Conversations on Conservation at Bhoomi Habba 2024

Bhoomi Habba, Visthar’s annual Earth Festival, brought vibrant energy this year. The 16th edition, held on 8th June 2024, was a day-long celebration of our planet, filled with music, dance, workshops, and exhibitions. Bhoomi Habba wasn’t just about fun and celebrations. With “Water” as the theme, the festival served as a platform for crucial conversations. The impact of climate change in cities facilitated by Dr Kshithij Urs was an engaging and thought-provoking experience filled with lively discussions on human activities and their effects on different continents. The session encouraged both students and adults to question and reflect on various situations, using real-life examples to shed light on everyday issues. It particularly resonated with  environmentally conscious students, reinforcing the importance of working towards sustainability. At the same time, it also reached those who were less interested or aware, prompting them to consider the necessity of observation and awareness in addressing climate change. Youth-led solutions for sustainable water management “Ooru Neeru” by Restless Development focused on interaction with students and influencing them about the water ecosystem that existed in Bengaluru throughout history, and how the ecosystem is interconnected with communities, cultures, biodiversity, livelihoods and various other aspects. This was accomplished by displaying various timeline maps and explaining through models, how vernacular local methods of planning and infrastructure maintained the system.

A panel discussion on water conservation and harvesting, coordinated by Koushik of Climate Asia, brought together water rights activists like Muneshwar Prasad Sinha and Nikhil Thard. Film screening and discussion on the Vrishabavati River and seedball-making by the Environmentalist Foundation of India fostered a sense of community and responsibility. The session began with a compelling documentary that highlighted the environmental challenges and restoration efforts surrounding the Vrishabavati River. Following the screening, an engaging discussion allowed participants to delve deeper into the issues presented.

The seed ball-making further connected attendees to the land, teaching them a practical, hands-on method to contribute to reforestation and ecological restoration. “Earthy Flows” offered a unique way to reconnect with nature through movement and play. The Habba included the visual exploration of the water issue. A thought-provoking photo exhibition by the Feminist Resource Center and young  social  sector  professional  Fahad  Razi explored the intersection between gender and water. Their collaborative effort visually explored the intersection between gender and water, highlighting the often-unseen realities of how women and water are inextricably linked. The photographs showcased women’s daily struggles and triumphs in accessing clean water, the gendered responsibilities tied to water collection, and the

impact of water scarcity on women’s lives and communities. By bringing these issues to the forefront, the exhibition aimed to raise awareness and inspire dialogue about the critical need for gender-sensitive approaches to water management and policy. This visual journey not only highlighted the challenges but also celebrated the resilience and strength of women who navigate these water-related issues every day.

Bhoomi Habba 2024 was a beautiful blend of celebration, education, and action brimming with new ways to explore and protect our planet.

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