BGreen: Youth, Environment, ActionTapos Kanti Das
‘It is too hot in the air! There is too much carbon in the atmosphere. Take action, take action! Get some satisfaction…,’ a hundred young individuals sang in chorus on Friday afternoon, dancing and throwing their hands in the air, not to press home any demand to any authority but to express their determination to do something effective for a green society in Bangladesh.
They are all students aged between 16 and 22, participating in a two-day BGreen Conference that began on Friday in the Campus A auditorium of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh in Dhaka.
Center for Sustainable Development hosted the conference calling Bangladeshi youth for action, aiming to connect dynamic Bangladeshi students with innovative professionals, programmes and methods in an organised platform on issues of climate change and the environment.
ULAB’s CSD director Belen Vallina Gonzalez welcomed the enthusiastic young participants to the conference on cold Friday morning. The organisers hope to increase youth mobilization around the issues of environment and climate change in Bangladesh and to create the potential for a big change, one that may positively impact the future of national and/or regional policy-making in environment related issues in the country.
The youths, divided in 12 groups, brainstormed throughout the day in four sessions on the first day and pointed out the important issues that should be addressed to make a green Bangladesh. The concerned expert panelists shared their experiences they gathered at home and abroad about disaster risk reduction and how to protect nature.
‘The ultimate goal of BGreen is to develop strategies for increasing awareness, participation, deliberation and action in the youth and to formulate ways in which there can be organised citizen action to address environmental challenges such as climate change in urban Bangladesh,’ Razwan Nabin, founder of Bangladesh Youth Movement for Climate Change told New Age.
Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative President Shehab Shamir addressed the conference in the session titled ‘Youth Environmental Action in the House! What have we done and what can we do together!’
The next session ‘Education, Environmental Action and Solution-Building: This is what change can look like!’ began with BGreen founder Fadia Hasan and British Council’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Climate Champion assistant secretary Md Hasan Abdullah Towhid as panelists. The young participants began to discuss in groups to bring out their ideas on how to sensitize the youths, especially the students to make a green society.
The participants put forward several creative solutions such as an animation book, online environmental campaign, poster and post card competition, environmental information club for schoolchildren, community recycling initiative, employing public media, climate friendly games, green weekend campaign and developing virtual environmental manual in order to create awareness and participation in green activities by the youths.
Sumaiya Kabir of Islamic Relief Bangladesh and PK Pasha of Winrock International, the panelists of the session titled ‘When Global meets Local: International Organisations, Disaster and Risk Management in Bangladeshi Schools’, shared their experiences and practices and activities in schools about disaster risk reduction and how to protect the nature.
After the lunch recess, Mahmud Farooque of Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, Arizona State University in USA took the lead to get the youths’ views on nuclear power in Bangladesh and to give youths a chance to express their opinions and develop recommendations for policymaking decisions.
Three experts in the field concerned, Dr Abdul Matin, professor Dr MA Quaiyum and Kazi Obaidul Awal answered the participants’ questions on nuclear issues.
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