At the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg condemned world leaders by saying "The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line."
Such powerful words from such a young girl should shake us to our cores but we are not listening properly. We have yet to ensure our younger generations that their future will not be bleak, that they will not have to buy packets of pure water, or worse - pure air.
Like Greta, other young activists are looking forward to the attention of world leaders who seem to be failing to address the impacts of climate change. They want proper implication of the Paris Agreement.
The incident has shown us that although we keep condemning the 'Gen-z' for having a superficial view on life, they have showed us their actual strength by being involved in these protests.
Greta Thunberg has been running #FridaysForFuture for a year almost and it is only in 2019 that she has called for a global strike. She has received appreciation as well as criticism since she started but as she has very clearly stated, she did not get the right attention from the right people.
It is true that conversations that will properly address the climate change issue have not taken place yet, especially in countries such as ours where climate change will have colossal impacts.
Despite what others may say, climate change is and will keep on affecting every living thing on this planet. In March of this year, the world witnessed the highest rate of carbon dioxide- 415.26 parts per million (ppm) - in the air since 1950. According to researchers, the last time such an incident took place might have been 3 million years ago.
A 2018 report by World Bank revealed that South Asia's temperature has gradually increased over the last 50 years and by 2050, it might increase by 1 to 1.5 degree Celsius.
The Global Climate Risk Index 2018 showed that Honduras and Haiti were holding the first two positions as victims of climate change. Bangladesh stood sixth in the list.
Executive Director of COAST (Coastal Association for Social Transformation) Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said, "Bangladesh vowed to work on reducing carbon emission in the Paris Agreement although there was no such obligation for third world countries to do so."
He added, "For Bangladesh, a country which is greatly dependent on export for economic growth, it is hard to abide by our promise. We need our factories to be always running, our garments to go on manufacturing and we always need electricity and gas for that. The consequences are there right in front of us, deforestation is on the rise and carbon emission is much higher than before. To get out of this vicious trap, we must create pressure on our local leaders, which we are failing to do."
In Bangladesh, our young students are being taught about draughts, deforestation, flash flood, soil and river erosion, and other climate calamities that they are also witnessing all around them.
By the time they grow up, the Sundarbans will perhaps no longer remain the biggest mangrove forest in the world and the beach in Cox's Bazar may no longer remain the world's longest unbroken beach.
Experts have already predicted the possibility of Bangladesh becoming submerged from rising sea levels and we are already observing recurring floods, cyclones and erratic weather changes such as heavy rains or draughts.
Icebergs are melting, world temperature is rising, and ecosystems are losing their balance yet beyond holding conferences and setting climate budgets, policy makers have not set any prolific measures.
We are victims of our actions and it is time for redemption.