On Tuesday, December 27, “Green Office Day” was observed at the BRAC Center in the city with the intention of lowering harmful carbon emissions and increasing awareness of environmental conservation. A “Climate Adda” was planned as part of this event with the focus on “Carbon Footprint Reduction.”
According to the event’s organizer, the Adda was intended to bring together in one discussion the two crucial concepts of “Moving Towards a Carbon-Neutral World” and “Youth Engagement” as a crucial first step in advancing BRAC’s overall goal, which is to increase awareness of lowering carbon footprints and to support BRAC’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral in the near future.
“Climate Adda” primarily entails animated discussions to identify and acknowledge the problems at hand, namely the growing carbon footprint contributing to more global warming; how realistic and difficult the solutions towards “Carbon-Neutrality” are; and aside from this, how the steps can be taken to make a difference – were also discussed in detail.
Chairman of parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP; Mr. Nahim Razzak MP; and Advocate Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Member, BRAC Governing Board and Executive Director, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) participated in the climate chat (Climate Adda). Dr. Md. Liakath Ali, Director of Climate Change Programme of BRAC and BRAC International moderated the discussion.
Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury said, “at this year’s COP conference, we talked about an important gap. That is, lack of trust, faith. If developed countries do not keep their words, then we will not be able to move forward in any way towards the future. There is even no definition of what we mean by climate finance. Developed countries claim that they gave us $80 billion last year. However, according to the data of neutral organisations, it is not even $20 million.”
Mr. Nahim Razzaq says, “The carbon footprint is something we can all play a part in controlling. Be it in our home or outside home through behavioural changes. Unfortunately, we have yet to influence behavioural change. Especially those who are young need to be included in this process. National consensus and guidelines are needed.” He suggested adding climate change as a chapter in textbooks and curricula.
Advocate Syeda Rizwana Hasan said, “We have a lot to do from individual to social to state levels. We can emphasise on the use of public transport over the use of private transport. Then the role of the government should be to improve the public transport system. Bicycle lanes should be introduced to encourage the use of bicycles. Young people should come forward with proper leadership. To be able to be more climate-friendly we need to reduce consumption at personal and state levels. Youths have to raise questions on the safety of food and air.”
To sum up the discussion, Dr. Md. Liakath Ali said “BRAC has been at the forefront of reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint. One of the major initiatives successfully taken up in recent times has been the ban on single-use plastic within the organisation. In addition, we also discontinue the unnecessary use of items made of plastic including communication materials, encouraging paperless communication, and other climate-friendly energy resources, in an endeavour to save our forests — and, our planet.”
Guest speakers debate the global viewpoint on climate change, the role of the current administration, and the role of BRAC during the conversation. It was discussed how to involve the next generation and how they might get more involved in the effort to create a future free of carbon.
Members of BRAC’s Popular Theatre, Social Empowerment and Legal Protection (SELP) Program concluded the debate with a performance of the song genre Gombhira, which has its roots in northwest Bangladesh. Participants in the workshop included BRAC officials, BRAC Youth Platform members, and former members of the Aamra Notun Network (ANN), which is a project of the BRAC Youth Platform.