Youth are critical stakeholders in decisions about climate action, adaptation, environmental protection, and sustainable development since they will bear the consequences of today’s actions or inactions. To address climate-related issues and adapt to the increasingly frequent and severe impacts of climate change, it is critical to ensure that youth voices are heard and that they are included in decision-making processes regarding climate change adaptation actions, as well as beneficiaries of national and global adaptation processes. Keeping that in mind, IID teamed up with Lal Sabuj Society and hosted a Climate Change and Covid-19 awareness campaign from 21 September to 15 October 2021.
250 volunteers from 25 districts across Bangladesh distributed reusable, environmentally friendly three-layered cloth masks in their communities to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Simultaneously, the volunteers have created awareness among the citizens about the environmental concerns associated with negligent mask disposal practices.
The inauguration of the event was held on 21 September 2021. Honourable Member of Parliament and member of the parliamentary standing committee on the ministry of environment, forest and climate change, Tanvir Shakil Joy, was the chief guest, while Dr. Atiq Rahman, Executive Director, BCAS was the Special Guest to the opening session. They pointed out that unprecedented increase in single-use plastics (SUPs) since the coronavirus pandemic, including gloves, protective medical suits, masks, hand sanitizer bottles, takeout plastics, food and polyethylene goods packaging, and medical test kits, may reverse the momentum of the years-long global campaign to reduce plastic waste pollution. Calling youths the trail-blazers of progress, they also acknowledged their amazing contributions in climate change action to build towards an eco-friendly and sustainable world.
As part of the awareness campaign, the volunteers have distributed 100 pieces of environmentally friendly three-layered cloth masks per district to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Simultaneously, the volunteers educated the citizens about the environmental concerns associated with negligent mask disposal practices. Moreover, the volunteers have collected more than 50,000 strewn about single-use masks in the trash.
They have also displayed 500 steel sticker printer signboards and painted more than 50 graffitis on different walls in 25 districts. The signboards and graffitis contained messages to motivate citizens to take vaccines and maintain proper hygiene. Additionally, the volunteers embarked on a community engagement by asking community members about their socio-economic situation, with a particular emphasis on the employment issues faced by youth during the pandemic.
The awareness campaign was an excellent opportunity to enhance the knowledge and capabilities of Bangladeshi youth to become more successful stakeholders in climate change action and to be able to convey their concerns on global climate crises to a larger audience, at a higher level.