It’s time to fight for climate justice!
More than 200 countries participated in the summit held on climate change in Poland between December 2, 2018 and December 15, 2018. The notable change of this summit was that the youth turned against the decisions of elders. Most importantly, they were able to attract everyone’s attention as they raised their voice towards ‘Climate Justice’.
“My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old. I am from Sweden. I now speak on behalf of Climate Justice. Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference. Every time you meet, one only discusses about the changing environment and never reaches a decision. Remember that every wrong decision you take today might turn out to be fatal for our future. So, instead of begging before you, we children will unite to fight…’
These words by 15-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden at the climate change summit held by United Nations at Katowice startled all the senior dignitaries.
The speech rendered by Greta in the UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP24 which was attended by 200+ countries, did not come into limelight in India.
Inspired by her speech, more than one lakh students of 8th, 9th and 10th standards in Australia, walked out of their classrooms onto the roads to strike against the government. The reason being wrong climate related decisions taken by the Australian government.
Industrialisation has led to rapid global warming effects. We have already realised its effect on us with the increasing cyclone, tsunami, drought and desertification. All these are due to the changes that are taking place in the climate. The first bait to this change will be agriculture; followed by health and economy that will have to face the brunt of it.
The foremost reason for global warming, changing farm cycle and climate change is the surge in carbon usage. These climate change summits held every year debates about how the usage of carbon can be reduced and also decides about the capping value of carbon usage.
However, the poor countries opine that the responsibilities of rich countries have increased. If around 25% of the pollution is being caused by America, then India stands to pollute less than 5%. But, India is a rapidly growing country. Even a meagre increase of temperature by 2 degree Celsius will get us in trouble. All the island countries will submerge under water if the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic region starts to melt.
How does this influence India?: There is a direct linkage between climate change and poverty. Change in agricultural cycle affects livelihood in a substantial manner. We have already reached an era where we find it difficult to predict the onset of monsoon. At this juncture, enhancing the earnings of the farmer through economic activities based on alternative fuels like the solar power, biogas etc., will act as a support system to the subsistence of the farmer and his family. Organizations like SELCO which provide sustainable solutions have to be involved in this work. Solar powered sewing machine, roti making machine, blacksmith fan blower, milking machine and other such machines which help in earning the daily bread can be used anytime and anywhere, even at places which are not connected to the electricity grid. Such machines can be used for livelihood purposes and therefore help to make a living out of it.
With the exception of Brazil and Turkey, the 200 other nations who attended the COP24 Summit at Katowice, have come in consensus and have even agreed to the decisions of 2015 COP Summit.
Brazil has a population of around 10 crore. The Amazon rainforests of Brazil are widely known as the ‘lungs of the world’. Deforestation of Amazon forests has a direct repercussion on many countries including Africa and India. Unfortunately, Brazil has turned adamant in telling that the forest belongs to them and they will resort to cutting of trees.
How can we handle such a disaster?: We are not realising the gradual change in environment and the expanding process of desertification. We need to have a clear foresight about the changing environment. A drought in Maharashtra pushes the farmer to commit suicide. If a similar situation of drought arises in Karnataka, then what has to be done? How should they lead their life when there is scanty rainfall? The solutions to these questions have to be found by us through the usage of technology.
There are a lot many things to be considered in the field of environment. The country’s laws have to be strengthened in this regard. There has to be a systematic and strategic plan regarding climate change in every panchayat, taluk, district, state and the entire country. Most importantly, our youth, just like the kids of Australia and Greta of Sweden, have to start fighting for the cause of climate change and have immense care for environment. India has to send the younger generation as representatives to the next COP Summit, as the decisions of today shape their future. We should not be the culprits in the eyes of our future generation. This fact has to also get etched in the minds of our legislators.
(The author is a solar engineer and Ramon Magsaysay awardee. This article was originally published in Kannada and has been translated for our readers.)
Read the orginal version here: