Young activists for climate action and biodiversity conservation

- Sajjan Regmi, Pokhara

     Sajjan Regmi    
     Saturday July 17, 2021

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivers remarks to campaigners in Washington, D.C. on September 13, 2019(Photo: Sarah Silbiger)

Life on earth is a complex dynamic system interlinked with various abiotic and biotic components. Humans are an integral part of this community and totally rely on the biosphere for survival. Far back in the past, humans had negligible influence over mother earth but now they have direct influence over the fundamental processes of this planet due to rapid technological development. Biodiversity degradation and Climate change, due to anthropogenic activities have become a critical issue creating an existential threat to humanity itself. Coupled with rise in global temperature and other factors, this can lead to mass extinction of the human species. Conservation of biodiversity and prevention of climate change are crucial in maintaining the global ecosystem.

 The most rapid climate change ever recorded is in current times leading to imbalance in the global ecosystem. Although some countries have formed legislation in this regard, world-wide researches have been carried out and some organizations seem to be working to combat the problem, it is far from what is needed to reverse what we have done to planet earth over the decades. And we further continue to push the world into the abyss. The younger generation, now, has recognized our unsustainable way of living and many of them are   coming forward to warn us and to demand for an immediate action.  This is totally sensible owing to the fluctuation in climate all over the world and species extinction the world has faced in last few decades. Climate change has been of the most concern to the younger generations because the future they wish to walk onto is highly uncertain and even non-existent considering the little amount of effort put in solving the problem.  And therefore, we should act on climate change and biodiversity conservation ‘immediately’, so as to allow them the same opportunity of witnessing the wonders of mother earth as we did. Along with that, we should let the young activists’ voices echo on the global platform. Thanks to the cooperation with The Marketing Heaven and advertising on social networks, the voices of young activists fighting for environmental protection are spreading around the world more than ever.

Climate change is right here in front of our eyes and we can’t turn away from this fact anymore. It is certain that our children and grandchildren are going to face the worst effects of climate change if we do not act now, and it will be of utmost shame and guilt for us. Growing number of young activists in the words shows their lack of trust in what is being done to stop it and to what extent.

More youngsters across the world are now joining hand in hand raising their voices against the activities of corporations and governments/world leaders that led to it in the first place. 15-years-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden is a prime example of it. Along with her school friends, she began a revolution against the government demanding action to fight climate change. This created a big wave in world politics as millions started marching with her. This also proves that young people no longer view climate change just as an environmental problem but as social justice. They will keep knocking at the doors of justice until they get it. To support their initiative, UNICEF also set up an organization named ‘Voices of Youth’ in response to their march which offers young advocates to offer their insights on these issues.

While this crusade against climate change is new but the topic itself is not. It is a process that has been going on for quite a long time now. Biodiversity loss, on the other hand has only been a topic of sympathy. Many industrialists, world leaders, organizations and activists seem busy trying to gain cheap fame and dollars in the name of nature conservation. Development as we expect hasn’t been people-centric, neither environment-centric, which is nowhere near sustainable. On the contrary, focus has been placed solely on increasing material wealth and power of the governments, corporations/organizations. Therefore, it is necessary that we all too, recognize climate emergency and raise our voices along with the young activists against climate unfriendly activities and lack of input in solving the climate issue.

One of the greatest political ethicists; Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed”. High moral principles, humility, compassion and simplicity have the power to make this planet a better place for all its beings. It’s not yet late to start making the much needed difference. We can vow to use the earth’s resources sustainably/prudently starting today. While big decisions and actions are necessary from governments/bigger authorities and organizations, we should also start acting from grassroots level. Low-carbon emitting vehicles, abandoning single-use plastic bags and other plastic products, gardening, waste management at home, tree plantation, minimalist way of living, are some of the examples that can be set by adults for the children to follow. This will prevent the situation from recurring as it will create more aware, informed and compassionate people for the future. We need to engage ourselves, children and young adults in forest baths, bird watching, and similar activities that re-connect us to the nature and build interest in conservation of its components. Nurturing people from a young age to appreciate nature will eventually make them responsible global citizens.  Further, this may lead to their interest in nature conservation or similar career paths in the long-term. In the context of Nepal, Young people can also be introduced to educational websites like Biodiversity Nepal, which is a great platform for them to learn and share knowledge. Since sustainable development is impossible without considering any participation of the youth, our own little contribution will go a long way in achieving it.

In about 1,700 cities in more than 100 countries — from Nepal to Vanuatu — thousands of young people walked out of schools to demand that adults do more to combat climate change on march 15, 2019. The protests dispel stereotypes that young people are lazy, and encourage governments to make climate change. Every global citizen needs to know that young activists are our big hope for the future on this planet and we need to create more of them, but if we act responsibly, we will also lessen the burden for them. Young people aren’t just watching our actions but evaluating them too. Therefore, It is high time we start making conscious choices, which could be in both; choosing leaders and in choosing the things of daily use.

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(Sajjan Regmi is student of BSc Forestry in IOF, Hetauda campus. He is a passionate explorer and environmentalist with a strong obsession with nature, literature and art.)