Hi, it’s Olivia from OMG here!
With the elections finally over and an obvious mountain to climb in our efforts to help save the environment for future generations, it has become clear that now more than ever, we all need to roll up our sleeves and start getting involved.
That is why as I sat down to write this article about climate change, I decided to reach out to one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject, Dr. R.K. Pachauri. Dr. Pachauri was after all involved with the creation of the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and chaired the panel for 13 years.
What is the IPCC, you ask? Well, the IPCC is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. The following link will give you more info: IPCC Factsheet: What is the IPCC?
So as you can see, Dr. Pachauri is well-versed on the issues and that is why I asked him to provide us with some facts and details.
“Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems
Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen
Since the beginning of the industrial era, oceanic uptake of CO2 has resulted in acidification of the ocean; the pH of ocean surface water has decreased by 0.1, corresponding to a 26% increase in acidity, measured as hydrogen ion concentration.
In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans. Impacts are due to observed climate change, irrespective of its cause, indicating the sensitivity of natural and human systems to changing climate.
Changes in many extreme weather and climate events have been observed since about 1950. Some of these changes have been linked to human influences, including a decrease in cold temperature extremes, an increase in warm temperature extremes, an increase in extreme high sea levels and an increase in the number of heavy precipitation events in a number of regions.
Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which, together with adaptation, can limit climate change risks.”
So, now that you have read a small portion of the report, you can see how serious it is for everyone (regardless of age) to get involved. Now as a 14-year-old in my first year of high school, my first reaction was to simply allow all the facts to overwhelm me and to sit back and let someone else try and figure out what to do. But as you can tell by the upcoming changes in our government, that might just take too long, so instead, we again relied on the amazing contacts we have and asked, “What can I do?”
Dr. Pachauri and his team recently launched The POP Movement. POP stands for “Protect Our Planet” and that is exactly what everyone at POP is ready to do. The POP Movement’s mission is simple:
Their Mission is ACTION
- Add young stakeholders in ongoing efforts to address issues of climate change
- Create awareness among youth through knowledge-driven approach
- Target global audience to make our young and future generations take forefront to realize their potential as a knowledge-based agent of change in the fields of energy, environment, other natural resources and sustainable development.
- Integrate sustainable-diurnal activities to reduce carbon footprint.
- Orient solutions and activities undertaken by the youth to international community.
- Nourish knowledge-centric approach among youth.
When I asked Dr. Pachauri why it was so important to him to launch The POP Movement now, this is what he had to say:
“The Paris agreement is based on commitments made by different governments, which collectively do not add up to what is required for the world to move on a pathway of lower emissions … There is, therefore, a need for a people’s movement which would make climate action part of the agenda of society at large …
Such a people’s movement has to be led by the youth of the world, because given their life expectancy they would be exposed to increasing damage to the Earth’s ecosystems and more serious impacts of climate change. That would impose growing risks and costs on their lives, and certainly diminish quality and security of their existence.
The POP Movement … is providing knowledge to youth on the nature and causes of the problem and solutions to deal with the challenge of climate change. Knowledge on the subject will enable youth to devise and implement solutions in their schools, colleges, universities, communities, and homes. This would also persuade adults to follow these actions, and we would therefore be able to bring about the essential and radical departure from “Business as Usual.” Government, business and civil society will then follow. The POP Movement relies on action implemented by “Youth Inspired By Knowledge”.
I love the idea of “Youth Inspired By Knowledge.” After all, is it not true that we only care about what we know about? I know that I want to know as much as I can about the issue so I too can start contributing to the solution.
Finally, here is a short video about one thing each and every one of us can do today to start being the solution to climate change and it is easier than you think:
I know this article is rather lengthy and that the message may at first seem overwhelming but, I assure you, each one of us has the power to be part of the solution. I encourage everyone reading this article learn as much as they can on the issue and to reach out to the folks at POP and offer your support by getting involved. If you don’t know where to start, send them an email and they will gladly give you some suggestions. If you are a student like I am, try reaching out to your science teacher of someone in the community already working in this area for advice—they are usually very eager to work with anyone who shows an interest and is sincere about wanting to make a difference.
Thanks for reading and please stay tuned next month where I will be presenting my “Holiday To-Do List“
Olivia Ries is our National Geographic Society Youth Empowerment writer. Together with her brother, Carter, she hopes to inspire others to realize that “Anybody can make a difference… if they can, you can too.” Make sure to check out their TEDxYouth presentation along with their website at OneMoreGeneration.org and also ‘LIKE’ their FaceBook page as well😉