LIFE believes in using a creative blend of research, capacity building, evidence-based advocacy and litigation to bring about change. We believe it is important to undertake thorough research to understand where the problem is coming from. However, LIFE is not about becoming a “Think Tank” – we must not forget that just “thinking” is not going to change the world, nor improve the environment or protect the rights of communities – it is important to “think and act”. Therefore, advocacy, as well as litigation, are important tools. We also believe in training and capacity building, as laws must be communicated to those who must implement them or suffer the consequences.
Our approach is best illustrated in the case of the implementation of the 2002 Biodiversity Law. The law was passed in 2002 and for almost a decade and a half there has been only discussion in academic institutions and “think tanks” on how to implement it. In 2016, we started our work on the 2002 Biodiversity Act. We found that less than 5% of the 2,77,380 local organizations in India had established biodiversity management committees despite the fact that they were required by law to establish these at the top. Following four years of litigation before the NGT, today, 2,75,382 Biodiversity Management Committees have been set up, ie 99.3% of the total number of local organizations. Although many are not fully functional, a process of democratizing biodiversity conservation has been initiated.
Currently, through litigation before the NGT, we are trying to ensure that every Indian state has a national action plan to tackle air pollution. Despite the legal requirement that every state should have formulated and implemented a national action plan to mitigate air pollution, even a single state has not even started the process.