Youths urge governments to make progress on climate change [News]
By Sabrina Chua, Channel NewsAsia, 9 Dec 2011.
Durban, South Africa: Some 1,500 South African students gathered on a Durban beach to form a lion-head – a message to leaders at the climate change talks here, to show some courage for the climate.
They are hoping the leaders will be brave enough to make a breakthrough agreement for the future of the planet.
It’s a message shared by youth from as far away as Singapore.
Nanyang Technological University student Tan Jia Yi said: “It’s a very grown-up world to think about livelihood, economy and things like that but as youths, we’re very direct. We see that climate change, global warming is a fact and there are many extreme weather events.
“We hope that governments will have the political courage to commit. The message is getting stronger. There’s no reason for governments to fear or to slow down. In fact, it’s imperative that they speed up. As what I heard from some of the government leaders who gave talks, they’re leaving a legacy, so let it be something that we can look up to and be inspired by.”
National University of Singapore’s Students Against Violation of the Earth chairman Tan Wei Ru said: “I’ve heard a lot of them saying that they’re doing this for future generations. I really hope they mean what they say.
“We hope that this second commitment period will really go through. Even if it doesn’t, I hope that each government can actually commit themselves to do something in their own country, with their own people and encourage their own people to do something for the environment.”
The Singapore youths also shared their views with the country’s leaders attending the talks in Durban.
Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman for Inter-Ministerial Committee for Climate Change Mr Teo Chee Hean said: “I’m very delighted to see the young people here today engaging with young people from other parts of the world to exchange ideas on how they can play a part and take this forward for all of us.”
Minister for Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said: “It’s good to see young people interested, aware and thinking and exchanging ideas and also translating some of these ideas into projects on the ground, which we will support.
“Ultimately, for climate change to be solved, it requires not just governments, not just legislation, not just businesses changing practices, but every single one of us seeking not to be wasteful, to conserve energy, and to organise our lives in a sustainable way. It requires a whole mindset shift and a transformation of society.”
But such a transformation takes time which is something the COP 17 negotiators are quickly running out of.
The world is waiting and watching to see if they have the courage to heed the youth’s call and compromise on differing national interests to come up with an agreement.
Source: Channel NewsAsia
- ‘Give more coverage to climate change’ [News]
- DPM Teo Chee Hean launches public consultations as part of the development of National Climate Change Strategy 2012 (NCCS-2012) [Press Releases]
- S’pore optimistic climate change talks will yield good outcome [News]
- Singapore youths in Durban learn vital policy lessons [News]
- Climate deal just a ‘plan to make a plan’ [News]