UN wants Pakistan’s youth to help stop climate change

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations (UN) will be hosting Cop21 – a meeting of its members in Paris at the end of the year – where states will draft global agreements to reduce gas emissions. The UN wants to make the voices of Pakistani youth heard at the event, announced Vittorio Cammarota, director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), at an interactive event held on Thursday.

Titled ‘Youth Voices for Climate Change’, the event was part of celebrations held to mark the UN’s 70th anniversary. At the seminar, Mr Cammarota said the UNIC wanted to know what the Pakistani youth thought about climate change. He then asked them to write down their thoughts and said they will be compiled in the form of a booklet and presented at the seminar in Paris.

He said Pakistani youth could make a difference as they constituted about half of the population. “If all of you start making small changes in your lifestyle, you can actually contribute a lot towards making the climate better”.

Mr Cammarota said the youth of today will be in charge of the world tomorrow. “By making you aware, we are ensuring a safer planet tomorrow”.

Australian High Commissioner Margaret Adamson also spoke at the event. She said that when it came to climate change, Australia and Pakistan were very similar and that both countries faced some of the worst drought cycles. She said the governments of both countries had been working together to research into their water resource and agricultural problems.

She told students to take part in the process by participating in the drawing and essay activities, which will be showcased in Paris, “The booklet is going to tell a very important story. Think carefully about what you are going to write in it.”

Mashal School Founder Zeba Husain said climate change was rapidly becoming a human rights issue. “For most of us, climate change was just talk. It was something that only used to affect the poor people. Now it has started to affect the middle class as well in the form of floods and extreme heat waves like the one on Karachi recently,” she said.

Ms Husain suggested that school curricula should include courses on waste recycling and reduction of their carbon footprint.

She said, “Mashal school is not aiming to achieve huge goals. We are simply teaching our kids to adapt their lifestyle so they can do their part in preserving the climate.”

At a workshop hosted by UNICEF, a documentary was screened which simplified the science behind climate change for children. It showed why it is important to preserve all life. The documentary ended with the message, “Every living thing, however small, sustains the planet.”

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2015

You can find the link to the story here

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