Gobal Youth Climate Summit 2021 urges pressing actions to combat climate change

Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) inaugurated the 2-day long virtual ‘Global Youth Climate Summit 2021’, in partnership with the California-based Foundation for Climate Restoration, Resilient Markets, and the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge on Thursday (March 11, 2021). Over 600 delegates from 80 countries across six continents attended the summit virtually. This summit was organized as a part of BYLC’s celebrations for Bangladesh’s 50th anniversary of independence.

The two-day long Global Youth Climate Summit 2021 started on March 11, 2021 with the slogan ‘No time to waste’. In this summit, the scientists and youth activists from different parts of the world shared their views regarding the destructive effects of global warming and climate change on the developing countries, especially Bangladesh. In the summit, the attendees agreed about taking immediate actions to mitigate the effects of climate change.

At the opening plenary of Day-one, Ejaj Ahmad, the founder and president of BYLC said that climate crisis is undoubtedly the biggest challenge of Bangladesh in the coming 50 years. The survival of this country depends mainly on two things: achieving net zero CO2 emissions at global level and dropping the level of greenhouse gases to pre-industrial levels.

Indicating to the gravity of climate change issue, Sir David King, founder of the Centre for Climate Repair and an emeritus professor at Cambridge University, warns that region of Southeast Asia will experience the strongest brunt of climate change by the middle of current century. Following the attack of hurricane or tsunami, the Sea water tends to enter the land leading towards flood. The delta region countries like Bangladesh are experiencing these catastrophes frequently. Within the coming 30 years, approximately 200-300 million people from Southeast Asian regions will be climate refugees. He advises that to avoid such mishaps, urgent actions are required to alleviate the impending risks of the climate change. Sir David King also urges that it is the responsibility of every human on earth to act for saving the environment.

The youths and their future generations would be worth sufferers of climate change impacts. In the recent years, the climate change events are occurring at greater frequencies with severe intensities. The youths can’t evade the devastating effects of climate change unless they get prepared for the imminent crisis, according to the experts.

In the summit, Alexandria Villasenor, the 15y-old Co-founder of the US Youth Climate Strike movement, shared her experience that when she started working against climate change, many young people were unaware about the impacts of climate change. She doubted that not every school emphasizes on climate change lessons which can leave a negative impact towards preparing a better future. Alexandria thinks that youths should be supported to assure their participation in direct actions against climate change.

Other speakers at the summit emphasized on the need for the climate restoration to achieve safe and healthy living place on earth.

Peter Fiekowsky, founder and chairman emeritus of the Foundation for Climate Restoration said that climate restoration movement needs to focus on the thriving, rather than mere survival, of humanity. He focused on lowering down the carbon (CO2) emissions to levels which is healthy for humans. He also advised that the population rate should be reduced to the level where extinction rates falls down to roughly zero.

Sir Christopher Ball, former warden of Keble College, Oxford University said that though the Youth Global Climate Pledge is launched from Bangladesh, it is a global pledge created by youths around the world. He addressed Bangladesh as a young country that is severely threatened by global warming as well as rising ocean.

Prior to the ‘Global Youth Climate Summit 2021’, the delegates signed a pledge co-created by youths to commit necessary actions that will prevent the global climate devastation.

On Day-two (March 12, 2021), 4 pledges were proposed by the delegates. Those are:

Pledge Point 1: Adopt clean energy and low carbon transportation;

Pledge Point 2: Explore a more plant-based diet

Pledge Point 3: Consider having a smaller family (of 0-2 born children)

Pledge Point 4: Urge my community and government to prioritize the well-being of both ecosystems and human beings

In the summit the experts prioritized over renewable energies instead of applying and importing fossil fuels, like coal, oil, gas. They hoped for creation of new employment opportunities through the application of sustainable energy system like Solar Energy plants. Experts also advised for minimized the use of individual transport and encouraged people for using public transport to reduce the emission of fossil fuels into environment.

The experts also discussed the necessity of small family size to assure better health facilities for every people. Generation of organic food and plant based diet was encouraged by the participants in the summit. Besides these, the experts urged for taking collective actions at community level to hit the bottom line of the industries that are responsible for climate change. They also focused on resource allocation to help the climate vulnerable people.

In the summit, it was highlighted that around 85% youths are aware of the climate change vulnerabilities. The participants agreed that visions or awareness is not enough to prevent the climate catastrophe. Starting from individual level, we have to act collectively to make a change. The youths around the world can be engaged with climate change prevention activities through awareness programs, e-learning, training, financing to climate projects, participating to policy making actions, etc.

At the closing ceremony of ‘Global Youth Climate Summit 2021’ on March 12, the summit honored 12 youth climate champions representing Bangladesh, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan, Paraguay, and Somalia, were competitively selected from the delegates. Each of them were awarded with a full scholarship to attend a leadership course along with a USD 1,000 award for respective climate restoration projects.

Speaking as the chief guest at the award ceremony, Honorable Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudury congratulated the climate champions as well as the summit delegates, and expressed hope that the earth will heal under their leadership. “I commend BYLC for taking this forward-looking global initiative engaging youth. This will undoubtedly stand as one single initiative from both developing and developed countries to raise youth voices on the climate crisis,” she said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh