Calling artists to move India beyond coal

October 18, 2012 12:06 pm

The Wild City, an online portal for alternative music and art lovers across the world covered a story on India beyond coal. The popular alternative music magazine put out a call for artists across India to take initiative and use their creative skills in building awareness about the dangers of coal and encourage the use of renewable alternatives. Here is a cross post:

One of the dirtiest fuels on the planet, coal provides 66% of India’s electricity, meeting more than 50% of our primary energy needs. Many argue that India’s continued dependence on coal stems from the fact that it is cheaper than other alternatives, yet if recent figures are to be believed, the last few years has seen a rise in the cost of coal based energy whilst that of renewable (solar/wind) has come down dramatically. Wind based energy is already on par and in some places cheaper than coal.

Opposition from locals led by Ramesh Agarwal against Jindal Steel & Power Limited’s highly polluting coal industries got him shot; highly inefficient grids and peak load mismanagement on coal generated power put 600 million Indians in darkness.

“Our dependence on coal is powering us towards more troubles than we had imagined and India is now at a crossroads. It is our choice of energy sources that will shape our future.”

Out in the village of Lakshmikantapur, West Bengal, a company called ONergy has brought decentralised solar energy to homes that otherwise suffer from day long power cuts. In Karnataka and Gujarat, SELCO has introduced over 1.35 lakh solar home lighting systems for poor rural households whilst in Uttar Pradesh, Mera Gao Power is bringing micro lighting solutions to homes across the state. These initiatives show us how decentralised, renewable energy solutions are beginning to bridge the supply gap – without the blackouts, deforestation or violence.

Rooted from this very idea, 350.org, an international environmental organisation has launched a campaign calledIndia Beyond Coal. A movement which aims to mobilise thousands around this theme, in order to direct demands at policy developers and politicians.

On November 10, the campaign will culminate in a national day of action in which thousands of people will organise protests through the length and breadth of the country with the single unified message of moving India beyond coal. With over hundred actions being planned across the country, the day aims to generate support against coal, creating a big push for renewable energy.

“350.org, along with its partners encourages everybody to participate in this campaign. You can register an action with India Beyond Coal and make November 10 a watershed moment for India that inspires the change we wish to see” – 350.org

Artists across India have already been enlisted to amplify impact, contributing original music and visual art. The day will also see some of these artists perform with theatre groups, traditional dance troupes and hip-hop crews. So far musicians such as Jatin Puri (listen here), Unconventional Science, MC A-List (listen here), Delhi Sultanate and Chris McGuinness have contributed tracks, which will hosted on the India Beyond Coal Blog.

350.org provides an online platform for organisers to register and mobilise actions. To make your voice heard you can register an action for Nov 10 by logging on to Indiabeyondcoal.org. To be linked with active groups for the date or to share music email can can email heera@350.org

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