Save the World, Save Bangladesh, Save Generations: Youth in Bangladesh in solidarity with Global Climate Strike
To ensure a livable world for the future generation, hundreds of children and youth of Bangladesh called upon the world as well as Bangladeshi political and Government leaders, investors and funders to act responsibly bearing in mind the risks of survival of generations due to climate change and close down all coal-based power projects through gradually increasing use of renewable energy by 2030. Together with other specific demands, they further demanded that the global leaders must take necessary steps to implement the ‘Paris agreement’ without further delay to ensure committed compensation to the affected countries by the industrially developed polluter countries.
The demands were equivocally made on 27 September in human chains organized by TI Bangladesh in Dhaka and simultaneously 45 different districts and sub-districts of Bangladesh in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike. Chanting the slogan “One World, One Bangladesh: Save the World, Save Bangladesh, Save Generations!”, hundreds of children and youth of Bangladesh formed human chains with placards and banners carrying the specific demands to address critical challenges of climate change. Members of TI Bangladesh inspired Committees of Concerned Citizens (CCCs), Shojon (Citizens for Transparency), YES and YES Friends, and kids and youth with people from communities also attended in the countrywide processions.
“It is a fact that human civilization is now on the verge of destruction. The industrially developed countries are responsible for the crisis. We have to make sure that they cannot escape their responsibilities and commitments. We don’t want any emptier speech or politics regarding implementing the Paris agreement. We want them to be more responsible and implement the commitments they have made in several treaties. We call upon them to not avoid the duty of saving the world today and fulfill your commitment to ensure a livable world for the future generations.” said Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of TI Bangladesh in a human chain in front of the National Press Club at Dhaka on 27 September. Kids and Youth from `PLAN International Bangladesh’, `Apon Foundation Child Forum Bangladesh’, Friday for Future Bangladesh `Let’s Change the World’, accompanied by TI Bangladesh inspired youth volunteers from different educational institutions of Dhaka, people from different communities and TI Bangladesh staffs also joined the human chain.
Reminding the environmental risk associated with coal-based power plants, Dr. Zaman said, “When the whole world is trying to move away from coal fired power plants, the government of Bangladesh is including it largely as part of national strategies. Although there are other options, the country has fallen into the trap of coal-based trade interests. Considering the risks already posed for life and livelihoods of future generations, the government and investors should take initiative to get rid of coal-based power plants.” Describing such strategies as “suicidal”, Dr. Zaman urged the government to move away from them by dint of moral strength and called upon to shut down all coal-related projects by 2030, and gradually shift to renewable energy projects for the sake of saving the country. Although Bangladesh is considered as one of the least carbon emitter countries, however, if the development of coal-based electricity projects keeps up this pace, we will have to take the responsibility for climate change, added Dr. Zaman.
Acknowledging the exemplary initiative of the Government of Bangladesh in establishing Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund, Dr. Zaman emphasized on ensuring its effectiveness. “However, we are following with worry and concern that the finance and allocation in fund is decreasing contrary to the amount it received during the initial stage. Moreover, we urge the relevant authorities to ensure transparency and accountability of the ongoing projects under the fund. TI Bangladesh is ready to assist the government in strengthening transparency and accountability of these projects through citizen’s engagement” concluded Dr. Zaman.
Inspired by the indomitable enthusiasm and firm stance of Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old environmentalist and activist from Sweden in protest of insufficient initiatives towards the growing risk of climate change by the global political leaderships and policymakers since Climate Conference in 2018, kids and youth from schools and colleges of different countries also joined such protests. To amplify the protest worldwide, students form different schools and colleges of 120 countries around the world organized worldwide protests, rallies, mass protests during the UN emergency climate conference this year which is called as the Global Climate Strike.