Young People's Role in Fighting Climate Change as a Risk to Peace and Security by Monu Kumar
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Mahatma Gandhi's words, "there is enough on Earth for everybody's need, but not enough for everybody's greed" is proving true today.
The extensive use of natural resources has brought many problems for humankind. 'Climate change' is one of these prominent issues.
Recent events have emphatically demonstrated our growing vulnerability to climate change. Climate change impacts range from affecting agriculture to sea-level rise and the accelerated erosion of coastal zones, increasing intensity of natural disasters, species extinction, and the spread of vector-borne diseases. It is a man-made disaster that can end life on Earth.
Climate change is the long-term alteration of temperature and normal weather patterns in a place. This could refer to a particular location or the planet as a whole. Climate change is currently occurring throughout the world as a result of global warming. Global warming is an increase in the planet’s overall temperature due to the burning of fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil, and coal. Burning these materials releases greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere. These gases trap the heat from the Sun’s rays inside the atmosphere, causing Earth’s average temperature to rise.
Oxford dictionary declared 'Climate Change' as the word of the year 2019. According to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world is set to breach the global warming limit of 1.5 degrees celsius between 2030 and 2052, at the current rate of emissions. The increasing temperature is resulting in the melting of glaciers and rising sea levels. Many islands are on the verge of sinking. Some reports have also suggested that the havoc floods in India, China, Indonesia, Russia, and all around the globe is a result of climate change. Increasing temperature is also causing dry and hot weather. The countries are facing a drought-like situation and the water level is rapidly decreasing. The devastating bushfire in Australia is a recent example. It claimed more than two dozens human lives and more than 1 billion animals burnt alive in the forests.
European Union has declared to be carbon neutral by the year 2050 and China by 2060. The countries like UK, Canada, Ireland, and France have declared a climate emergency. The Indian government has set a target of producing 175 GW renewable energy by 2022 and played a pivotal role in the formation of the International Solar Alliance. But these efforts are inadequate. The governments of these countries are still giving billions of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. The pace at which temperature is rising is a matter of grave concern.
Role of youths
Youths are the driving force in the battle against climate change. The present generation of youths will have to bear the serious consequences of climate change. It is time to act. Thousands of young people are already working in this field. Youths are spreading awareness through advocacy and propagation. Their role is important to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Climate change has severe implications on the environment, right from the atmosphere to the coral reefs. The ozone layer in the atmosphere is depleting year after year and the coral reef is degrading due to a rise in temperature. The ozone layer prevents ultraviolet rays of the Sun from reaching the Earth. These UV rays can cause skin disorders. While coral reefs are home to the majority of the aquatic species. Due to the rise of oceanic temperature, their existence is in danger.
Apart from the environment, climate change is also going to a major challenge for international order and security issues. Many parts of the world are witnessing depletion of the water layer. In the coming time, it may happen that countries will fight over water. Climate change has also led to untimely rain which is causing havoc floods. In times of floods, countries having large dams open its gate and flood water go to neighboring countries which is a cause of dissent. There are some world leaders who termed climate change as a hoax. The lack of consensus among world leaders weakens the fight against this global problem. If the dissent deepens among leaders then it will not be good for a stable global order. These pose a serious risk to peace and security.
Youth are in the front of the fight.
They are understanding the severity of the condition and trying to do as per their capability and limitations. Leaders who are responsible to make laws in their respective countries should listen more carefully to youths and pay attention to their demands.
About the author:
Monu Kumar is the author of this OpEd. The 21 year-old is a graduate in Mass Communication and he is from the Bihar province of India. As a youth, he understands his responsibility towards the environment and works to spread awareness about climate change. He runs a Facebook page "Jalwayu" for advocacy.