West indian literature

Green LitFest: One-of-a-Kind Literary Festival Sparks Conversation on Climate Change

Encouraging response to India’s first literary initiative focused on environment and sustainability indicates how ready people are to engage on the issue

By Reya Mehrotra

Bangalore is not only known for its great weather, but also for the active participation of its people in climate conservation and environmental activism. So it’s no surprise that the country’s first “Green LitFest” is taking shape in the city. “When we learn more, we do more” is the slogan of the recently concluded Green LitFest, a one-of-a-kind literary festival that sparks conversation about climate change, sustainability and environmental issues. The first virtual edition of the festival saw a multitude of authors and companies come together to discuss the need of the hour. The idea of ​​the festival has evolved over time. It was the idea of ​​Benedict Paramanand, based in Bengaluru, editor-in-chief of SustainabilityNext magazine, an electronic magazine that focuses on sustainability affairs, who is also the founder of the Bangalore Business Literature Festival.

Benoît tells how the festival took shape. “In SustainabilityNext magazine, we did book reviews focusing on the environment and sustainability. We have realized that most of these books are not marketed appropriately. Having said that, over the past five years the quantity and quality of these books has increased dramatically and we need a platform to market them. So we’ve ventilated this platform for authors and readers to connect and for marketing and sales to happen, ”he shares.

He also believes there is a need to deepen discussions on climate change, but there is a lack of forums. “These issues are raised largely by social media and it doesn’t happen in a very engaging or healthy way there. We need to create spaces for this conversation, ”he says. The platform engages people from all fields (students, executives, entrepreneurs) and gives them access to better literature so that they can influence policies and put pressure on decision-makers. “The big problem with climate change is that there is more talk and less action because there is not a lot of pressure from civil society. If we are well informed, we can exert better pressure on policy makers, ”adds Paramanand.

Speakers and festival guests included Anirban Ghosh, Head of Sustainability of Mahindra Group, Atulya Misra, Head of IAS and Additional Chief Secretary (Government of Tamil Nadu), MP Jairam Ramesh, Writer and Editor and co – editor-in-chief of speculative and solar punk stories. and author of several books like The Butterfly Effect Rajat Chaudhuri and more. When asked how Paramanand managed to put together a strong list of speakers at the first edition of the festival, he said: “We had a good mix of writers, businesses, activists and politicians. . Maybe that was the novelty factor. It’s a new concept and no one has tried it. There are a lot of authors who have written books in the recent past and would like a platform to talk about their books.

When Padmini Srinivasan, associate professor, finance and accounting, and chairman of the Center for Corporate Governance and Citizenship, IIM Bangalore, asked Mukund Rajan, author and chairman of ECube Investment Advisors, if sustainability is a far-fetched goal for developing countries. development like India, Rajan replied, “It is true, but we cannot continue to wait for the right technology to happen. We don’t have time and therefore we have to act quickly.

On the issue of sustainable businesses, Anirban Ghosh, director of sustainable development of the Mahindra group, said: “By leaving Covid, we hope to achieve more climate action. We have reached a point where people want to take the right steps but don’t know what to do in business.

Transmit the message

Green Litfest is likely to be an annual event and will switch to a hybrid version once the pandemic is over. “The reach online is wider, but the discussions are much more engaging in a physical space,” Paramanand said.

Once physical, the organizers plan to take it to different cities to attract a wider audience, especially in places where there is an engaged and active civil society like Mumbai, Goa, Bengaluru, Kerala, etc. “We plan to engage with local authors and writers and bring society together,” Paramanand said. A plethora of issues would also be addressed each year and the goal in the future would be to address different issues in different cities wherever the festival travels. For example, in Goa, issues related to mining and the coastal region would be addressed.

This, Paramanand believes, would also encourage new and young writers to emerge and the conversations would inspire them to engage. “A big impact would be for people to learn more about books and authors on various interesting topics on environmental awareness,” he says. Along with an annual literal festival, organizers also plan to hold monthly dialogues and quarterly mini-festivals at various locations. This, they say, would keep the conversation active throughout the year and there is some interesting lineup for 2022.

In October of this year, Green LitFest hosted a dialogue titled “Spies, Superheroes and Satire: A New Wave of Eco-comics” and in November another dialogue titled “Elephant Writings for Young Readers” featured occurred. Both dialogues saw the participation of renowned authors writing about the environment for children. Initiatives like these are likely to encourage young authors to write and young readers to engage in such works.

Some of the sessions held included “How India Can Create Outstanding Sustainable Businesses”, “Why Green Literature is Important? “,” Nature, childhood and our emotional lives: how literature binds us “and so on. The second day of the festival had a film screening of Wild You Were Sleeping by The Habitat Trust, exploring six lesser-known species found in various habitats across India and screenings of short films from Galathea Bay: The Greatest Turtle in Will the Sea of ​​the World return to nest in India ?, Globe Skimmer: The dragonfly that flies from India to Africa and more.

The first edition of Green LitFest was held from December 8 to 10.

LIST OF WINNERS

Day 1: Winners of the GLF Business Honors category

* Oxygen Manifesto: A Battle for the Environment by Atulya Misra

* Fossil Free: Reimagining Clean Energy in a Carbon Constrained World by Sumant Sinha

* Nine rupees an hour: The Disappearance of Livelihoods in Tamil Nadu by Aparna Karthikeyan

Day 2: GLF Honor Roll General Category Winners for General Fiction and Non-Fiction

* Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities by Harini Nagendra and Seema Mundoli

* The Arms Island of Amitav Ghosh

* Animal intimacies: bestial love in the Himalayas by Radhika Govindrajan

Day 3: WWF-GLF Honor List for Children’s Books

* Make friends with Rohan Chakravarty snakes

* The quest of Saahi by Yuvan Aves and Anusha Menon

* Gravepyres school for people recently deceased by Anita Roy

* 10 Indian champions who fight to save the planet by Bijal and Radha

* A tigress called Machhli by Supriya Sehgal

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