The young woman’s “family and ancestors have been protecting nature” for a long time. She feels that “the lived experience which I have and the education which I have pursued along with research work has enabled me to understand the role of indigenous communities in combating climate crisis and I feel it is us youth who have to be the front-liners for climate action.”
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – United Nations Secretary General António Guterres appointed Archana Soreng, a young tribal Catholic woman from Sundergarh (Odisha), to a new Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change.
The young woman, who is passionate about indigenous issues and climate change, will work together with other young leaders to provide advice and suggestions as to how to address the worsening climate crisis during COVID-19.
Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar visited Archana Soreng this morning. In a statement that acknowledged that “Climate change and global warming has become a burning issue of the day in the present situation,” the prelate congratulated the young Catholic woman from Sundargarh district, for her appointment “by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to his new advisory group comprising seven young climate leaders from around the world who will provide perspectives, ideas and solutions to tackle the worsening climate crisis.”
“Soreng,” the archbishop noted, “is the former national convenor of the Tribal Commission at Adivasi Yuva Chetna Manch, All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF). As a student she has shown leadership in given situations.
“I am hopeful she will do well, taking Indian climate issues at UN level. I wish her all the success as a promoter of traditional knowledge and practices and contribute to global efforts on climate change.”
Archana Soreng spoke to AsiaNews about herself. “My family and ancestors have been protecting nature and the forest through traditional knowledge and practices. My own father practised indigenous medicinal practices.”
For this reason, “I feel [that] the lived experience which I have and the education which I have pursued along with research work has enabled me to understand the role of indigenous communities in combating climate crisis and I feel it is us youth who have to be the front-liners for climate action.
“Indigenous communities have been protecting their forest and nature through their community-led forest protection committees with the help of their traditional knowledge and practices.
“If we talk about plastic pollution, community members have alternate ways [. . .] such as using leaf plates, carpets made out of the date leaves, also using cow dung for mopping the floor.”
“Even in terms of preventing forest fires, they have been going in the forest, especially in summer, making forest lines using their sickles, among the dried leaves to prevent forest fire. Even if the forest fire starts, they collectively stop it.
With respect to “water scarcity they have used their traditional knowledge and practices for water rejuvenation.
Currently, Archana is “in Odisha, working as research officer in Vasundhara, an action research and policy advocacy organisation, working on natural resource governance, tribal rights and climate change.
“I have been working on documentation preservation and on the promotion of traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous communities [. . .] in combating the climate crisis.”