then comes working alongside the people of Goa against the draft Coastal Management Plan and finally getting a few platforms even at the international level to boost our concerns and also to work collaboratively with like-minded people.
Advice for Aspiring Environment Advocate
He says that one should be well informed before getting into activism to know the right direction and right issues to pick up. Furthermore, there can be a lot of individual actions being performed to adapt to a sustainable lifestyle. Again, collaborations with like-minded people or NGOs or starting new initiatives as stepping stones. And coming to real activism it is important to focus on contemporary issues which are in urgent need of action. Also, it's important to take a break to keep one moving.