COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown has triggered social and economic loss worldwide. This has prompted significant conversation around environmental issues globally. However, these conversations do not take into account either justice for the marginalized or the inevitable return to status quo without a change in how materials circulate and the way we consume.
Fortunately, there has also been significant societal interest in making perceivable change. Globally, cities are making transition to greener options for transportation, consumption of goods etc., acknowledging the need for a paradigm shift that is rooted in equity.
The post COVID-19 path must be both equitous and green - a path that FES and Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group have worked to build over the past years. Several months after the start of COVID-19 in India, we saw that a shift in such public policy is tenuous. To make this change, strong but informed public demand is essential. Key to this is the understanding that equity implies both access to resources and their consumption.
This year, FES and Chintan continue to explore and create sectoral understanding on Circular Economy, through engagement with experts and industry leaders. This is being done through a series of research, webinars, easy-to-assimilate knowledge products, concept flashes and multimedia content. All this effort is envisaged to build alliances for environmental justice through sharing of knowledge, peer support, forging new partnerships, and including wider range of stakeholders.
Mandvi Kulshreshtha is Program Adviser of the Economy of Tomorrow project at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung India office in New Delhi.