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Reported Muhammad Shahzad Yousaf (intern) Translated by Liu Chang
C
limate change is one of the most critical
challenges that Earth is facing today.
Recent events all around the world have
demonstrated it quite horrifically that climate
change, if not dealt properly, can cause human
race great losses and would leave our societies in
ruin if it is not a complete extinction on the Earth.
Floods in Pakistan, Droughts in China and India,
Hurricanes in United States of America, Tsunamis
in Southeast Asian countries, earthquakes in China
and other parts of the world, famines and changing
climate in many African countries, torrential rains
land losses in coastal areas of several countries
and number of other such events depict that this
changing climate has multi-faceted impacts and
correspondingly it requires to be dealt with a
sense of urgency and at different levels. Otherwise
the overall eco-system of this planet is going to
change drastically which may result in human
extinction from the face of Earth and as some
scholar has described this threat to our existence
as “this planet has seen many extinctions and
outlived them so it’d outlive next one also but
maybe it will be us, the humans, who would not
be there to see what it would be like afterwards”.
Youth Activism and Climate Change:
Youth as Change Agent in Changing Climate
青年赋权与气候变化:
青年是应对气候变化的推动者
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今天,气候变化是地球面临的
最关键的挑战之一。气候变化是一场
极其可怕的灾难,会对人类造成巨大
的损失,如果气候变化没有得到合理
的应对,我们的社会就算不从地球上
绝迹,也至少会成为一堆废墟。近年
来世界各地发生的各种破坏性自然灾
害正说明了这一事实:巴基斯坦的
洪水、中国和印度的干旱、美国的飓
风、东南亚的海啸、中国和世界其他
地区的地震、非洲国家的饥荒、多个
国家沿海地区的陆地被暴雨侵蚀等
等。这些事件说明,气候变化的影响
是多面的,人们必须对此抱有紧迫
感,从各个方面应对气候变化。否
则,地球整体的生态系统将会被彻底
改变,人类也将从地球上消失。有些
学者这样描述我们所面临的威胁:“这
颗星球已经见证了许多物种的灭绝,
它存在的时间已经超过了这些灭绝的
物种,并且还将继续超过下一个将要
灭绝的物种,而这个物种可能就是我
们人类,到那时,我们也许没有机会
看到再下一个会是谁。”
This is merely a glimpse of the
whole picture and impacts climate
change can cause t o our pl anet .
Efforts are being made to fight climate
challenge at global, regional, and
national levels all around the globe and
even at provincial and district levels
inside borders. Although these efforts
differ in their capacity and range but an
optimist would argue that something or
other is being done to adapt and mitigate
to climate change at almost all levels
but all these efforts collectively are
not yet sufficient enough to the extent
which would save us from the avoidable
climate impacts. United Nation’s
expert bodies on climate change keep
warning from time to time about lack of
determination and efforts by the global
community to fight climate change.
Climate change is a global problem but
can be fought within confnes of borders
at country level by all the nations of the
world and then build a collective effort
by the global community. Consensus
has been reached on climate change
and measures to adapt and mitigate to
climate change but collective actions
of the global community are not yet
sufficient enough while time is ticking
and situation is worsening. One reason
behind such inaction as experts say, is
that countries of the world don’t own
this issue as they own or act towards
other issues of national interest and thus
with lack of political will to act towards
solving this problem their action often
lack the required zeal to deal with the
issue.
以上所说的仅仅是冰山一角,
气候变化对地球的影响远不止于此。
现在,全球都在开展应对气候变化的
行动,有世界性的、区域性的还有国
家性的,有些国家甚至有省级的和区
级的。这些行动的力度和覆盖范围不
尽相同,乐观主义者会说,这些行动
已经是从各个层面采取的适应和减缓
气候变化的措施。但是,即便是这些
行动全部汇总,也还是不足以使我们
免遭气候变化的影响。联合国气候变
化的专家经常对国际社会发出警告,
指责其在应对气候变化上缺乏决心和
行动力。气候变化虽然是一个全球性
的问题,但却可以在国家层面得到解
决,世界各国可以在自己的疆域范围
内采取措施,然后再由国际社会将这
些措施进行整合汇总。在适应和减缓
气候变化方面,各国已经达成了共
识,但是国际社会所采取的具体措施
却远远不够,所以,随着时间一分一
秒的流逝,情况却变得越来越糟。有
专家指出,这些“不作为”背后的一
个原因是因为各国并没有将气候变化
的问题当作像其他关乎国家利益的问
题一样看待,从而缺乏解决问题的政
治意愿和热情。
Take Indi a and Paki st an, for
example, both the countries have been
involved in conflicts over Kashmir,
Siichin, Kargil, and other high altitude
areas covered with glacial ice. Initially
these conflicts started as more of
geopolitical disputes but since both the
countries are lacking water for their
agriculture and power generation and
with the changing climate the situation
has worsened so, these conflicts have
been fueled by changing climate and
armed forces from both the countries
keep trying to gain control over above
mentioned places to tap water from
t hese huge wat er resources from
Karakorum range but at the same time
there has been very few efforts to adapt
and mitigate climate change and the
biggest reason behind such inaction is
public unawareness and lack of demand
from common masses to fight against
climate change. These conflicts have
long destabilized the region and as a
result ecological balance of the natural
habitat is also disturbed. Apart from
these conflicts governments from both
the countries have been announcing
policies to deal with changing climate
but their actions have never matched
their words. Pakistan a couple of
years ago, cut down the allocated
budget amount to fght climate change
by al most hal f (t ot al amount for
environmental protection is already
0. 04% of whol e budget amount )
while it had issued a national policy
on climate change and had expressed
determination to fight against climate
change and thus its actions went into
another direction contrary to its own
national policies.
以印度和巴基斯坦为例,这两
个国家都卷入了克什米尔、卡吉尔以
及其他被冰川覆盖的高纬度地区冲突
中。从一开始,这些冲突的发生就远
非地缘性政治纠纷,而是由于这两个
国家没有充足的水源供农业和发电使
用,而随着气候变化的加剧,情况又
更加恶化。所以,气候变化让这些冲
突火上浇油,这两个国家武装部队都
想占领并控制以上这些地区,从而获
取喀喇昆仑区域庞大的水资源。然
而,他们在适应和减缓气候变化方面
采取的措施却是少之又少,这种“不
作为”的最大原因就是公共关注度的
缺乏,民众并没有应对气候变化的需
求。这些冲突造成该区域长期处于不
稳定的状态,当地的生态平衡也受到
了影响。除了制造这些冲突,这两个
国家的政府一直都有颁布应对气候变
化的政策,但是他们的承诺从来都没
有兑现。两年前,巴基斯坦将其应对
气候变化的国家预算削减了几乎一半
(环境保护方面的预算只有全部预算
的0.04%),但同时该国又颁布了一项
应对气候变化的国家政策,并表示了
其应对气候变化的决心。由此可见,
他的实际行动已经背离了国家政策。
Despite this gloomy picture of
global politics and lack of concrete
actions, there is a new hope in countries
like India and Pakistan. “Youth” which
is biggest chunk of the population
from both the countries and young
people being proportionally better
literate are vying to make a difference
in every walk of life including efforts
to save their nations in particular and
the world in general from impacts of
climate change. Pakistan has 35% of its
total population aged 15 or under and
47% of its total registered voters are
aged between 18-35 years while India
also has 35% of its whole population
aged 20 years or less. Many youth
lead philanthropic organizations have
sprung up in both the countries and
such philanthropic organizations are
trying to bring about public awareness
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of youth related issues and problems
along with creating awareness about
challenges faced by societies including
the challenge of climate change. As
UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon in
2007 expressed his belief in youth by
saying that these youth are leaders of
future and with amazing capability of
adapting to new technologies and using
them for benefit of humankind they
can be the drivers of change. Youth
has been a dominant deciding factor in
recent elections in India and Pakistan
during year 2014 and 2013 elections
respectively.
Yout h wi t h t hei r pul s at i ng
enthusiasm and vibrant activism have
started leading efforts to demand better
legislation and more tuned efforts to
solve issues including climate change.
While, in developed world like United
States youth is also providing with
innovative technologies and technology
based initiatives to slow down climate
change, youth in developing countries
like India and Pakistan are not also
behind those in developed world.
Adaptation to low carbon lifestyle is
easier for youth as they are not only
better literate but also because of
abilities to use technologies better they
have an extra advantage. Many youth
led activist organization have sprung up
both in India and Pakistan.
尽管国际政坛和缺乏实际行动的
国际社会呈现出这样一幅让人沮丧的
画面,但是在印度和巴基斯坦这样的
国家却出现了新的希望。在这两个国
家中,青年人所占的比例最高,他们
的受教育情况也更好,他们都希望在
各行各业有所建树,其中包括具体的
拯救自己的国家和总体上拯救世界。
巴基斯坦15岁及以下的人口占全国人
口的35%,该国47%的登记选民年龄
在18-35岁之间,而印度20岁及以下
的人口也有35%。许多由青年领导的
慈善组织如雨后春笋般出现在这两个
国家,这些慈善组织试图引起公众对
青年问题的关注,并且创造一些机会
让公众关注社会正面临的挑战,这其
中就包括气候变化的挑战。正如2007
年联合国秘书长潘基文所说,他对青
年抱有信心,并且认为青年是未来的
领导者,他们具备适应新科技的优秀
能力,并且能够利用这些科技造福人
类,青年会成为变革的推动者。在
2014年的印度大选和2013年的巴基斯
坦大选中,青年已经成为主导性的决
定因素。
凭借着涌动的热情和充满活力的
行动力,青年已经开始在优化立法和
用更加协调的方法解决诸如气候变化
等问题上发挥领导作用。像美国这种
发达国家的青年正在创造着许多创新
型技术和用于减缓气候变化的技术,
而像印度和巴基斯坦这样的发展中国
家的青年也不甘落后。对青年来说,
适应低碳生活没那么难,不仅因为他
们受到过良好的教育,还因为他们具
备一个额外的优势,这就是使用这些
技术的能力。因此,在印度和巴基斯
坦出现了许多由青年人领导的活动及
组织。
We contacted some of these youth
led organizations from both India and
Pakistan to know about their efforts
in detail about solving problems of
their communities and societies in
general and their efforts to create public
awareness about climate issue. Among
hundreds of such organizations we
talked to Progressive Vellore’s founder
Muhammad Sayeed Shokat. Sayeed,
who is researcher with Doha based
Qatar Foundation and runs his own
youth led initiative in small district
of Vellore, some 200 kilometers from
south Indian state of Tamil Nadu’s
capital Chennai, believes in change
through research and awareness. His
philanthropic initiative, Progressive
Vellore named after the district Vellore,
started merely a couple of year ago
and ai ms at mappi ng ai r qual i t y,
water levels, recording agricultural
development activities and keeping a
track of urbanization in Vellore in order
to bring in sustainable development
which is in harmony with the local
ecological settings of Vellore. Sayeed
believes in participatory research
and bringing change from grassroots
and from local governmental level.
Ci t i ng organi zat i on’s t heor y of
change and strategy of networking,
he says, “District-level change is
what we believe in. Adaptation and
transformation at a small community
level is less tough than transforming
the entire State or a nation. There are
several examples across the world;
vibrant, proactive, forward looking,
strong community participation has
transformed the community of living
and harmony. Developing a shared
vision is a key. Once the vision is
created, strategies and targets have
to be put in place and lobby with the
local authorities to implement timely
strategies.”
我们与这两个国家的这些组织
进行了接触,并详细了解他们是如何
解决社区和社会问题,以及如何引起
公众对气候变化的关注。在数百个这
样由青年领导的组织中,我们采访了
Progressive Vellore组织的创立者默
罕默德·赛义德·肖卡特,他认为研
究调查和关注度能够带来改变。赛义
德现在是多哈卡塔尔基金会的一名研
究员,他经营的这个位于韦洛尔市慈
善组织仅成立了两年,距印度南部
泰米尔纳德邦的首府清奈200公里,
Progressive Vellore这个组织的名字
也是根据韦洛尔(Vellore)这个城市
而命名。该组织旨在通过记录空气质
量、河水水位、农业发展活动以及跟
踪韦洛尔市的城市化进程让韦洛尔走
可持续发展的道路,与当地的生态环
境形成协调发展。赛义德相信参与研
究是有意义的,认为当地的民众和政
府能够带来改变。根据该组织关于变
化的理论和网络战略,赛义德说道:
“我们主张的是区级变化,虽然小型
社区层次上的适应和转型不如改变整
个国家般困难,但是世界上已经出现
了许多这样的案例:活跃、主动、有
远见的强大社区参与已经让社区的生
活和和谐情况发生了改变。这其中的
关键是要建立一致的观念,一旦形成
了这样的观念,必须制定相应的战略
和目标,并游说当局及时实施这些战
略。”
On t he ot he r ha nd Sa ye e d
complaints about the role media has
pl ayed t o bri ng about awareness
and also criticizes government for
over-politicizing the matter for the
sake of gaining certain leverages on
international platforms. Media brings
covers news on climate change in very
episodic way and often connects it to
certain events happening during that
time of coverage and there is no on-
going coverage of climate change
and other collective public issues in
media while 24/7 news media
broadcasts scandals and other
sensational news round the clock
so element of public awareness
i s mi ssi ng and medi a by no
means represents society. Young
activists now use new media tools
such as Twitter and Facebook to
produce ripples but in countries
like India and Pakistan where
internet penetration rate is very
low and internet is mostly used for
leisurely purposes, it is difficult
to bring about public awareness
through only new media even
though it is helping a lot recently.
But because of huge chunks of
population in both the countries
are illiterate and also don't have
access to internet so TV and radio
are the main source of information
in suburban and rural areas.
另一方面,赛义德对媒体
在引发关注度方面发挥的作用表
示不满,并且批评政府为了在国
际舞台获得某些影响力而将其过
度政治化。媒体对气候变化的报
道也只有只言片语,通常这些报
道还必须与当时发生的头条新闻
相联系。媒体的报道中,没有关
于气候变化方面的连续报道,也
没有其他综合性的公共问题的报
道,相反却时时刻刻充斥着丑闻
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和其他敏感新闻,这样便无法获得公
众关注的基础,媒体也就不再能代表
社会。现在,年轻的行动主义者利用
推特和脸书这样的新媒体发声,但在
印度和巴基斯坦这样的国家,互联网
的普及度非常低,人们利用互联网主
要是为了娱乐休闲,所以即便最近一
段时间新媒体在引发公共关注上帮助
很大,但要想完全依靠新媒体还是有
一定的困难。虽然这两个国家有很大
一部分人受到过良好的教育,但是他
们却又没法接触到互联网,所以在城
郊和农村地区,电视和广播成为他们
获取信息的主要途径。
Whi l e i nt e r na t i ona l yout h
led organizations like 350.org and
greenpeace are also working in India,
an India based Indian Youth Climate
Network (IYCN) has successfully
registered itself in youth activism
for climate change. IYCN operates
to groom young climate leaders and
has its presence in several colleges
and universities across India. IYCN
members work to generate consensus on
what role India should play in the global
debate of climate change, and how it
should address its domestic issues.
Shi r kat Gah, a ci vi l s oci et y
organi zat i on wor ki ng on gender
equality in 44 districts of Pakistan’s all
four provinces, is a unique initiative in
terms of raising awareness and fghting
climate change with gender perspective.
Organization has published several
research based reports and papers
on environment and globalization
assessing the impacts of environmental
changes on women in Pakistan. One of
the studies titled “Poisoned Lives: The
Effects of Cotton Pesticides” places
the problems of women cotton pickers
in the context of pesticide policies in
Pakistan. It reviews the devastating
ecological changes taking place due
to the so-called “Green Revolution”
a n d a l t e r n a t i v e s t o p e s t i c i d e
dependence, and includes a number of
recommendations for coping with the
environmental ecological, and gender
related problems emanating from use
of pesticides in cotton farming areas of
Pakistan.
与此同时,印度还有一些其他的
由青年领导的国际组织,比如350.org
和“绿色和平”组织。总部位于印度
的“印度青年气候网络(IYCN)”
已经成功注册成为致力于气候变化中
的青年运动的国际组织。该组织主要
培养气候变化方面的青年领导者,并
且已经在印度的一些高校中崭露头
角。IYCN旨在促成印度在全球气候变
化的争论中的角色共识以及解决国内
问题。
Shirkat Gah是一个关于性别平等
的民间组织,分布于巴基斯坦4个省份
的44个区,同时也是从性别这个角度
提升公众关注度和应对气候变化的独
特首创。该组织发表了一些关于环境
和全球化的研究报告,评估了环境变
化对巴基斯坦女性的影响。其中有一
篇名为“中毒的生活:棉花农药的影
响”的报告提出了在巴基斯坦农药政
策背景下女性采棉者所面临的问题。
文章评论了所谓的“绿色革命”引发
的生态巨变和为了避免作物产生农药
依赖性的农药替代品,提出了在巴基
斯坦棉花种植地区使用农药引发的性
别问题及应对生态环境的建议。
Rab Nawaz, a young leader and
head of Khudi.org’s Lahore chapter in
Pakistan, opines that youth in Pakistan
can change the course of history of the
country provided that shown the right
path. He describes how extremism
has been on rise in Pakistan due to
wrong policies and has adversely
affected youth. His organization Khudi
organizes events, seminars, platform,
and conferences on civic education,
constitutional literacy and extremism.
“The whole ecological setting of our
society is at stake because of conflicts
and extremism so we try to deconstruct
common di scourse on ext remi sm
through meeting, seminars conferences,
and trainings for youth”, Rab Nawz
mentions efforts his organization takes
to eradicate evil of extremism from
society.
Hu n d r e d s o f o t h e r s u c h
organizations like Progressive Vellore,
I ndi an Yout h Cl i mat e Net wor k,
Shirkat Gah, and Khudi are working
both in India and Pakistan on range
of i ssues encompassi ng yout h i n
particular and whole society in general.
Vi brant yout h i n t hese and ot her
such developing countries is key to
peace and sustainable development
which is ecologically safe and climate
friendly. What is required is improved
and inclusive efforts by such youth
led initiatives to bring youths from
society together and build awareness
and consensus on local, provincial,
and national levels on all issues and
problems including environment and
climate change which would pressurize
governments for favorable policies
and actions accordingly to deal with
all the issues. Youth is undoubtedly the
future of India and Pakistan and it can
easily make a difference with concerted
efforts to change destiny of both the
nations and also play its role in global
climate mitigation and adaptation
efforts.
巴基斯坦胡迪组织拉哈尔分会
会长拉布·拉瓦茨是一名青年领导,
他认为假如巴基斯坦的青年能够为国
家指出一条新路,那么他们就能改变
这个国家的历史轨迹。他向我们讲述
了在巴基斯坦因错误政策而导致的极
端主义是怎样愈演愈烈,怎样对青年
产生负面的影响。他领导的胡迪组织
主要从事有关国民教育、宪法规定的
文化水平和极端主义方面的事件、研
讨会和会议组织及平台搭建工作。
“由于冲突和极端主义的影响,我们
社会的整个生态系统岌岌可危,所以
我们想要通过组织会议、研讨会和培
训向青年解构分析关于极端主义的演
说。”拉瓦茨还提到了该组织在消灭
极端主义对社会造成的恶劣影响方面
所做出的努力。
在印度和巴基斯坦,还有数百个
类似于Progressive Vellore、印度青年
气候网络、Shirkat Gah和胡迪这样的
组织在两国同时运作,他们都研究具
体的青年问题和总体的社会问题。在
这样的发展中国家,活力四射的青年
是国家和平和可持续发展的关键,并
且这种可持续发展必须具备安全的生
态环境和怡人的气候。这一切都需要
青年领导的各种组织联合发力,让青
年人从社会各个角落聚集起来,并且
引发当地、省区和国家的关注,促成
他们在这些问题上的共识。这样便能
向政府施压,让政府针对这些问题制
定更好的政策,采取更好的行动。毫
无疑问,青年是印度和巴基斯坦的未
来,只要青年人能团结起来共同努力
就很容易有所作为,他们能够改变两
国的命运。与此同时,还能在适应和
缓解全球气候的行动中发挥作用。
UN Photo/Staton Winter