The likely future impacts of the climate change that we are already experiencing are top news items around the globe. Next week the United Nations is hosting a Climate Action Summit in New York. This is part of an initiative to address five of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals that are aimed to convert ambition into action to reverse or mitigate threats faced by humanity, of which climate change is one.
The Summit was preceded yesterday by the UN’s holding a Youth Action Summit. At that event young activists were encouraged to present and discuss their proposed solutions for rapid and potent methods to reverse global warming. In support of this young people around the world demonstrated to express their concerns. After all, it is them, not the aging politicians and business leaders of today, who are likely to face the full brunt of climate change and all its ramifications.
The children of Seychelles have particular cause to express their concerns. Like children who inhabit low-lying islands elsewhere in the world, Seychellois children are threatened with losing flat coastal parts of their homeland to rising sea levels and storm surges. These are the areas where most of the population live and where most businesses are currently situated. And rising sea temperatures, likely to be accompanied by more powerful storms and rainfall, and current overfishing, could threaten their habitations and future food supplies. Low-lying coralline cays, which are increasingly being used to generate income as tourist destinations in Seychelles, could disappear completely under the waves.
Furthermore, it is the actions of developed parts of the world that are causing the climate change that threatens poorer countries, and people of the latter are justified in feeling aggrieved. But even in richer parts of the world, in which my family live, I have huge concerns for the futures of my own children and grandchildren. We really have little idea of the conditions they will be faced with in the decades to come, but they are unlikely to be as amenable as those that my own generation have experienced. I have to hope that they will be able to adapt to lives very different from those we live today.
Many of the children that took part in yesterday’s demonstrations, in Seychelles and elsewhere, are too young to cast a vote, but at least they are making their voices heard. With their current experiences of action, they will hopefully be incentivised to exert strong political pressure when they do attain voting age and force governments to make the difficult decisions required to reverse current climate trends.