Is it the responsibility of the governments alone to protect nature? And, what roles can ordinary people play to conserve the environment? Oxygen Manifesto, a masterfully-crafted book by Atulya Misra IAS, not only explores these questions but also presents a policy statement for a new-age green movement.
Blending both fictional and non-fictional narrative styles, Oxygen Manifesto tells the story of Thatha, a Tamil man settled in Manipur, and Ravi Chandran Bose, an IAS officer from Tamil Nadu posted in Manipur.
Misra ingeniously sets the scene using history and culture. For example, the second chapter tells the reader how “non-Mongoloid dark-skinned Tamil-speaking inhabitants” came to Moreh in Manipur. There is fine detailing about each character, too. With his passion and willpower, Thatha single-handedly changes the landscape of Moreh by planting trees. Thatha’s simple life and Ravi’s love for nature are fed to the reader subtly.
As the story proceeds, Ravi creates a movement, with Thatha’s blessings, that will soon become the greatest environmental project in the country. The idea presented by Ravi is a mix of direct civil action and decentralisation.
The ‘circles’—communes of climate warriors—formed based on the Oxygen Manifesto embrace eco-socialism. Though it is initially treated as a fringe idea by both the media and mainstream political parties, the Oxygen Manifesto would soon catch the imagination of common people.
Though the book’s politics is deep, Misra’s writing ensures that it is an easy read. And this book is a must-read for anyone who wonders what ordinary citizens can do to save Mother Earth.
Oxygen Manifesto—A Battle for Environment