The question is, why are we supposed to imagine WORLD LEADERS and CLIMATE CHANGE together. Let me get straight to this. So, as it turns out climate change is real and this issue is not going anywhere. Now, the thing is, climate change is supposed to happen in the future of this planet and it is something which is inevitable, just the way the earth faced ice age. But it is happening at a much rapid pace and scientists around the world can presume the condition of the planet in the upcoming decades, and this is concerning.

When ozone depletion was happening due to excessive use of CFCs, freons etc., scientists were able to convince the people that if we stop it’s use, we can actually heal the ozone layer. People acted accordingly, and voila, the ozone started healing. But this issue of climate change is quite complex and it does not have one specific cause which leads to a singular consequence. It is linked to how a network of activities end up deteriorating the overall planet health.

Around the world, various countries are electing leaders that promise to make their countries great again. Well, that’s a great news honestly. But some of those supreme leaders are doing so at the cost of planetary health. A country like the USA which has a carbon footprint more than any other nation, has Donald Trump as their President. The person who doesn’t believe in climate change and has his belief strong and concerning at the same time. Thus, he decided that his country would not be a part of the PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE ACCORD. An important institution which aims at mitigation of Green house gas emissions. That’s what he had to say about USA’s withdrawal-

"The Paris accord will undermine (the U.S.) economy," and "puts (the U.S.) at a permanent disadvantage.”

The Brazilian demographic found a new leader in Jair Bolsonaro. In order to make his country’s economy bigger and better, he ordered the mass deforestation of the Amazons once again. One-fifth of the oxygen we breathe comes from amazon. Not only that, it contains world’s 20% of world’s fresh water and 40% of the world’s biodiversity. Amazon is an ecosystem which the world needs. First the ranchers with their cattles cause the deforestation, then agriculture comes, and finally comes the industries which in turn brings settlements. As per UN FAO-2013, these activities account for 14% of the greenhouse gas emissions. Equal to all the transportation in the world!!

HOW DARE YOU?! Asks the young teen Swedish activist Greta Thunberg to the world leaders. Her understanding of climate change as THE major issue and her approach to fight for it is quite impressive and clever. She doesn’t ask to plant a million trees to combat this issue, as she understands that the solution to this concerning yet complicated problem is not a cakewalk. Instead, she calls out the world leaders to STOP LYING and to come up with better strategies to save this planet, our only home. As an activist she is ready to take extremes steps, like she DOES NOT FLY. She does so because air travel accounts for about 5% of man-made global warming in a year. Greta is ready to sail the Atlantic and more. She also wants people around the world to take individual measures to mitigate this issue. As after all, small things do make large differences.

So, why are the world leaders not acting on this issue when it remains so evident?

How can the world leaders strategize to make the planet health better and have a good economy at the same time?

Can they plan on to join these two issues?

How about promoting the establishment of industries that have sustainable development at their core?

Or making sustainable development as an industry?

And what about us taking those individual measures? What all can we do? Well flying isn’t something to be guilty of. But we need to decide how often should we fly and for shorter distances, we should ride trains. Even our food choices make an impact. Based on UN IPCC Report-2014, 25% of all climate change problems can be attributed to food and the choice we make. That is like twice as much global warming as cars!! Like a vegetarian meal releases 14g of CO2than non-vegetarian ones. Fish meat meal releases 40g of CO2 much better than a steak which releases 330g of CO2 -fit enough to drive a car for 3miles. There can be a lot of arenas where we can reduce our carbon footprint as an individual and later on as a population. It can be something really positive. But most importantly, we should keep on educating and spreading the word.

This issue of climate change has now become political. Protecting our planet is a continuous process and we need to stay vigilant as it is our only home.

Udit Gupta