In recent years, youth activism has emerged as a powerful force in the global movement to combat climate change. Bangladesh is no exception. In a country that is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, the involvement of young people in the fight against this existential threat is crucial. Today, I would like to discuss the role of youth activism in combating climate change in Bangladesh.
First and foremost, the youth have been at the forefront of raising awareness about climate change in Bangladesh. They have been using digital media, social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach out to their peers and create a sense of urgency about climate change. They have been organizing public events, rallies, and protests to demand action from the government and raise public consciousness on the issue. For example, on March 15, 2019, thousands of Bangladeshi students participated in the global climate strike to demand action on climate change. It was led by Bangladeshi youth activists, who held rallies in cities across the country, calling for immediate action.
Secondly, the youth have been playing an active role in influencing policy decisions related to climate change in Bangladesh. They have been engaging with policymakers, politicians, and government agencies to demand concrete and effective action on climate change. The youth have been advocating for cleaner and renewable energy, better public transportation, green buildings and other sustainable practices. They have also been lobbying the government to allocate more funds for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and disaster preparedness. For example, the Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), a youth-led network of NGOs, has been advocating for climate-friendly policies and practices in Bangladesh. They have been instrumental in getting the government to include climate change and disaster risk reduction in the national curriculum of Bangladesh.
Thirdly, the youth have been playing a vital role in implementing climate change solutions at the grassroots level. They have been working with local communities, particularly those living in vulnerable areas, to promote sustainable practices and build resilience against climate change impacts. They have been organizing tree plantation drives, promoting waste reduction, and advocating for sustainable agriculture practices. For instance, the Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative (BYEI), a youth-led organization has been organizing community-led climate adaptation programs in different parts of the country. They have been empowering the local communities to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
Youth activism crucial in country’s battle for climate change
In recent years, youth-led climate strikes have become a common sight in Bangladesh. Inspired by global figures like Greta Thunberg, Bangladeshi students have been demanding urgent action from their government and international bodies. Their unwavering dedication is not only raising awareness but also pressuring policymakers to prioritize climate change as a top agenda item.
Lastly, the youth have been building international alliances to combat climate change. Bangladeshi youth activists have been working with global youth organizations, such as the Fridays for Future Movement, to create a global movement for climate action. They have been participating in international climate conferences and summits, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to raise their voice and demand action from global leaders. They have been networking with their peers from other countries, sharing ideas and experiences and building a global community of climate activists.
The youth of Bangladesh have been playing a critical role in combating climate change in the country. They have been raising awareness, influencing policy decisions, implementing solutions, and building international alliances to create a sustainable future. However, much more needs to be done. The government needs to recognize the importance of youth activism in tackling climate change and provide more opportunities for the youth to participate in decision-making processes. The private sector needs to come forward and support youth-led climate initiatives. The media needs to provide more coverage to youth-led climate action. The civil society needs to collaborate more closely with youth organizations. Only through collective action can we tackle the climate crisis and secure a sustainable future for all.
The writer is a Graduate in anthropology from The University of Dhaka
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