An increasing number of reports have identified the young adult population as a key driving force behind more environmentally and socially conscious businesses. But how can youths today take meaningful action against climate change? What are the barriers between knowing about climate change and doing something about it?
These were some of the questions that were addressed during the Distinguished Dialogue on Climate earlier this week on 11 July 2016. The session, organised by Global Compact Network Singapore, ECO Singapore and Young NTUC, sparked meaningful conversations surrounding the issues of climate action. Over 100 youths and young sustainability professionals gathered to share the evening with two distinguished speakers - Mr Michel Jarraud, Chair of UN-Water and Secretary-General Emeritus of the World Meteorological Organisation, and Mr Seth Schultz, Director at C40 Cities Climate Leadership.
Here are some key takeaways of the dialogue.
Scientific fact proves climate change is real and is important in addressing the risks facing our nations. Scientists have contributed huge amounts of effort on researching and analysing the climate, and concluded that climate change is indeed happening right now. In fact, most city mayors that have been surveyed by C40 have acknowledged feeling the effects of climate change. Science will continue to play a critical role by helping us define our climate action goals effectively (e.g. carbon emissions reduction, intended nationally determined contributions).
However, it is also important that science be translated into common understanding and action on the ground. While data is useful for scientists to set targets, this information should be made easy and relevant for politicians and the greater public to galvanize them into action.
Climate change is not attributed to any single element, and must be addressed as a result of many factors. For instance, dietary habits, consumerism and transportation have effects on the climate. They should not be taken individually. Instead, synergistic relationships should be explored to develop more effective solutions against climate change.
Last but not least, the young adults today should step up to take climate action. In particular, cities are at the nexus of climate change, and present most opportunities for climate action. Pay attention to politics for they affect how climate change is perceived and addressed across the globe. Do not feel paralysed in the face of the scale of climate change. We are all empowered to do something about it as individuals.
If you wish to join the cause for the environment and our society, please visit the Global Compact Network Singapore, ECO Singapore or Young NTUC for more opportunities.