Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Young People and Climate Change

If children ruled the world I'm sure it would be an interesting place. A bit of stereotypical speculation; most boys would be playing 'army' in parks, breaking stuff or simply hurling clumps of mud at each other. The girls would be dressing up with over-sized parental fashion accessories, playing 'hop scotch' or with small plastic horses. These marauding tribes of opposite sexes certainly wouldn't want to befriend each other; in fact they would barely interact. I expect that in this situation it would be difficult for any productive laws to be passed or policy to be created.

While this playground utopia will (likely) not come to pass, this doesn't mean that the ideas of young people should be ignored. When considering 'climate change' and 'environmental protection' the ideas of today's youth are particularly important – as the actions and efforts of us older folk today has a direct impact on the global youth. So, as politicians, activists and businesses try to address the issue of climate change, it is essential to keep in mind those who will live with the consequences, the future citizens of this world. 

It is undeniable that climate change will affect us for many years to come. Whether its impact can be reduced by improving carbon emissions or burning less fossil fuels, or whether its encroachment is a force that cannot be stopped but must simply be managed, climate change will be one of the most defining challenges for the next generation and many generations to come. Considering this, adults and policy makers must act now to encourage the participation of children into this debate, to raise their awareness and stoke the embers of their imaginations, as it will take a considerable and united effort by these future generations to handle the various climate change scenarios that they will face.  

Young people need to be included during the discourse about the future of our planet and its environment. We have a shared responsibility to ensure that climate change is effectively communicated to young people. Over the past ten years I have witnessed environmental issues appear with greater frequency and urgency in papers, journals, TV and films, and it’s gaining more prominence in educational curriculum's around the world, creating more positive activism and awareness. However there is still much to be done. 

Here at Odyssey 2050 we're reaching out to students and children across the world, from poor rural areas in Nicaragua to animated film festivals in Korea and schools in Africa, and it’s our view that children must continue to be brought into this debate and to be given a platform to voice their concerns about their future.   

Friday, 24 February 2012

Climate Refugees

Michael Nash and his documentary Climate Refugees: The Human Face of Climate Change examines how humans across the globe are being displaced by the effects of climate change. This documentary delves into the challenges that people face when they are forced from their homeland and forced to seek refuge, and it highlights challenges such as conflicts at border crossings or over natural resources along with intriguing commentary on humanities basic level of kindness and compassion when faced with danger. 

A person who is displaced from their region by encroaching climatic and ecological change, such as droughts, crop failure, desertification, rising sea levels, and other incidences of extreme weather such as freezing temperatures and extreme flooding, is described as a climate refugee. 

These events undoubtedly effect human lives, and with increasing climate disruption in the years to come, it could potentially create a mass climate migration like never seen before, with conflict over resources and at national barriers as people and seek more livable climates.   

Accordingly, 'climate change' is now considered a national security risk by the Pentagon. Research by the UN shows that there are currently more refugees displaced by environmental disasters than by war, at an incredible 25 million. t 25million. Cause for concern, as the UN predicts that this number will double within 5 years. 
The idea of a 'climate war' or 'resource war' is not far from the thoughts of policy makers and NGOs throughout the world. It seems that regardless of how powerful and immune we think our civilisation is - it is certainly not as powerful as the forces of our planet. The impact of climate change will soon be felt by some of the most vulnerable sections of the world, and we must start acting now to seek solutions. 

Monday, 20 February 2012

Odyssey 2050. These shots come from the film Odyssey 2050. 
Using cutting edge graphics, Odyssey 2050 aims to capture the imagination of millions of young minds across the world and to motivate and educate a generation towards greater environmental responsibility.  

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Earth Charter Odyssey 2050 Video Competition

The Earth Charter Initiative based at the University For Peace in Costa Rica is a diverse global network of people and organisations that participates in promoting and implementing the values and principles of the Earth Charter.

The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire in all people a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations. It is a product of a decade-long, worldwide, cross cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values.

Over the past 6 months Odyssey 2050 and the Earth Charter conducted a worldwide video competition in schools inviting them to send short videos with the theme ” How Can We Build a Better Future Together.”  We received excellent videos from all over the world, thanks and congratulations to everyone who took the time to produce and send us their material. Portions of all of the videos will be included in a special Odyssey 2050 documentary we are producing.  The overall winner of the competition was ” It Starts With One” created by grade 5 students in Arlington Virginia USA:

We received two particularly creative submissions from Belarus, the first was “I want My Life Back” by Oleg Shchutsky and the second one was  “We Are For Spring Without Shots” by Svetlana Yakubovskaya.  You can see all of the Earth Charter Odyssey 2050 videos here.

Odyssey 2050 has been busy these days producing the English audio version of the film and we are very pleased to have actor Douglas Williamson, who is also head of communications at the Earth Charter, assisting us with his fine voice work. Other great news on the English version of the film is that talented British actor Gabriel Facchini has signed on to the project as narrator. I was lucky to have met Gabriel last December at an FCO Emergency Training course I took in Mexico and we are very pleased to have him on the Odyssey 2050 team.  Many thanks to Alchemea Sound College in the UK for providing the studio time for Gabriel’s voice work.    . 

On the topic of short videos here is the link to a short video about our experience at COP 17. 2012 will be a busy year for Odyssey 2050 in the lead up to COP 18 in Qatar.

The original blog and further blogs can be read on the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office website Odyssey 2050 and Bruce Callow, Climate Blogger.