BENGALURU, India ( Associated Press) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday launched the Indian government’s flagship program to encourage individual and collective action against climate change.
The Mission Vida initiative – Mission Life in English, where “life” is an acronym for “lifestyle for the environment” – is designed to encourage individual behavior such as turning off a vehicle’s engine at a traffic light, Turn off the faucet when not in use and opt for a more durable single-use plastic bag. The government estimates that these actions, if adopted at the national level, could substantially limit emissions, water consumption and waste.
“The program hopes to mobilize 1 billion Indians as well as people from other countries as people practicing sustainable lifestyles,” said Param Iyer, director general of NITI Aayog, a government-backed think tank. The government which runs the program together with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
For his part, Guterres, who is on a three-day visit to India and was at the launch of the program in the northwestern state of Gujarat, expressed hope that the focus on a more sustainable way of life “could spread across the world.”
While they see the potential benefits of such initiatives for emissions reduction, climate experts say its end result was unclear.
“On an individual level, Mission Life is a welcome step both ethically and environmentally,” said Nagraj Adwe of environmental advocacy group Teachers Against the Climate Crisis.
But he added that “the program must be supplemented with supporting policies such as increasing income and wealth taxes, increasing the cost of flights, promoting renewable energy and increasing public transportation” to encourage a change in style of life.
“It remains to be seen whether the government will work for all this,” he said.