by Ram Kishan*
Climate change mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage have become hot topics, and also one of the areas of focus for most environmental based institutions. It concerns everyone but even more the youth because future of climate change forecast by IPCC looks alarming. This is why it is especially important that youth continue to be actively involved in shaping the future.
The Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) is a network of young people in 18 states uniting people who are concerned about climate change and environmental issues. The purpose of IYCN is to bring the voice of Indian youth to the global platform, as South Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to be affected by climate change.
COP-13 in Bali highlighted the lack of youth voices from India. As a result, the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) was born with a view that the voice of Indian youth needs to be strengthened by empowering an Indian Youth Delegation to the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP). IYCN is hence working to empower Indian Youth to have a stronger voice at the UNFCCC COP negotiations through its Agents of Change programme. The programme involved: training a selected number of young people from all parts of India on climate policy; providing them with a platform to communicate regularly with the Indian parliamentarians to share their ideas, opinions and stance about climate policy in the months ahead of the COP20.
COP20 will lay the groundwork for the future of international policy on climate change, and youth must make their voices heard. Youth from across the globe will come together to bring a sense of urgency and rationality to the meeting.
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. Climate change has been there, is here and will always be there! It is part of us! Climate change is a result of greenhouse effect which is a process by which thermal radiation from a planetary surface is absorbed by atmospheric greenhouse gases i.e. CO2, and is re-radiated in all directions leading to global warming.
But wait a minute, temperatures are increasing at a very abnormal rate and since some species are unable to adapt to the temperature rise they are slowly adding pages to the extinct species record book. Anthropogenic activities are the primary causes of global warming including burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, landfills, burning of grass. Name them!
Although everything moves along, we hope the rumor is wrong: That Mother Nature Goes to Heaven. Right, you never got it wrong, it always got away! Can one person help stop global climate change? Yes! Especially when the simple steps you, your friends, and your family take are multiplied by millions of people all over the world. It’s the simple things that we do which make a difference.
- Switching to clean energy, reducing waste, using less energy, travel green i.e. walk, bike, skateboard, rollerblade, or take a bus to school, plant a tree, spread the word.
- Give a presentation to your family, school, or community group that explains how their actions can cause or reduce climate change. That’s easy!
We cannot do nothing and think that someone else will make it right. It’s only fair when we can appreciate the delicacy of dew or a flower in bloom, water as it runs over the pebbles, or the majesty of an elephant, the fragility of the butterfly, or a field of wheat or leaves blowing in the wind. Such aesthetic responses are valid in their own right, and as reactions to the natural world they can inspire in us a sense of wonder and beauty that in turn encourages a sense of the Divine.
And there will be no sadder day, when all the birds have flown away, the last tree has been cut, and the last fish caught will we realize we cannot eat money!
People talk too much. We are no longer talking, we are working!
We have faith: Act Now on Climate Justice!
*Ram Kishan is Country Director, Afghanistan, Christian Aid and is a mentor to Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) for Agents of Change, 2014