Roopesh Rai: Climate change has caused unimaginable damage and yet, we just watch as a bystander, assuming nature will solve its own problems. It will…if we allow it !
Today the population has crossed the 2.8 billion mark and 92% of the people don’t get enough oxygen to breathe. In the next 20 years, more than 500 species of animals will go extinct while we have just 0.5% of clean earth’s water left to be consumed. 14 millions tons of plastic waste goes into the oceans without consideration of the repercussions.
The devastating effects of climate change have begun to manifest, and the situation will worsen every second if we don’t act now. In the past 20 years , global loss on the account of climate change is estimated to the tune of USD 30 trillions globally, and 8 billions at the national level.
Change before Climate Change – A mission with a vision !
This Mission was initiated by Roopesh Rai- A man with a vision and commitment to his nation and the world- to act- and not be a bystander – to Change before the climate changes.
Roopesh calls himself a ‘Farmer by Soul, Chef by Heart, Brand Engineer for Living, and an Accidental Social Entrepreneur’ who never intended to change the course of his life this way. He was a senior executive, working with the Taj group and Thomas Cook till his life changed course unexpectedly. The catastrophic Kedarnath cloudburst in 2013 impacted him immensely when he saw the devastation on site and this experience awakened him to the consequences of climate change and neglect.
He left the corporate world and started a venture Bakri Chhap Agro Tourism & Natural Products Pvt. Ltd.- with a commitment to environmental stewardship. Most of our marginalized village communities are the last remaining custodians of our natural heritage, living with bare necessities. He was committed to support these villages and revive those that had turned into ghost villages. He felt, unless we guide the youth among such communities to bring in change through nature based business models, the concept of change is just a theory.
Roopesh focused on ‘Nature Positive’ and ‘Re-Generative’ livelihood ventures in Uttarakhand, prioritizing sustainable practices and local empowerment.
This is the basis of his venture ‘Bakri Chaap’ – A company based on the fundamentals of Pro Planet , Pro People, For profit approach, which later took the shape of a larger vision of environmental movement – Change Before Climate Change.
To be an ambassador of climate change , Roopesh has embarked upon a no budget, zero carbon footprint cycling expedition with the mission #Changebeforeclimatechange
This solo cycle expedition comprises 120 village panchayats, 6 states and 12 months. Finally the expedition has been successfully completed covering 15,000 kms (of grasslands, woodlands, wetlands and concrete jungles), connecting with a diverse audience across India to spread awareness about traditional agriculture and Jal Jungle Jamin (soil, air and water).
This experience of traveling on a cycle, with your minimum luggage behind, transformed him in many ways . He kept it slow and stopped in any village on route, when required. During his ride, he connected with people at the grassroots level,visited various rural and urban schools, institutions. Each village he planted a peepal or bargad tree and appointed ‘Prakriti Prahri’ or ‘Green Champs’ . He met and addressed lakhs of rural folks on climate change issues.
His main focus is on bringing the youth onboard and inspiring them to join his mission. These Prakriti Prahri will be the preferred partners for his agro and responsible tourism ventures moving forward.
He could have done this journey in a car also which was less cumbersome. Yet he chose to do it solo, on cycle , carrying his luggage on the cycle itself. He believes that the wheels of a bicycle are symbolic of a circular economy and this mission will continue with others who take the baton from him and be torch bearers of climate change.
The mission itself was a humongous task to achieve and there were days when Roopesh wanted to give up, yet, he says “ Moreover, my eco-anxiety-driven sense of purpose was a powerful motivator. Despite the numerous setbacks and hardships, the awareness of the larger cause I was fighting for gave me the strength to persevere.
Roopesh says,” It was this deep-seated conviction in the importance of addressing climate change that propelled me forward, even in the face of overwhelming odds. While the physical challenges were daunting, it was the mental and emotional battles that tested me the most. Overcoming them was a journey in itself, made possible by the support of others and a steadfast commitment to the cause. These experiences have not only shaped me but have also deepened my resolve in the fight against climate change.”
‘Change Before Climate Change’ – has now evolved into a brand, representing eco-friendly living and practices. It supports and promotes rural and tribal tourism, sustainable agriculture, eco friendly ventures and natural resource conservation, thus embodying the ethos of ‘Ruralising the urbans and glamorizing the farmers’.
Roopesh’s mission is to educate people in the villages about pro-environmental practices, traditional agriculture, and water conservation. He also aims to identify and support the capable people in the village who can be the future resource for climate change action.
He had various experiences and was invited to seminars and was greeted with utmost respect and enthusiasm by the village communities. Few most impactful ones were when actress and social environmental activist, Ms, Diya Mirza, attended a motivational seminar organized for college students, to show support to Roopesh’s Cause. Then there was Adar Poonawala clean city initiative launch with their CEO and founding member and top management. He also addressed a few military schools in Belgam (Karnataka) and Reewa (MP) which left a deep impact on the students. Many Political people like the Honourable Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh flagged off his future journey. He was invited by the National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes, Excise & Narcotics to address the officers. IIM Mumbai faculty and students joined him for a tree plantation activity after an inspirational talk on CBCC. Apart from Panchayats & social organizations; addressed numerous universities, schools &:colleges & as a Keynote speaker in Atlas Skill Tech university on purpose driven leadership. The session was later on addressed by the founders, & policy makers of India and few other countries, all striving towards a greener future through environmentally sustainable livelihood and lifestyle.
This overwhelming response is what gave Roopesh the impetus to keep going, in spite of rain, heat, muscle pain and bruises. To keep his commitment to a minimum budget, he requested people to host him, where he got the opportunity to connect with the locals in every village.
He says ,”Climate Change” mission is not just about my journey; it’s a collective movement powered by the efforts of these unsung heroes, each playing a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable future.”
The main key points he followed during his talks were-
- More dynamic and practical approach to sustainability and environmental stewardship.
- Integrating economic considerations with ecological responsibility.
- Engaging youth in innovative ways, making change cool and trendy.
- Leading by example to make sustainability a desirable norm.
- This approach is not just about raising awareness but about inspiring action and making sustainable living both a viable and trendy choice.
CBBC initiatives main agenda is to keep the mision going by handing over the baton to the next crusader. The Universe connects. And that’s when Roopesh met Jayant Mahajan while he was passing through Pune and instantly Roopesh Knew he had found his successor.
Jayant Mahajan has committed to embark on an all-India solo cycling mission under the banner of ‘Change Before Climate Change’. This initiative aims to spread a crucial message on the urgency of climate action.
Jayant says, “Taking the baton from Roopesh, I see the future of the CBCC mission as a journey of continuous growth and adaptation. My vision involves integrating more diverse and innovative approaches to engage with communities and stakeholders. I anticipate leveraging technology and social media to amplify our message and reach a wider audience. Furthermore, I aim to establish more partnerships with educational institutions, NGOs, and governments, making CBCC a cornerstone in shaping sustainable development agendas. The mission will continue to evolve, reflecting the changing dynamics of the environmental challenges we face. Ultimately, I envision CBCC not just as a campaign but as a sustainable lifestyle choice embraced by societies globally, driving collective action towards a healthier planet.”
Now, Jayant, with his diverse background in hospitality, tourism, real estate, IT, and education, takes over the reins. This will be a yearlong cycling journey, starting from Nadabeth, and crossing over India’s diverse borders. His plans include enhancing community engagement, promoting renewable energy, zero-waste lifestyles, and sustainable agriculture. He will also document his journey and conduct a study on Wetlands.
Jayant expresses, “ as I take over this baton, I am filled with a sense of purpose and determination. I expect this journey to be challenging yet rewarding, offering an opportunity to make a tangible difference in the fight against climate change while continuing to learn, grow, and inspire. The mission ‘Change Before Climate Change’ is more than a slogan; it’s a call to action that I am fully committed to upholding and advancing.”
Change Before Climate Change is a mission initiated by Roopesh Rai and now taken forward by Jayant Mahajan, is a dynamic and evolving initiative in environmental conservation and sustainability. The combination of the efforts of both these crusaders will hopefully establish a continuous commitment to the mission, inspiring individual and collective responsibility and light a beacon of hope in the fight against climate change.
To connect, participate, join the mision- connect with Jayant Mahajan – 91 7829992056
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