While working on topics like food choices and sustainability research, city-based sculptor and environmental activist Madhavi Kolte came across a calculation made by one of the pioneers of the internet, Dr Sailesh Rao, on how the wildlife population has come down drastically. Rao, who switched careers to find systemic solutions to resolve the climate crisis, set up Climate Healers, an organisation working for the environment, in 2008 in Arizona, USA.
Inspired by his work, Kolte and some others set up the Pune chapter of Climate Healers two months ago. Kolte was assisted in the project by Julie Wayne, a French photographer who has been working primarily in South Indian villages for the past 20 years.
Wayne and Kolte met at the beginning of 2015 at the Sanskriti Foundation’s Art Residency in New Delhi. Soon, Wayne began visiting Madhavi in Pune and they began working together on the idea of sustainability, using art and outreach.
When they discovered Climate Healers and the work of Sailesh Rao, both Wayne and Kolte decided to make Climate Healers a household name. They contacted Rao, who put them in touch with Jessica Lannine, the original designer of Climate Healers local groups, and finally, Climate Healers of Pune was set up two months ago.
The goal of Climate Healers is to spread awareness that the current global climate and environmental emergencies can be reversed, and all individuals have the power to transform their lives.
“To the general public, the current climate and environmental crises may seem overwhelming and frightening. However, a healthy planet is within our reach,” Kolte told The Indian Express.
“There is a need to empower people with correct knowledge as a lot of panic has been created about the climate crisis and escalating health issues,” she said.
“We decided to start our group by organising the ‘Pune Health and Sustainability Conference’, a two-day event on November 30 and December 1,” added Kolte.
The programme includes screening of three internationally acclaimed documentaries, talks and panel discussions by experts such as Dr Sailesh Rao, founder and director of Climate Healers, Dr Nandita Shah, founder and director of Sanctuary for Health and Reconnection to Animals and Nature and Luke Marsh, global team director for Sadhana Forest, Auroville.