Ready to take over
By Kartikeya Singh (With inputs from Mowdudur Rahman, Director of Centre for Coastal Environmental Conservation, Khulna, Bangladesh)
Zach Swank, Dewittville, New York
Global warming reduces the amount of snow that stays on the ground and the average depth of snow the last few winters has been very low. Climate change has a direct impact on my community because we have a large economic sector built around snow sports and snow tourism. In addition to a personal lifestyle that reduces my contribution to climate change, I educate people around me about the issue. I also actively push people to think beyond the norms of society to consider what it would really take to live sustainably.
Engineering Student, Copenhagen, Denmark
Last years have been warmer than ever, and some of the flowers bloom earlier than before. I have held many demonstrations telling people that they don’t need all the gadgets that the advertising industry attempts to sell to them. In this way I am doing my best to change the consumer culture in my own way.
KL, Malayasia, Masters student in Zoology
Flooding is affecting people in the low lying regions of the country and in December 2007 massive floods triggered by 24 hours of rain forced many communities to evacuate. As we speak, my husband is helping in the evacuation process. In Malaysia no one is thinking about climate change. I’m trying to increase awareness to mobilise people to make change happen.
Cape Town, South Africa
Anti-nuclear campaign, coordinator, Earthlife Africa
Seasons are changing, with unexpected strong winds and heavy rains, the malaria belt is expanding, and early frost is affecting crops and fruit agriculture in the Western Cape. Awareness generation regarding origins of climate change, its impacts, how international negotiations work, and how people can make their governments take the right steps. We are developing the national chapter on youth initiative on climate change.
Razcel Jan Luiz Salvarita, Environmental Journalist
In my hometown, global warming has caused coral bleaching in the marine ecosystem and the extreme weather patterns have brought about stronger and frequent storms that cause a lot of damage to people and wildlife. As a member of Solar Generation Youth, I am engaged in the lobbying effort to pass the Renewable Energy Bill to redirect the country's energy use through clean, renewable energy sources. I share the positive solutions through the media to spread the word in wide range.
Hyun Jin Jeon,
Seoul, Korea, UNEP North East Asian Youth, Network Coordinator
Desertification due to deforestation in China and Mongolia is bringing regular sand storms to Korea. Schools have been shut down for health reasons. Yes it’s true, not much is happening in South Korea. Thus I am starting by raising awareness on the issue through the help of the North East Asian Environmental Youth Network.
At the Conference Of Parties 13, a two-year negotiating process – the ‘Bali roadmap’ – has been launched. It acknowledges that evidence for the planet warming is ‘unequivocal’, and that delays in reducing emissions will increase risks of ‘severe climate change impacts’. Here are some key elements of the ‘roadmap’.
Recognises that ‘deep cuts in global emissions’ and ‘a long-term global goal for emission reductions’ will be required.
Developed nations to take on commitments that are ‘measurable, reportable and verifiable’, and ‘nationally appropriate’. But they may or may not include quantified, binding targets.
Developing nations need to take ‘measurable, reportable and verifiable’ actions ‘in the context of sustainable development, supported by technology and enabled by financing and capacitybuilding’. In other words, only with Western support.
‘Policy approaches and positive incentives’ will be used to reduce deforestation and conserve forest cover.
Funds will be given to World Bank to start pilot projects under Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing countries
Work towards better co-operation to ‘support urgent implementation’ of measures to protect poorer countries.’
Find ways to reduce occurrence or damage from natural disasters.
Consider how to ‘remove obstacles to the provision of financial and other incentives for, scaling up’ the transfer of clean energy technologies from industrialised nations to developing world.
Ten thousand delegates from around the world converged in Bali to decide the fate of the world’s future. With the conclusion of the harrowing talks which were filled with high drama, hopes and frustration, youth from around the world made their voices heard as the generation which will have to live with the consequences of the changing climate. Here is what these young people from around the world have to say about climate change.
Oslo, Norway, Student, Masters in Sustainable Development
We in Norway will be getting the “benefits” of climate change because warmer temperatures mean less snow. We have the proper infrastructure to adapt to the coming changes. However, I am concerned about the world as a whole, so I am campaigning to demand a 50 per cent reduction of green house gases by 2020. I am also advocating for further reduction of Norway’s energy consumption and resources.
Jodhpur, India and Greenville, USA, Compton Fellow
As a resident of the US but a citizen of India, I am attempting to make change happen by educating those in the US of the changing geopolitical scenario, which will demand of them leadership to reduce fossil fuel consumption. At the same time, I am researching how India can leapfrog the carbon-intensive growth pathway and not repeat the mistakes of the industrialised nations. In my daily life, I ride the bus to work instead of driving. It is not only more efficient and less polluting, but also less expensive. I am also trying to establish a pan-Indian youth initiative on climate change that will force the government to take steps to better the environment. For example, making public transport more attractive than the car culture which India seems set to embrace.
New Delhi, India
Associate, Sustainability Team, Pricewaterhouse Cooper
Warmer winters and unpredictable monsoons. I try to minimise my own carbon footprint by using CFL bulbs in my house, and reducing and recycling plastic bags.
Taichung City, Foreign languages student at Tung Hai University
Typhoons are getting more destructive and triggering floods. As a result schools and businesses have been closed and entire mountain communities have been evacuated. Crops are also being washed away due to the increased frequency of such storms. As a member of the Asian Youth Leaders Climate Forum I am encouraging efficient use of resources by establishing a recycling programme at my university. I hope it will be replicated in universities across Taiwan.
Resident of a cyclone-hit village
In November 2007, Cyclone-SIDR hit my village. It claimed the lives of many villagers along with livestock, agricultural lands, rice paddy, and shrimp farms. People are homeless and schools, communication towers and fishing boats have been destroyed. Climate change is a reality here, with rising sea-level and frequency of natural hazards. I’m trying to raise awareness among the coastal communities about climate change, disaster management and early warning systems. Rehabilitation of the victims is another important aspect of my work.
Ivy Wong, Law Student, Hong Kong University
The climate is unpredictable, with warmer winters, fewer typhoons and less rainfall in the summers. For the last five years, winter has come early and has become warmer. There is not much happening in Hong Kong, so i’m trying to raise awareness on campus. I’m building a network of youth from across the globe.
Sena Alouka, Lomé, Togo
Working for Young Volunteers for Environment
The dry season is getting longer, the rivers are drying up, and rains are unpredictable. Also, from Lomé to the capital of Benin, the coastal highway has been built thrice, as it’s being swallowed by the sea repeatedly. I am a part of 35 local projects to disseminate information on how to adapt to the changing climate. I am also promoting the use of solar cookers and the planting of trees.
Bernise Ang, Singapore, Financial Consultant
It's literally getting hot in here. Temperatures have been getting hotter (even though it is a tropical country), but also we have been getting more erratic and abnormally heavy rainfall. In Singapore we have a high consumption lifestyle. As a member of Syinc, a youth empowered NGO, I am trying to make people distinguish between their needs and wants so that they waste fewer resources.
Rungchavalnont, Bangkok, Student
Rising temperatures and sea levels severely affect provinces next to Bangkok (people have moved their houses five times in 20 years). Through the use of a mobile climate clinic, which travels to various schools, universities, and public spaces displaying an exhibition on climate change, I raise awareness about the issue.