Breathing LiFE into the climate narrative
Aug. 5, 2022


  • The concept of 'Lifestyle for the Environment' was introduced by Indian PM during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021 which urged people to make changes in one’s lifestyles that would contribute towards saving the environment.

About “Lifestyle for the Environment” (LiFE)

  • Distinct global call: LiFE is first-of-its-kind global movement, led by India in partnership with other countries that will provide the world with a unique people-powered platform to relentlessly focus on bringing individual and collective actions to the core of the climate action narrative.
  • Vision: LiFE envisions replacing the prevalent ‘use-and-dispose’ economy with a circular economy.
  • Unified effort: Building on the unique insights from India’s recent Jan Andolans such as the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), LiFE aims to utilise the power of collective action.
  • Allied goals: It also seeks to leverage the strength of social networks to influence social norms surrounding climate.
  • Promote 3P’s: The Mission plans to create and nurture a global network of individuals, namely ‘Pro-Planet People’ (P3), who will have a shared commitment to adopt and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles.
  • Innovation: The launch also initiated the ‘LiFE Global Call for Ideas and Papers’, inviting individuals, universities, think tanks, non-profits and others worldwide to submit measurable and scalable behavior change solutions that can drive climate-friendly behaviors.

Need for LiFE concept

  • Exponential temperature rise: According to NASA, atmospheric carbon dioxide has never been more than 300 parts per million. But today it is creeping up to 420 ppm.
    • Ice sheets across the Himalayas have shrunk 10 times faster in the past 4 decades than in the last 7 centuries.
    • Global sea levels are predicted to rise between 2 and 6 feet by 2100.
  • Economic losses: It has been estimated that the global economy could lose up to 18% of GDP, and India could lose $6 trillion by 2050 if no climate action is taken.
  • Affects workforce: In India alone, more than 50% of our largely rural workforce will be negatively affected by climate change.
  • Hunger and starvation: The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) Report highlights water and food security as key challenges under climate change as both are highly vulnerable to continuously changing climatic patterns.

Demonstrations of LiFE concept

  • An individual can carry a reusable cloth bag instead of a plastic bag;
  • Walking short distances instead of driving; or turning off electrical appliances from the sources when not in use;
  • Prioritising public transport wherever possible, avoiding food wastage etc.

Significance of LiFE concept

  • Address apprehension: The prevailing perception that climate-friendly behaviour necessarily implies a frugal (meagre) lifestyle has prevented populations worldwide from adopting a sustainable lifestyle.
    • LiFE plans to methodically break down this mental model by nudging the world to consume responsibly, rather than consuming less.
  • Emphasises individual effort: The LiFE concept focuses on positive impact that individual and community behaviours can have on climate action that has remained under realized till now.
  • Forecast: According to the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), if one billion people out of the eight billion global population adopt eco-friendly behaviours in their daily lives, global carbon emissions could drop by approximately 20%.
  • Sustainable market economy: By nudging the consumption patterns of the society at scale, LiFE can also trigger a huge boost for the sustainability market. Several green industries and a large number of jobs are likely to be initiated as a positive externality of LiFE.

Global precedents of pro-planet initiatives

  • Denmark promotes the use of bicycles by limiting parking within the city centre and providing exclusive bike lanes.
  • Japan has its unique “walk-to-school” mandate, which has been in practice since the early 1950s.


  • There is an urgent need for individuals to transcend geographical, social and economic boundaries, and come together as a global community to tackle the climate crisis.
  • LiFE movement through its multi-dimensional, multi-cultural and global approach can play a pivotal role in not merely reversing the effects of climate change but, at a broader level, mainstream a harmonious and mindful way of living as advocated by Indian culture and traditions across centuries.