“My children keep asking me for food and say they are hungry. But what can I do?” were the words of Nima Devi, a Bihar flood survivor, who used to eat once a day with her children during the disaster and lived on the khichdi distributed by the government.
Millions like Nima fall prey to different disasters of this man-made catastrophe, called climate change, every day. But why then is it bigoted as an elitist crisis when the worst affected people also happen to be the least privileged? And why then it still does not receive the prerogative it needs?
In 1896, the theory of an idea called ‘global warming’ was first presented by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius. And in 1938, the pieces of evidence became clearer, although the world barely acknowledged it and continued to set ablaze the toxic dark face of carbon. Then finally when the consequences were in their faces, the world paid attention to the crisis in the 1980s. People had doubts and opinions.
Doubts on the legitimacy of the scientists’ discoveries and opinions on how something created by man could be so deadly that it jeopardizes entire humanity. Flash forward to 2015, leaders from countries all over the world signed the Paris Agreement and made commitments to register the climate crisis in their own countries. The harsh fact is that the commitments are not ambitious enough to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 °C or even 2°C. This sounds insignificant, but when we talk about this rise all over the world, all it indicates is an emergency.
Climate change and climate justice are about how much you drive, and how much animal products you consume but it is at the same time a lot bigger than that. It is about how the administrations claim to expand their investments in renewable energy but at the same time, increase the mining and imports of coal. It is about what the responsible authorities claim and how their actions turn out to be the opposite.
At the initiative of a 15-year-old, momentum was provided to a movement that today has become an essential pillar to bring about justice for everyone. That person paved the way for us to unite and fight together for the cause is in the best interest of no single community, country, or person but for all of us and our successors. Since 2018, people all around the world have been coming together to strike for their right to an unwavering and secure future.
And it is indeed glum that we have reached a place where this tussle has become a necessity. The social media post that called out everyone to join 2021’s global climate strike on Friday, March 19 had a comment section of diverse opinions. While most of the users had posted comments that set a celebratory disposition, the rest, however, were arguing, if climate change actually exists, still after all these years of contemplation and the busting of surrounding myths.
Those who disavow that climate change is real and it is happening are looking away from their actions and how they are liable for bringing their end nearer. As the youth, when we refuse to act, we deny the right to live to the forthcoming generations and to ourselves to have a future where we can have a healthy environment to grow and pursue our goals and aspirations. We need to make the authorities realize that a stable future where the calamity created by the previous generations does not stand as a hurdle in the path of our success is what we want and need.
They need to learn that our trust in them and their obligation to give us a thriving future is a piece of fragile glass. If it is broken, we might never be able to collect the millions of shattered pieces together and the damage will be irreversible.
For an individual, climate change might be a scientific problem or an issue of social justice but for humans as a whole, climate change is an extremely evident threat that endangers our entire civilization and has the power to wipe us out completely. If we don’t act now, we will be just as guilty for what materializes next.