By Hamide Abdol Aziz
The COP26 Summit was held from 1 to 12 November in Glasgow, UK, which was attended by world leaders to discuss and finalise possible solutions to the issues of climate change.
The COP26 summit is known as the Conference of the Parties or the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, a global event on the environmental issue. This year, it is co-organised by Italy and the United Kingdom.
At the summit, former 44th US President Barack Obama’s speech had drawn serious attention from the audience on climate changes. He asserted that there are numerous lessons that we need to take seriously since the Paris’s COP 21 in 2015 with the signatures of 197 countries’ representatives. Some agreements have been done but there are still unfinished tasks, so he called on the youngsters “to participate in activism to push the world leaders into action on the environmental issues”.
On the other hand, the environmental issues have been raised for decades because the warmth of Earth is increasing due to numerous factors from various aspects. Particularly, human activity and Earth’s orbit are the two main factors that lead to environmental issues such as climate changes.
For decades, the planet has witnessed numerous consequences and impacts from global warming or climate changes such as natural disasters and the threat of extinction of many species of plants and animals on Earth.
Many discussions and so-called “environmental summits” have taken place in order to find a solution and agreement on reducing emissions or to build new possible ideas to help the planet recover from global warming, but more in words rather than actions. Many countries which signed the agreement have failed to control or work as promised to keep their countries from excessive emissions and other environmental issues. No wonder numerous protests took place for years to speak out for the planet despite the fact that demonstrators might be arrested or punished by “the authorities”.
The fact is that climate changes have taken place since the Industrial Revolution in the 1750s. This time, the planet witnessed great changes in human’s society with many innovations, inventions, and improvements. Besides, climate changes also came from population explosion.
Each progress has its cost, and an environmental change is the greatest consequence that individuals need to look at from this industrial revolution. Human beings need to learn a lesson from this to balance the quality of life and the “health” of Earth better.
In pursuit of “short-term profits”, humans have been fully exploiting natural resources as well as overusing technologies to expand land, build machines full of harmful emissions, and these “environmental business contracts” have had numerous consequences not only to human society but also the entire flora and fauna of the planet. The Greenhouse Effect (GHE) is the biggest result from human’s activities which released tonnes of emissions to the air every year.
The climate changes put the Earth’s lives into the dangerous level because it caused a direct impact on lives with numerous direful predicted consequences such as melting of ice, sea level rise, drought, the narrowing of the lands, extinction of many species of plants and animals, extreme weather phenomenon, and a threat to human quality of life and survival. More than that, ice melting could lead to the release of bacteria and viruses that have been frozen since ancient times which will risk the planet’s lives.
For years, humans have witnessed the occurrences of various natural disasters such as wildfires, tsunamis, forest-burning, earthquakes, floods, and drought in countries such as the USA, Australia, Brazil, Malaysia, China, Greece, India, Vietnam, and Turkey. Undeniably, the world will soon behold the coming of several extreme weather and extreme natural disasters in the coming future.
With the consequences from global environmental issues, it seems that the world has many common voices, but actions are nothing much. Many milestones for environmental reconstruction plans or emission reduction programmes have been discussed and approved very enthusiastically, but when it comes to practical application, there are still too many mistakes and pressures. For example, reducing emissions to reduce the burden on the greenhouse effect, many superpowers have not yet fulfilled their promises such as restricting vehicular traffic, encouraging the use of environmentally friendly materials, or not effectively managing the exploitation of natural resources or forest management.
Unable to rely on the decisions of the world’s leaders, many activists and environmental NGOs, as well as citizens and artists, have stood up to raise the voice of the Earth through many demonstrations and peaceful protests, through books and newspapers, works of art such as movies or songs. Some works can be mentioned such as Geostorm (2017), San Andreas (2015), and songs such as Earth (2019), or Different World (2018).
These are all the scenarios that can predict for humanity and the planet about the negative and terrible effects of climate change, if we still underestimate the phenomenon of weather change and only rely on UN and governments’ policies.
As an ordinary young person, I may not have great abilities such as leading people to carry out large-scale environmental campaigns or plans that affect the entire world, so I will choose to act in my own way. I will do whatever I can to reduce the excessive use of plastic products, or recycle waste products such as cartons for handmade things. In addition, I will use my own words and ideas about a “green and healthy world” through writing and transmitting messages as well as integrating the call for a change in the public’s perception of the climate change issue.
The period from 2020 to 2021 can be considered as one of the most challenging periods in human history due to many unexpected events such as pandemics and extreme natural disasters. Therefore, it is time for people to draw lessons from their actions that are harmful to the environment and take responsibility for their words to protect the planet. Do not act as just-talk-no-walk man.
Each of us among the-seven-billion-people needs to understand clearly that the protection of the environment is not the responsibility of a high-ranking individual, a high-ranking organisation, of the government, or of the United Nations, but must recognise it as a civic responsibility. Small actions such as reducing plastic waste, recycling, cleaning up waste in the sewers or roads near where we live, using transportation or bicycles, eating more vegetables, or turning off electrical appliances that are not needed during the day, are already a big step to make great contributions to environmental protection.
The history of mankind in particular, and the animals and plants on Earth in general, has long been a harsh journey. Every living being has always had to learn how to survive in any circumstances or in any harsh weather, and of course, we have the right to be proud of that. However, everything in this world has its limits. Therefore, I hope the community takes action to protect the Earth and promptly prevent more terrible incidents on weather changes in the future. The Apocalypse will come, but choose to live once and stand up to protect this green planet so that when we give up, it will be the glory-proud fall.
I believe that we humans have always been taught to give without thinking and to be grateful to those who have helped and sustained us. So, I hope that the entire generation in this era can do something to protect and show gratitude to the Creator’s creation. This refers to this green planet, and definitely we need to stop climate change from getting worse.
Together, we do the right thing to keep the Earth green for our sake, and for the sake of future generations.***
(This article is written as part of individual assignment series for Feature Writing class)