The days leading up to the flag-off for the Odisha leg of our #MoveForEarth ride this morning have been intense and hectic, but have also left me with so much gratitude and hope for the future. This past weekend, I participated in the Herculean triathlon, which while challenging, gave me a sense of achievement, a dopamine high, and filled me with a lot of motivation and positivity. Starting this ride in Puri, cycling with the vast ocean by side and feeling the ocean breeze added to my already heightened positive state and truly left me feeling on top of the world.
Our flag off event included a quick ride to Digabareni Khunti Beach, where internationally acclaimed sand artist, Sudam Pradhan, made some beautiful sand art that perfectly captured the ethos of our work and this ride. And then it was on to Konark, home of the Sun Temple and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In a place that pays homage to the sun, it was only fitting that I attend a farmer and youth training event on the benefits of solar energy, using solar pumps in agriculture operations, and how making such changes has an overall impact on carbon emissions and the climate crisis.
Later in the evening, I arrived in Nimapara to be a part of a workshop on air pollution. I also had the opportunity to hear about the development of an organic nursery in the area. A local group put on a wonderful skit on organic, climate-smart agriculture practices, opening up the space for a fruitful conversation on the links between climate action and going organic. As I experienced during the Bengal ride, art is a powerful medium to bring people into the conversation and as a learning tool, and I’m excited to see it be deployed here as well.
This morning gave me time to think about the ocean’s role as a major carbon sink and therefore, its vital role in our global fight against climate change. I hope that through this week I get to hear more about ocean-related climate actions people are undertaking in this coastal state. But for now, at the end of the day, while physically tired, I feel energised by all the interactions I’ve had so far and know I will continue to have this week. Tomorrow, we’re hosting a Citizen’s Jury for Youth in Bhubaneswar. And I’m looking forward to carrying the positive emotions from the weekend into this ongoing journey for climate action and passing my #LoveForEarth onto others.