The following story was written by Ameya Benoy. Ameya is a student of class 5B, St. Francis School, Palayoor, Kerala. Ameya shared that the idea of the story came to her after seeing the heavy floods that Kerala has been seeing over the last three years. Ameya’s own neighbourhood saw the devastating effects of the floods.
Ameya’s story points to how human activity and rapid urbanization characterized by increased mining, quarrying and construction activities have been significant reasons contributing to the floods in Kerala. At the time Ameya was writing the story in August 2020, people in Kerala were struggling with both the floods and the Covid-19 pandemic, which added significant difficulties to rehabilitating those affected by the floods. Ameya points to this in her story when she mentions the spread of diseases in flood-affected areas.
How do we place Ameya’s story in the context of the climate change protests being led by children globally? Interestingly, instead of being in conversation with other children or teachers, Ameya’s child protagonist Krishna is in conversation with her mother. This mirrors the situation that Ameya finds herself in, whereby she has had to attend online classes from home because of the lockdowns in response to Covid-19. Cut off from her school friends, these days most of Ameya’s conversations take place with members of her family. What might events such as Covid-19 mean to the communities that children form among themselves, including communities of learning and protests?
One day, Krishna, who studied in class 2, asked her mother, “Amma, yesterday was International Water Day. To celebrate that, our school held different speeches and events around water conservation. Why should we conserve water?”
Amma replied, “Water is a precious gift given to us by the Earth. Water is as essential to us as air and food. But we human beings still don’t understand this. Man wants to build his houses and other buildings on land, so he drains rivers and streams and makes them disappear. When it rains, the water keeps collecting outside our homes and because of which we have floods. You and I will never be able to forget the events of the last two years. Because of heavy rains and the floods that it caused, so many people lost their lives. Places where there are floods also see the spread of many diseases. With the floods that human beings are causing, everything is getting destroyed.”
As she listened to Amma, Krishna remembered that she had left the tap open in the bathroom. The water must have overflown from the bucket by now! Krishna ran and closed the tap. Amma felt happy seeing Krishna’s reaction. Seeing that Krishna had understood the importance of conserving water, Amma hugged Krishna with love.
Story by Ameya Benoy (translated by Indira Subramanian and Sujatha Subramanian)