Youth for Change

Gone are the days when younger generation was least concerned to what was happening around. At the FCIK-IYCN event in SKICC, Shams Irfan found the youth more involved, busy devising innovative ways and means to reach out to the larger audience.
Only a few years back, what troubled climate scientists most was the indifference shown by the  younger generation towards the immediate perils of climate change. For them (the young generation) it was something that will never effect their lives directly. They had vouched themselves safe behind the false perceptions advocated by the climate change sceptics.  
But, thankfully things have changed now as youth from across the globe has joined hands to champion the cause of global warming and its impacts on our day-to-day lives.  
“Earlier, the biggest hindrance in mobilising the youth against the alarming threats of global warming and climate change was our inability to pass on the message in an easy to understand  format”, said Reva Prakash, a representative member of Indian Youth Climate Network’s (IYCN), New Delhi Chapter.      
“Now we have used an altogether different approach to communicate the immediate threats posed by the alarming climate changes across the globe”, she added.   
For creating awareness these young green activists (as they like to be called), use rather unconventional methods like singing, dancing,  musical plays, short films, friendly discussions to garner support for the cause.
Even the modes of communication or the message itself has gone through a transition. Unlike scientists and experts, these young campaigners are using the best available means of communication like social networking sites, blogs, forums, audio-visual presentations, short films, documentaries to deliver the message in a clear and coherent manner.  
“It is our effort to make younger generation understand the very basics of climate change through these interactive sessions”, said Chaitanya Kumar, representative Indian Youth Climate Network, Hyderabad chapter.  Elaborating his point he added “people often blame Science for all that is happening to our climate. But Science never intended to make human survival difficult, it is a myth created by those who deny the very concept of global warming”.  
With positive change-of-attitude in youth towards problems related to climate change and global warming, climate scientists finally have at least some reasons to smile.  
“It took tiresome campaigns from various non-profit-organizations and green activists to make young people understand the very basics of climate change and its effects”, said Kumar.     
Apart form IYCN and its Kashmir chapter, students from Kashmir University, Islamic University of Science and Technology and a twenty-five member team of Universal Peace Federation (UPF), comprising of students from China, Taiwan, Philippines and Thailand also participated in the festival.  
While interacting with the local students, David McLackland, educational director UPF India, said, “Students are the real leaders of change. We have to be accountable to ourselves in order to save our environment”.   
To make youngsters understand the importance of individual efforts and small level changes, a documentary titled Project Ryan, was screened at the festival by UPF.  
Project Ryan is about a six-year-old Canadian boy Ryan Heriljack, who almost single-handedly felicitated the drilling and installation of around 500 wells throughout Africa in the last decade. But Ryan’s story still inspires and touches millions of hearts world wide.  
Drawing conclusions from the documentary Mr McLackland said “Sincerity and unselfish efforts are needed to help people in distress rather than money”.   
To make things simple for young participants an interactive slide-show with Carbon as the protagonist was shown at the festival. “Carbon is at the centre of everything that we see around us, “It (Carbon) controls both our climate and economy” said Novic Macapogong, a Filipino student who has come to India for Asian Leadership Training, a UPF initiative to create young leaders who in future will converse for good governance and clean environment.     
When asked about her knowledge of Kashmir and climate related issues here, Novic pointed towards Dal Lake where a few snail-paced dredging machines were working half heartedly. “This is such a beautiful place, only if it should have been clean”, she sighed.    
Even though the local participation was low on day-one, those present were well aware of the issues pertaining to their immediate environment, however.  
“Lack of proper public transport system in the valley pushes people into buying private vehicles, and thus puts more pressure on the already fragile environment in the valley”, said Sana Mugloo, an MBA student from Kashmir University and an environment enthusiast, who actively participates in climate related events.   
“We (Kashmiris) have a long way to go in terms of creating awareness regarding climate change as people are not yet able to relate with issues concerning globally” she added.  
But, now Kashmiris like Sana and others are coming together for the sake of climate. The participation of Kashmiris in seminars, events, festivals, discussions has also increased considerably.
Hopefully the youth from the valley will also take inspiration and learn skills from their counterparts who have come to attend the conference from all over the world. Besides they can also share experiences and discuss strategies for similar environmental problems.

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