There is no denying that climate change exists! The southern region of Bangladesh such as Barisal division is highly vulnerable to climate change due to its geographic location. Livelihoods of this coastal region are immensely affected by the increase of saline water. It is estimated that one-meter sea level rise can devastate the whole scenario of the coastal region of Bangladesh. It will not only damage the agriculture and livelihood but also create massive migration due to lack of food security and employment.
Youth Net for Climate Justice, formed in 2016 is a Barisal based organization working to ensure a better environment for Bangladesh by combatting the impacts of climate change. It is a youth network which is trying to bring positive environmental changes in the society with a slogan- ‘Indomitable youth ensure a safe and green world’. The organization is motivating enthusiastic youth groups of local communities to come up with better solutions to mitigate the climate change impact.
Youth Net for Climate Justice thinks that climate change is not one of the issues in the round table discussion of developed countries or their politics rather it is a serious concern at all stage of the world. Members of this organization take climate change mitigation as a critical challenge and try to ensure sustainable solutions of it.
Youth Net for Climate Justice has been implementing various actions and initiatives since 2016, to establish the fair rights of people affected by climate change in the southern regions. The organization has currently mobilized 1,500 volunteers in all the districts of Barisal Division. They are empowering the youth of the coastal and remote areas through various training programs to increase community awareness on climate change issues. Collaborating with the youth of grassroots, Youth Net for Climate Justice has created a ‘Youth Climate Declaration Letter’ in 2017 which was presented to the Honorable Deputy Speaker of the parliament and the members of the environment-related Parliamentary Standing Committee.
Besides, the organization is also working to ensure fair compensation for climate change victims. The chief coordinator of Youth Net for Climate Justice, Sakila Islam said, “Even though Bangladesh’s liability in terms of climate change is very nominal but every year, our country faces catastrophic disasters that ruin the lands and lives of coastal and remote areas.” She also said, “Climate change is not just an environment, economic or development problem, it is also a moral, cultural and political problem”.
In 2018 Sohanur Rahman (one of the founding members of Youth Net) took part in the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government as the representative of Youth Net. Youth Net was the only youth environment network from Bangladesh that joined the climate movement and participated in various programs when the 15-year-old Swedish girl Gretta Thünburg calls for the first climate movement against the risk of climate change.
Youth Net for Climate Justice has achieved many national and international awards for their work and in 2018 they received Joy Bangla Youth Award for their noteworthy contribution to the environmental sector of Bangladesh.