How Dwishojoyee Is Inspiring ‘Actionism’ To Save Our Planet

How Dwishojoyee Is Inspiring ‘Actionism’ To Save Our Planet

By Udaye Kumar for Save the Children

Dwishojoyee Banerjee is a Young Change Maker who is on a journey toward creating a planet that takes up sustainable and healthy practices such as replacing plastic bags with paper bags to contribute toward fighting climate change and global warming. She started her change-making journey as a Volunteer at her parent’s organization named Kahaanighar where she started teaching kids at the age of 10. This experience encouraged her to venture into the world of social work.

Dwishojoyee is now the founder of The Soft Movement which intends to “change the relationship people have with activism”. The reason why it was named The Soft Movement was that it would emphasize on-ground activities to curb climate change along with spreading awareness. Hence, it is a movement towards slower transformation which would lead to a greater change towards a sustainable planet.

The Soft Movement also launched an initiative which was called ‘The Paperbag Project’ which is currently working with students to make and distribute handmade paper bags, free of cost to small vendors, urging them to switch to sustainable practices. She currently is a Young Campaigner with Save the Children in India where she is working to further the cause of protecting the planet, with several like-minded change makers.

We interviewed Dwishojoyee and here is what she had to say about her journey.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Where success means more than numbers and empathy isn’t a “good” characteristic, but rather something as basic as being able to breathe.

What is your greatest fear?
Getting lost in the quest for a better me or doing the same to others, losing them whilst expecting them to be the “perfect” version.

Which living person do you admire the most?
There are several characteristics of several people that I admire. TBH, there’s no one person

Who is your favorite writer?
Jhumpa Lahiri

Who is your favorite fictional hero?
Shiv

What is your most treasured possession?
My ability to read and write.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My temper

What inspired you to start your change-making journey?
My passion is to make ground-level change happen and move people from activism to actionism.

Tell us more about the work you have done to transform change within your community.
I run The Soft Move and we aim to change the relationship people have with activism. We take our Paper Bag Project to school students and enable them to contribute towards beating plastic pollution by upcycling newspapers and distributing free paper bags to small vendors like flower sellers, and vegetable vendors who are unable to switch from plastic carry bags due to financial constraints, despite the ban. So far, we’ve spread to 17 cities and replaced over 10,000 plastic bags.

What is a memorable experience you had while working that you would like to share?
Recently, I saw a random stranger carrying our newspaper bag on the road, and that was such a MOMENT.

Why do you think climate change is an important crisis that everyone should care about?
Because we all breathe! That’s it. I mean what good is a galloping GDP with a harrowing AQI

What is your motto in life?
To reach the highest of my potential whilst not succumbing to the cons of hustle culture.

Dwishojoyee and the Paperbag Project team from January 2022 to August 2022 have impacted nearly 5000 students in over 17 cities. The 30-member team has worked and replaced over 10,000+ single-use plastics. This is a testament to her personal belief in moving from activism to actionism as well as the core mission of The Soft Movement.

During her journey in social work, she has also worked with organizations such as UNICEF, Save the Children, Yuvaa, Global Change Makers, and Young Leaders for Active Citizenship. Furthermore, she has been a part of several fellowships namely the YLAC Fellowship (2021) Ashoka Young Change Maker Fellowship (2022), and Global Change Makers Fellowship (2022).

To her credit, she has received many honors. She was the youngest nominee at The Hindu Businessline Changemaker Awards 2022, she was also recently named to the Points of Light Inspiration Honor Roll which celebrated individuals who have inspired many and ‘have demonstrated commitment to creating change’, and also received the Mahila Samman for her contributions to the causes of women and girls.

Change-making is not just the act of activism or merely spreading awareness, but also the need for more action that pays off in the long run. The fight against climate change needs more action that helps in creating sustainable earth where our future generations can breathe air that’s fresh and drink water that is free of any impurities. Through her action to replace plastic bags with paper bags across multiple cities in India, Dwishojoyee inspires us to take small steps to create greater change. To her, climate change is an important crisis as at the end of the day we all have to breathe what good is a GDP that is growing with the quality of air that is plummeting?

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