Millennium Post

Inheritance of the youth

Little was the world prepared for a deeply feeling and angry youth when a school-going 15-year-old girl in Sweden called Greta Thunberg paved the way for deeper awareness about the deteriorating climate and the impact of it which will be borne not by the developing or backward countries the most but by the young generation of today which needs a future to look forward to. At 15, she skipped school to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament, holding up a sign calling for stronger climate action, and being alone in doing so in the beginning. Routinely held international summits on climate change, its impact, discussions about the quantum of emissions, the inter-governmental undertakings and agreements and disagreements all invariably begin and end with dominant political tones directed by primarily growing economic needs of the nations that have a say and which are also heard. It may be safely said that the outgoing generation has conveniently confined to political dynamics a profound issue of environment and humanity which is threatening of mass extinction lest it be ignored. Greta Thunberg belongs to Sweden, a developed, peaceful country with hardly any material deprivations whatsoever compared to most parts of the visible world. Taking to protest by such a person exemplifies sufficiently that development along economic parameters and material comforts cannot be the ultimate measure of a life of prosperity and safe and healthy thriving. The priorities of weaker or developing countries may not permit them to focus primarily on climate and environment but it stands unjustified to not have an attitude to heed the necessary balance between modern development and preservation of nature. Thunberg's simplistic and straightforward approach to climate change can potentially result in bringing climate protesters into conflict with the complexities of decision-making in Western democracies in particular. The adolescent climate activist was visibly poignant at the UN Climate Action Summit asking a question very characteristic of her age: "how dare you?" to the world leaders that may be held accountable for allowing the phenomena of climate change to compound to the extent of causing the young to doubt any safety and security in a future for which they nurture ambitions and aspirations. "You have stolen my childhood" is a very forceful and telling remark coming form an aware and inform adolescent of a developed country insisting on her rightful demand for action for change. With the terrifying statistics that explain the gravity of climate change, a duly informed and aware youth can justifiably question if the future—dark and noxious, devoid of the kind of life which can allow healthy thriving—is actually worth any effort. The future belongs to the young generation, the source of all measurable economic growth and development in inevitably pegged on them. Greta Thunberg may be credited with taking climate awareness to the common people, not as an electoral or a political issue but as a concern for their own future. As a result, more than 4,600 events are held in 150 countries. Across the UK alone, for the first time, 200 events took place with 500 organisations and 1,000 companies came out in support. These protests are part of a snowballing movement sparked Thunberg's school strikes outside the Swedish parliament.

Along the lines of such awareness at UN Climate Action Summit in New York, PM Modi emphasised very correctly that time for talks on climate is over, the world must act now. A major global coalition to promote setting up of disaster-resilient infrastructure in the wake of rising extreme climatic events is a significant place to start. Developing climate resilience is the beginning of instilling among common people the necessity of a stable climate and the contribution of all in their respective capacities in ensuring efforts to restore the climate. The Indian PM is the third world leader after New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and President of Marshall Islands Hilda Heine to address the summit. Addressing the congregation, the PM highlighted to the world India's plans to generate 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022 and that the government has given a major push to electric mobility and mixing of bio-fuel to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. India looks towards making investments of up to $50 billion on its Jal Jeevan Mission to conserve water resources. With respect to developing a comprehensive approach to combat climate change, the need of the hour is the much-needed behavioural change which can come about only through education and awareness. And this behavioural change has to be a wave sweeping the entire world, not just India.

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