MOHAMED KHALEQUZZAMAN, Ph.D.
There is hardly anyone left in this world who doesn't take the climate change issue seriously. It is also a well documented fact that humans are the main contributors to this change. More precisely, a few developed nations contributed and are still contributing to the global warming by burning excessive fossil fuels. The impact of climate change, however, is not confined to the geographic locations where the problem actually originated in the first place. The global climate and environment are linked and everyone is feeling the pinch. The least developing countries (LDC) are in the forefront of the devastation caused by climate change. The LDCs did not contribute much to the climate change, yet they are bearing the brunt of the problem, because they do not have the resources necessary to face the adaptation measures that are required to minimize the impacts. In some cases, certain countries are facing the horror of being wiped off the map.
Maldives is such an island country in the Indian Ocean that will disappear should the sea level rises by a few meters. The big question that begs an answer is what will happen to that state? Will the entire population of that country be relocated to developed countries who are to blame for this devastation? Will the entire nation become environmental refugees?
Yet some other countries like Bangladesh will be severely impacted should the sea level rises by just one meter. Over 17 percent of that country will go under seawater and 15 million people will be displaced and will become environmental refugees. The magnitude of the impact of climate change is unfathomable for those countries. I wanted to share a personal story, involving climate change and the future of Bangladesh, with you.
Recently, I went to New York to attend a rally to protest against the impacts that climate change is having and will have on Bangladesh - my native country.
This rally was organized by Bangladesh Environment Network (of which I am an active member for over 10 years). In addition to the rally, a group of BEN members (about 10 of us) went to the United Nations office to handover a memorandum to the U.N. Secretary General. On behalf of BEN, I made a brief presentation to Mr. Tareq Banuri, Director of Sustainable Development Division of the U.N. and his aides. He promised to deliver the memorandum to the Secretary General (this is a standard procedure).
In the following links you will find a part of my presentation. The second link shows part of our rally in front of the U.N. The third link is a report on our rally. This report was published in a mainstream non-governmental organization (treehugger.com).
I am sharing this with you hoping that you will see an example of a classical story that is happening around the world, i.e. the representatives of developing countries are pressing the U.N. and governments of developed countries to do something about the climate change. As a developed nation, we in the U.S. are not doing our parts (especially the government) and the other countries are not liking it. I hope our government takes this issue of climate change seriously before it is too late to stop destabilization of the climate and the political climate of the world.
Mohamed Khalequzzaman, Ph.D., is a professor in Lock Haven University's Department of Geology & Physics.