Speakers at a webinar on Sunday urged people not to wait for anyone, rather actively work from their own position for protection of the environment.
They were speaking at a webinar titled “Role of youths in ecosystem restoration”, organized by BRAC climate change programme, to mark World Environment Day.
Like every year, World Environment Day was observed in Bangladesh as elsewhere in the world on June 5. “Ecosystem restoration” is the theme of the annual day this year. An ecosystem is a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms as like biotic or abiotic factors work together to form a bubble of life. Say for example, Sunderbans is a place of rich ecology. Half of the global GDP is depended on the nature and already at least 3.2 billion people are affected because of lost ecosystem services.
As chief guest of the event, Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) said, “There are laws for environment or ecosystem protection in Bangladesh, but those are rarely followed. The country is incurring different losses only because of the interest of handful of people. The youths must bring every issues related to environmental destruction in their neighborhood into attention and notify the concerned authorities about the activities.”
Mirza Shawkat Ali, Director (Climate Change & International Convention), Department of Environment said, “Swedish youth Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg, an idol in the climate change movement, has already proved that youths can bring changes, if they want. Many like Greta Thunberg will emerge in Bangladesh if we support the youths in Bangladesh.”
Rakibul Hasan Mukul, Executive Director, of Arannyak, thinks that it will turn into losses than benefits if we destruct ecology in the name of economic development. On the other hand, it will not be logical if we only think about ecosystem protection, because we also have to think about the need of people who are depended on ecosystem. If we can unite everyone involved in the process, only then we can make success in ecological restoration.”
Students from different universities and young professionals from different development and research organisations experienced their views at the webinar. Young researcher Anusree Ghosh said ecosystem of Chalan Beel faced massive loss when the highway was constructed upon it. She demanded proper survey on environmental loss before taking any development project in future.
Presiding over the webinar, Dr Md Liakath Ali, director of the climate change programme at BRAC and BRAC International, and the urban development programme at BRAC, said benefits of protecting environment is larger than what we think.
“Half of the global GDP is depended on nature. An investment of $100,000 to ecosystem restoration can bring benefits of $30,000. Implementation of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including no poverty and zero hunger can make important contribution to ecosystem restoration,” he opined.
According to United Nations, ecosystem degradation impacts 3.2 billion people worldwide. Loss to economy will be $10 trillion by 2050 if loss to nature continues. The agricultural production will drop by 12% and food price will hike by 30% by 2040 if the ecosystem destruction continues.