Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE) Movement’ today via video conferencing.
The launch also initiated the ‘LiFE Global Call for Ideas and Papers’, inviting individuals, universities, think tanks, non-profits and others worldwide to submit measurable and scalable behavior change solutions that can drive climate-friendly behaviors among individuals, communities and organisations.
While delivering the keynote address, the PM stressed that the need of the hour to solve the challenge faced by our planet using human-centric, collective efforts and robust action that further sustainable development.
The Prime Minister reminded the gathering that this global initiative was proposed by him at COP26 last year. He added that the vision of LiFE is to live a lifestyle that is in tune with our planet and does not harm it. And those who live such a lifestyle are called “Pro-Planet People”. Mission LiFE borrows from the past, operates in the present and focuses on the future. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are the concepts woven into our life. The Circular Economy has been an integral part of our culture and lifestyle.
The Prime Minister said that thanks to 1.3 billion Indians in the country he was able to do many good things for the environment in our country. He added that India’s forest cover is increasing and so is the population of lions, tigers, leopards, elephants and rhinos. He said that India’s commitment to reach 40% of installed electric capacity from non-fossil fuel-based sources has been achieved, 9 years ahead of schedule.
“The target of 10% ethanol blending in petrol has been achieved 5 months ahead of the November 2022 target. This is a major accomplishment given that blending was hardly 1.5% in 2013-14 and 5% in 2019-20. He said renewable energy has a very high focus in the government. Way ahead, he said, is all about innovation and openness. When technology and tradition mix, the vision of life will be taken further,” he added.
The Prime Minister recalled that Mahatma Gandhi talked about a zero-carbon lifestyle. In our daily life choices, let us pick the most sustainable options, he said. He urged the gathering to follow the principle of reuse, reduce and recycle. Our planet is one but our efforts have to be many – One earth, many efforts. “India stands ready to support any effort for a better environment and to further global wellness. Our track record speaks for itself,” he concluded.
The programme also witnessed the participation of Mr Bill Gates, Co-Chairman Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Lord Nicholas Stern, Climate Economist; Prof. Cass Sunstein, Author of Nudge Theory; Inger Anderson, UNEP Global Head; Aniruddha Dasgupta, CEO and President World Resources Institute; Achim Steiner, UNDP Global Head; and David Malpass, World Bank President, among others.
“I congratulate PM Modi on leading citizen action and encouraging pro-planet behaviours. Together we can build a green industrial revolution, one that stops climate change, protects vulnerable communities and puts the world on a path to progress. The necessity of collective action to address climate change has never been greater, and India’s role is crucial in ensuring we reach our climate goals,” said Bill Gates, Co-Chairman Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Fostering sustainable lifestyle that is in harmony with the environment is needed. We must act strongly to use and reuse our resources much more efficiently. Public action can and must incentivize private action. We must invest in our towns and cities to make sustainable lifestyles like cycling and walking possible. Finances will be necessary for this change,” said Lord Nicholas Stern, international climate economist.
“The framework that India has been using and which is being used all over the world for behaviour change in connection with the environment and climate. It’s called the EAST framework. E stands for ‘easy’, and the basic idea is that if the goal is to help individuals or households, or companies to choose an environmentally preferable approach, to make it easy is often the best thing to do. A is for ‘attractive’. If we have spirited colours, if we have fonts and appearances that are attractive to people, then we are more likely to see behaviour change,” he said.
“India and other nations have often used attractiveness as a signal to promote environmentally preferable choices. S stands for ‘social’. If we know the social norm is in favour of environmentally better behaviour, or if we know people are increasingly engaged in environmentally preferable behaviour, we will see more of it. It creates a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Norms are essential for improving lifestyles. The T in the EAST framework is for ‘timely’. If people are given information or a reminder or a signal at exactly the right time when they are making the decision, or maybe the hour before, it’s more likely to be effective,” he added.
“That is the EAST framework. I’d like to add one letter to the framework – the letter is F. So, we have a new acronym – FEAST. And the F is for ‘fun’. Often environmentally preferred behaviour, better lifestyles actually are fun. They make people smile. They make them feel they are contributing to their nation. We have seen this in India often in recent years,” said Cass Sunstein, Author of Nudge Theory and Behavioural Scientist at Harvard University,” he said.
“We are in the midst of a triple planetary crisis: climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. These crises have been entirely created by decades of relentless and unsustainable consumption and production. How we live and consume matters and matters greatly. I welcome the launch by the Prime Minister of India of the LiFE movement on World Environment Day, because every person and every country needs to lead for the planet. With more than 1 billion people and home to a thriving generation of innovative entrepreneurs, India is central to global environmental action. I look forward to following your progress as you launch this hugely important movement because when India leans in, the world watches and follows,” Inger Anderson, UNEP Global Head.
“The Prime Minister correctly says thoughtful utilisation. It might actually mean consuming more for some. There are 800 million people in the world who don’t have electric connection. Its thoughtful utilisation. For 100 years, we have connected the success of prosperity with consumption. I see this movement as reversing that. I can’t over emphasize India the importance was launching this. India today consumes 1/3rd of the global average emission. So, where the world needs to go is where India is and not the other way around. India and ancient societies across the world, due to necessity and wisdom, have found ways to live with nature, thrive with nature, and to care of nature. That knowledge needs to be a part of our collective knowledge now,” said Aniruddh Dasgupta, CEO and President, World Resources Institute.
“United Nations is working side by side with countries and communities to help them in de-carbonizing and restoring our natural world while driving forward human development. Countries like India are serving as the energy behind the climate action on the world stage. That includes its works through cutting-edge technology, international solar alliance, the coalition for disaster resilience infrastructure and one sun one world one grid, which aims to interconnect solar energy at the world’s stage,” said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator.
Last year at COP26 in Glasgow, Prime Minister Modi advanced the idea for LiFE. It builds on the idea that individual action and behaviour are a key part of our collective responsibility. It aims to attract some of the world’s very best solutions to drive climate friendly behaviour amongst individuals and communities from grassroots innovators to academia to international organisations and beyond,” he said.
Mobilising communities for sustainable development is at the core of the World Bank’s work. Mobilisation of communities requires frontline motivators. India’s Anganwadi and ASHA workers and members of Self-Help Groups are examples of frontline workers who are embedded in communities and work at scale. Frontline motivators embedded in communities will be needed to bring about the many changes in behaviour and incentives for sustainable development. Mobilizing communities will also require more effective local governance and administration,” David Malpass, President, World Bank.
What is LiFE?
The idea of LiFE was introduced by the Prime Minister during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow last year. The idea promotes an environmentally conscious lifestyle that focuses on ‘mindful and deliberate utilisation’ instead of ‘mindless and wasteful consumption’.
The LiFE Movement aims to utilise the power of collective action and nudge individuals across the world to undertake simple climate-friendly actions in their daily lives. The LiFE movement, additionally, also seeks to leverage the strength of social networks to influence social norms surrounding climate. The Mission plans to create and nurture a global network of individuals, namely ‘Pro-Planet People’ (P3), who will have a shared commitment to adopt and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles. Through the P3 community, the Mission seeks to create an ecosystem that will reinforce and enable environmentally friendly behaviours to be self-sustainable.
The Mission envisions replacing the prevalent ‘use-and-dispose’ economy—governed by mindless and destructive consumption—with a circular economy, which would be defined by mindful and deliberate utilization.
Text of PM’s speech at launch of LiFE Movement
We just heard the insightful views of:
Her Excellency Inger Andersen, UNEP Global Head, His Excellency Achim Steiner, UNDP Global Head, My Friend Mr. David Malpass, President of the World Bank, Lord Nicholas Stern, Cass Sunstein, My Friend Mr. Bill Gates, Anil Dasgupta, India’s Environment Minister, Bhupender Yadav,
I thank them for their views.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today’s occasion and the date of the occasion, both are very relevant. We begin the LIFE-Lifestyle for Environment Movement. This year’s World Environment Day campaign slogan is-”Only One Earth”. And the focus area is-”Living sustainably in harmony with nature”. The seriousness and the solution are beautifully covered in these phrases.
Our planet’s challenges are well-known to all of us. The need of the hour is human-centric, collective efforts and robust actions that further sustainable development. At the COP-26 the last year’s Summit in Glasgow. I proposed for Mission LiFE-Lifestyle for Environment. Efforts for such a mission received support from all across the world. I am glad that this resolution of the LiFE Movement is being realized today. My gratitude for such a record support. As the name suggests, Mission LiFE puts individual and collective duty on all of us to do whatever we can for a better planet. The vision of LiFE is to live a lifestyle that is in tune with our planet and does not harm it. And those, who live such a lifestyle are called ”Pro-Planet People”. Mission LiFE borrows from the past, operates in the present and focuses on the future.
The secret behind the Earth’s long life is the harmony our ancestors maintained with nature. When it comes to tradition, almost all parts of the world, have traditions that show a simple and sustainable solution to environmental problems. In Ghana, traditional norms have helped in turtle conservation. In the Serengeti region of Tanzania, elephants and bush bucks are sacred.
Thus, they have suffered less from illegal hunting. The Okpagha and Ogriki trees are special in Ethiopia. In Japan there is Furoshiki which could be a sustainable alternative to plastics. Sweden’s Lagom philosophy encourages a balanced life. We in India have equated nature with divinity. Our gods and goddesses have plants and animals associated with them. I have given just a few examples. There are many more such practices. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are the concepts woven in our life. Circular Economy has been integral part of our culture and lifestyle.
Thanks to our 1.3 billion Indians, we have been able to do many good things for the environment in our country. Our forest cover is increasing and so is the population of lions, tigers, leopards, elephants and rhinos. Our commitment to reach 40% of installed electric capacity from non-fossil-fuel based sources has been achieved, 9 years ahead of schedule. About 370 million LED bulbs have been distributed in the last few years. This has contributed to energy saving of about 50 billion units of electricity per year. It has also ensured a reduction of almost 40 million tonnes of Carbon dioxide per year. We have achieved 10% ethanol blending in petrol, 5 months ahead of the November 2022 target.
This is a major accomplishment given that blending was hardly 1.5% in 2013-14 and 5% in 2019-20. This has enhanced India’s energy security, reduced crude oil import of more than 5.5 billion dollars. It has also reduced Carbon Dioxide emissions by 2.7 million tonnes. And it has increased income of farmers by almost 5.5 billion dollars. Renewable energy is becoming widely popular and our government has very high focus for development of this sector.
The way ahead is all about innovation and openness. At every level, let us encourage innovators focusing on the sustainable development. Technology can be a great supporter to achieve this. When tradition and technology meet, the vision of LiFE will be taken further. I specially urge those in the academic world, researchers and our dynamic Start-Ups to think about this. Their youthful energy is exactly what the world needs at this crucial time. We should also be open to sharing our best practices with others and learning from the successful practices of others.
Mahatma Gandhi talked about a zero-carbon lifestyle. In our daily life choices, let us pick the most sustainable options. Let us follow the principle of Re-use, Reduce and Re-cycle. Our planet is one but our efforts have to be many. One earth, many efforts.
India stands ready to support any effort for a better environment and to further global wellness. Our track record speaks for itself. We are proud to have taken the lead in making Yoga more popular. Initiatives like the International Solar Alliance, the focus on One Sun, One World, One Grid, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure are making major contributions. We are glad that the world is supporting these efforts. I am sure that, the LiFE movement will further unite us, and ensure a secure future for the coming generations. I once again invite the world to be a part of this journey. Together let us make our planet better. Let us Act Together. It is time for Action. Action for LiFE, Action for Lifestyle For Environment.