Hail the Climate Champions!

Four teens – Amni, Tammy, Mithil, and Andrew – wake up to find a fat brown cloud, Bhura Cloudus, looming over Mumbai. As the city starts reeling under the effects of noxious air, ‘groan ups’ seem to be clueless. The denial of the people-in-charge grows thicker than the toxic smog! Minister Motabhai dubs the cloud, Bhura, an anti-national conspiracy against his beloved sarkaar. Khabar Bhayankar’s screaming news anchor, Vaatodiyo Bahuche, sensationalizes the fear. Incredulously, solutions seem to be found in Setu Pandit’s predictions and an ageing cinema star, Takatwar, vacuuming away the dusty cloud! While talented scientist Vidisha desperately tries to highlight this human-accelerated climate crisis, she is thwarted by her own twin sister Bidisha, who doesn’t want ‘garbled talk of pollution’ standing in the way of industrial development and progress.

The grim situation with scalding rains, breathing issues, and water and electricity cuts reaches its climax with a sudden flood. Faced with the prospect of Amni having to move and dismayed with the inaction around them, the four children launch ‘The Silver Lining Abhiyaan’ and take charge of the future that truly belongs to them in a systematic manner with the help of a newspaper reporter and a lawyer.

A unique, humorous and inspiring climate change adventure, A Cloud called Bhura written by the acclaimed climate worrier Bijal Vachharajani and published by Talking Cub deconstructs climate science for kids and takes it out of environmental science textbooks and into the real world.

Subtly, it reveals the vulnerability and inequality in the way environmental issues affect poorer people – Vaatodiyo’s crew in protective gear interviewing  people who cannot even afford masks, monetary implications of buying water and having to stockpile food, and a lack of alternatives… Most importantly, it empowers children to be ‘climate change champions’ as they learn how they can contribute with an ‘Educate, Organize and Agitate’ campaign. Can kids win the battle against the changing climate? Can Bhura’s gloom be dispelled? Read this book to not only find answers, but also spark some thought-provoking discussions on climate change, policy action and Ambedkarite politics.

By Archana Natraj