Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) hosted the Global Youth Climate Summit, in partnership with the California-based Foundation for Climate Restoration, Resilient Markets and the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge. Held from March 11 to 12, it is a two-day online summit, with more than 500 young change makers, from six different continents.
On the first day, the event had three different sessions: Opening Plenary: No time to waste, Fireside Chat: Managing wellbeing of both ecosystems and human beings, and Plenary: Youth stand up to climate change. The sessions were hosted via Zoom, and were moderated by Sandra Kwak, Founder & CEO of 10Power, Ejaj Ahmed, Founder & President of BYLC and Rebecca Peters, DPhil Candidate at University of Oxford and Queen Elizabeth II Academic Fellow at Chatham House, respectively.
'Opening Plenary: No time to waste' was joined by Sir Christopher Ball, a renowned British linguist, Peter Fiekowsky, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Foundation for Climate Restoration, Ejaj Ahmed, and two young activists, Alexandria Villasenor, Co-founder of US Youth Climate Strike and Founder of Earth Uprising, and Rebeca Sabnam, a youth advocate for Cafeteria Culture. "Where we are right now, in terms of climate change, this is a crisis and has a few characteristics such as very little time to act, uncertain outcomes and very high stakes," said Ejaj.
Sir Christopher shared, "We have come together to launch the treads of the pledge where by the young people of the world we begin to make these critical choices and do what they can to save the planet; cleaner energy, a veganish diet, smaller families, together with leading the way without resorting to any sort of violence."
The second session, 'Fireside Chat: Managing wellbeing of both ecosystems and human beings', had Ejaj Ahmed and Sir David King, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry and Founder & Chair of Centre for Climate Repair at University of Cambridge. "We are now predicting that just thirty years from now the region of the world that will be hit the hardest is South-East Asia and the reason has two-folds one being the rising sea-level and the second being that this is the region which is hit by tsunami and hurricanes the most," said Sir David King.
The final session of the day, 'Plenary: Youth stand up to climate change' was joined by three young changemakers, Risalat Khan, Campaigner at Avaaz, Marissa Saenger, activist at Sunrise Movement, and Tsechu Dolma, Fulbright Hillary Clinton Public Policy Fellow, Udall Scholar, Wild Gift Fellow, and Echoing Green Fellow. "Young people can contribute collectively to the climate even by doing what they love, be it writing, singing, or making films as long they are sending the right message." Risalat and Tsechu shared their backstories behind coming into climate change activities. Risalat said "A farmer in a village of Bangladesh once shared with me how the yields have minimised over the years on account of climate change and he blamed his creator for it."
Through this summit, BYLC aims to launch a Global Youth Commitment, which is a pledge which shall be co-created by young people for young people to commit to the actions necessary to avert global climate catastrophe in both developed and developing countries. By the end of the summit, 12 youth climate champions will be competitively selected from the delegates; each of whom will receive a full scholarship to attend a leadership course and a USD 1,000 award for their climate restoration projects.