Climate change is such a huge issue that it requires strong, concerted, consistent and enduring action by governments – Peter Garret.
If you are one of those individuals who really cares about what is going on in the world, you would know that the blogpost title comes from a slogan of the biggest climate change conference which starts on Monday in Durban, COP17/CMP7. Dear reader, let me take a liberty of shedding a light on what this conference is and what informed its inception. COP stands for Conference of the Parties, the parties being the 195 nations that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. UNFCCC is convention that was conceived in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. At that time, world leaders met in Rio, under the UN, to rethink economic development and find a path that would address the issue of climate change and environmental sustainability.
Few days ago, on my facebook page I asked who is this celebrity guy much anticipated by Durbanites called COP17/CMP7? The response to the question was negative – if there was one at all. It became apparent to me after such a reluctant participation on that status update that my generation is becoming increasingly disconnected from the natural world. Oh yeah, we buy our drinking water in bottles. We litter. We do not recycle nor reuse papers. We print emails. We eat genetically modified organisms. and yet we are generation that is supposed to be well-informed because of the resource we poses in the form of internet and smartphones. In all those acts I have mentioned, I am embarrassed to state that I am guilty as charged.
For many young people the subject of climate change is relatively new and to a large extent its relevance is not clearly understood. Whether young people are apathetic when it comes to such issues is a different story, what is needed is the awareness on this topic. Our Universities and residences can play a significant role in continuing the discourse on climate change long after the COP 7 conference has ended.
Environmental experts and activists say that climate change promises threat of varying magnitude to the planet earth. At the same conference in 1992, in Rio De Janeiro, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, an environmental activist delivered a speech on climate change from a perspective of a teenager. She was 12 at the time and at age 9 she had founded the Environmental Children’s Organization (ECO), a group of children dedicated to learning and teaching other youngsters about environmental issues. The video summarizes the dangers of climate change so profoundly that it went viral with well over 8 million hits.
In her address she told the delegates that:
“I am only a child Yet I know that if all the money spent on war was spent on ending poverty and finding environmental answers, what a wonderful place this would be. In school you teach us not to fight with others, to work things out, to respect others, to clean up our mess, not to hurt other creatures, to share, not be greedy. Then why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do? You grownups say you love us, but I challenge you, please, to make your actions reflect your words.”
Watch this video, and be informed on matters affecting the environment. The video quality is not that good but the message is of top-notch quality.
To echo her sentiments, the challenges are great, but if we accept individual responsibility and make sustainable choices, we will rise to the challenges, and we will become part of the positive tide of change.
Source: Time Magazine, UNFCCC, COP17/CMP7 conference website, Wikepedia, News 24.