by Abigail Dawson
The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) is well underway in Egypt, with proceedings commencing this Friday. South Africa has been recognized and backed for its ambitious, albeit critiqued, climate transition plan. But, for many of us, it may seem like a far-reaching gathering where policies and programmatic responses to climate change are being discussed out of our reach.
Look more closely, and we may identify the proximity of its effects in the increasing reports of flooding, and the news feeds we see and read every day: documenting wildfires, deforestation and drought.
During a recent field visit, I sat with communities and young people who spoke about the increasing effects of climate change on their ability to grow food because of drought and changing rain patterns. This is devastatingly affecting food security, particularly seen in the malnourishment of young children.
Young people worldwide have mobilized to call everyone to action, signified by the first-ever Youth-Led Climate Forum at the Conference (COP27) this year.
A young activist who is a part of a recycling project I visited said:
Climate change is mostly affecting children because they are vulnerable, and it’s a shame that they face the implications of things that they did not participate in. Climate change is a wake-up call that if we do nothing about it, we will have no world to inherit.
For many of us, we have had the honour to enjoy the beauty and generosity of this Earth- we would want the same for children who are a part of our communities and those to come. But we can no longer wait- we must act to ensure young people have a world to inherit and enjoy.
John O’Donohue in a poem: In Praise of the Earth, calls us to action and reflection
Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
For our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.
Let us remember within us
The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of the wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.
That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.
~ John O’Donohue ~