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Agents of Change; Our Youth and World Leaders

Our last 3 blogs were about wetlands and their significant role in keeping our environment healthy and combating climate change. Our children and young adults are the next generation that will experience the devastating effects of global warming if action is not taken now.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, was held in Glasgow, UK over the last for 14 days (October 31 - November 13). Sir David Attenborough said it best in his address to the world leaders at the opening ceremony.

He stated “it comes down to a single number: the concentration of carbon in our atmosphere.” It is a passionate, compelling speech imploring those in powerful positions to act now by making global changes that will reduce our carbon emissions, keeping the earth’s temperature rise within the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit. .

Here is the link to Sir David Attenborough's address speech. It is well worth the listen.

Those in powerful positions have a responsibility to protect the Earth for future generations. Globally by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut drastically by 45% from 2010 levels. And to hit the 1.5 Celsius target, emissions will have to be net-zero by 2050. Net zero is a state where the amount of gases emitted is not greater than the amount removed from the atmosphere.

Countries around the world have much work to do to achieve these goals. We here at home can help combat climate change. Each of us are responsible as well to mitigate and reverse the effects of climate change.

Our youth are rallying to have their voices heard and are actively involved in discussing the problems and brainstorming the solutions. Global youth communities have formed.

They are spreading the word, creating platforms to be heard by those in power, becoming global citizens willing to stand up and make a difference. The young are holding the decision makers accountable for their actions. Here is a quote from Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. Greta attended the United Nations Climate Conference.

“The leaders are not doing nothing; they are actively creating loopholes and shaping frameworks to benefit themselves, and to continue profiting from this destructive system. This is an active choice by the leaders to continue the exploitation of nature and people and the destruction of presents and future living conditions to take place”, she said, calling the conference a “greenwashing event”.

Our young adults are demanding that they be included in climate discussions and negotiations in youth-led protests.

Many are educating themselves in environmental studies and research so they have a better understanding of the challenges. Some will take this new found knowledge into politics where their decisions can stop the loss of biodiversity and reverse the devastating effects of climate change.

Photo Credit: The Conversation

Their lifestyles already include reducing the size of their ecological footprint. Our young reduce, reuse and recycle and many are involved with animal and plant protection.

The youth of today are no longer tolerating the loss of biodiversity, the filling in of wetlands, deforestation of grandfather and grandmother trees, (that do a great job of absorbing carbon), the possible extinction of animals and plants, continued gas emissions and world leaders who make promises and do not follow through. Here is a link to just one website organized by young people.

Our young want to focus on carbon capture and reduction, conservation and sustainable energy solutions. Children and young adults will inherit this planet. Their ideas and actions will be invaluable to reverse the climate crisis. It's time to start listening to their suggestions and empowering them to take action so that they have a healthy planet to inherit.

This concludes our series on Wetlands and the significant role they play in climate change.

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