COP 28: It's time we pointed out the urgency of climate change to our children

Understanding the need to address the issue of climate crisis has to begin in the formative years

By Asha Iyer Kumar

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Published: Thu 7 Dec 2023, 6:47 PM

Dear Children,

Let’s look at something that the whole of the UAE is now talking about — the COP28 summit. For those in the dark, it is the United Nations Climate Change Conference where the world has come together to find solutions to the challenges of climate change.


It is a subject you may all have heard endlessly at school and on various other platforms. But hearing and knowing about it is different from absorbing the enormity of it and taking positive action. Let me put it succinctly to give you a reality check once again.

Earth is dying; it is sinking into a grave that we are mercilessly digging with our own hands. And we need to save it. The question is — “how?”


It is a question that people with influence are also asking and discussing in forums like COP28. While they are considering various macro-level options (to avert a catastrophe), we, the ones with limited influence, cannot sit quiet. From the reports that are trickling down to us, we know that things are going awfully wrong, but somehow the urgency to do something is missing in us. Do you know why? Because we genuinely don’t believe that the earth’s resources will get depleted soon or it will affect us directly. We really don’t think that our species will not have a home, or worse still, we imagine that Elon Musk will build a Noah’s Ark and get us all across to Mars safely.

It is almost like how we, as children, believe that our lives can forever hinge on our parents; that they will provide for us eternally, and their resources will never dry up. But at some point we realise that their income is not perennial and we cannot bank on them beyond a point. We need to get our act together and build our own lives on a foundation they have laid. It is foolhardy to think that like our parents, the Earth too will keep providing for us, no matter how harshly we abuse this abode.

Or maybe, we vaguely know it at the back of our minds, but we tend to ignore it only because we have privileged lives. Many of us live in advanced societies and we have all that we can ask for. We don’t face drought and famine; we don’t have power-cuts and water-shortage. Everything is hunky-dory, as of now. But beware, it won’t be so for long. Sooner enough, the crisis will come to our doorsteps if we don’t do the right acts.

And what might be the right acts? Making ‘save earth’ a creed, a commitment, without considering it a casual rhetoric. It is not a mere point of discussion. It is a serious question of our survival. Start small. Turn off lights. Use less water. Don’t dump plastics everywhere. Participate in community activities that support ‘save the planet’ initiatives. Do the little acts. Read up about the impact of our apathy and how it will put our lives in jeopardy.

In all my conversations with young people, the question they throw up is, “What is the use of me doing it alone? How can one person change the world?” There is no bigger mistake than thinking our single action will go in vain. In this big fight for survival every ‘one person’ counts, for an army is made of foot soldiers who are determined to win the battle. So step up and save our earth. Until the next, keep glowing. Keep growing.

wknd@khaleejtimes.com

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