Greenpeace India’s Ice Sculpture – Act Before We Melt Away

On May 19, Greenpeace India unveiled a stunning ice sculpture at the Select City Mall, Saket, New Delhi, that melted under the hot Delhi sun, sending out a strong message on the impact of heatwaves across the country. It has demanded that governments declare heat waves as a national disaster.

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Image Credit: Times of India

The eight-foot-tall ice sculpture, depicting a woman with a child and a dog, was representative of some of the most marginalized communities vulnerable to heatwaves and other extreme weather phenomena. Onlookers witnessed the melting of the ice sculpture that came with a message – Act Before We Melt Away.

Through this activity, Greenpeace India is demanding that the National Disaster Management Authority declare heatwaves as a notified national disaster, allowing it adequate funding and policies that can help build the resilience of the communities in the face of the crisis.

A 2023 report by the IPCC has projected that climate trends will escalate, exacerbating the frequency and duration of heat waves. Climate change-induced heat waves not only pose significant health risks but also disrupt societal structures, jeopardies safety, hamper productivity, and impede economic growth.

49% of India’s workforce comprises outdoor workers, and these workers face drastically heightened risks during heatwaves, as highlighted by the National Disaster Management Authority’s report. There is also an emerging body of evidence that challenges the common assumption that men bear the brunt of heat waves due to their outdoor labour. Women not only engage in outdoor work such as street vending, waste picking, or brick kiln labour but are also almost exclusively susceptible as home-based workers. The HomeNet report reveals that the heat leads to an increase of over two hours per day in caregiving and household chores for women, further encroaching on their work time.

The Ice Sculpture activity is part of Greenpeace India’s Climate Justice campaign, People for Climate. Over the next few weeks, the organization with its partners will be hosting a Museum of Memories, with real objects that tell stories of devastation, resilience and hope in the face of the heatwave crisis. Through these activities Greenpeace India hopes to shed light on the urgency of the heatwave crisis, and the need to declare it as a national disaster, making way for stronger policies and better funding for climate mitigation and adaptation measures.

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