Politicians and business leaders will not save the world, citizens will be concerned
June 5 is World Environment Day, and on this occasion, as usual, a number of special discussions and events took place.
The theme for 2022, set by Sweden, which this year is the official host of the event on behalf of the UN Environment Program, is Only One Earth, with a focus on “sustainable living in harmony with nature”. Tens of thousands of individual activities are planned around the world to raise awareness of the environment and the critical state in which it is largely the result of human greed and mindless activities.
Over the years, World Environment Day has been recognized as a major event on a global scale and today there is a much greater awareness, especially among young people, of the critical importance of not only preserving but also restoring the Earth and its environment. . For the last four centuries, it has been looted in an unprecedented way and the level of damage is only increasing from year to year.
The world is increasingly feeling the effects of this damage in the form of extreme weather events, including heat waves, severe floods and droughts, which do not seem to spare any part of the planet. As people, especially young people, feel more and more of these effects and fear for their future, it is encouraging to see more of them, in large numbers, join the Crusades against global warming and climate change. And every year, the age of the youngest activists seems to be falling.
In 2018, when 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg dropped out of school in protest of environmental degradation, she was by far the youngest person to speak in public and take action to preserve the environment. It is now less surprising to see young, even pre-teen children, aged seven or eight, talking about this key issue.
The increasing involvement of the younger generation is certainly very welcome and indicates an increased awareness of this issue. However, young activists cannot do so only to speak out and lobby on behalf of the environment and their generation, as they have neither political nor economic power. This limits what they are capable of achieving, at least for the next decade or two.
For politicians and business leaders around the world, protecting the environment and reducing carbon emissions are simply PR exercises or even just another platform from which they can try to increase their power, either electorally or financially. Yes, it goes without saying that no company worth its salt, or any politician who cares about its future prospects, can no longer reject climate change or global warming as pranks, and so everyone speaks accordingly.
Most indicators state that 2030 is a border year, if not a year of interruption, to save the planet.
Ranvir S. Nayar
This was evident at the recently concluded annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where politicians and billionaires from around the world spent hours “discussing” the state of the environment and then issuing heaps of press releases and public statements promising more and urgent action.
However, what happens in Davos seems to stay in Davos. The same could be said for any other such environmental meeting, including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Statements and commitments are forgotten or ignored the moment those who coerced them leave the event and return to their usual routines.
Finally, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres began talking about the lies and untruths spread by business and political leaders about their commitment to climate issues; the facts on the ground contradict their statements and the data on the state of the environment are becoming more and more worrying with each subsequent report.
Take carbon emissions, for example. Prisons imposed worldwide in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a brief turmoil during which emissions have been reduced. There was a lot of talk at the time about how, in the post-pandemic period, when the world began to fall apart and normal life resumed, there would be a significant shift towards sustainable development and companies would invest heavily in greener and cleaner facilities. continue the progress that began at the time of imprisonment.
Yes, the reduction in carbon emissions caused by the blockade was an opportunity to really turn the world green – but neither politicians nor billionaire business leaders had the will or even the need to live up to their commitments.
It was therefore not surprising that emissions increased significantly in 2021 and, in fact, at their highest levels. Given the current global situation, including high crude oil prices and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, demand for coal has increased dramatically. this year and is expected to rise to even higher levels than last year.
Carbon emissions are not the only problem. With each individual count or parameter related to environmental protection, people have failed and their errors are increasing. The amount of solid waste generated worldwide, currently around 11.2 billion tonnes a year, according to UNEP, continues to increase every year as consumption grows relentlessly. The story is similar about plastic waste, water pollution, deforestation and everything else that negatively affects the environment.
Yes, the younger generation will become stronger in the next few decades and yes, they may then be able to change the direction or at least the pace of this unstoppable rush towards destruction. But most indicators state that 2030 is a milestone year, if not a year of interruption, to save the planet.
So if we wait for political and economic power to be passed on to the next generation, it may be too late. But if tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of concerned citizens of all ages come together and begin concerted and concerted efforts to name, embarrass and even boycott businesses and politicians playing with the environment, it could make a dent or slow the pace at which we are moving towards full destruction, and deserve some sort of delay for the world.
- Ranvir S. Nayar is the Editor-in-Chief of Media India Group.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by the writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News
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