The Role of Youths in Preserving Forests in Combating Climate Change

7 Agustus 2017   17:00 Diperbarui: 7 Agustus 2017   17:18 150 1 1
The Role of Youths in Preserving Forests in Combating Climate Change
Dok.pribadi

The environmental degradation particularly climate change issue, is irrefutably a dreadful global issue as the civilization's economic and social development extremely depends on the sustainability of the environment. The consequence of climate change is massive especially to the sustainability of life on Earth. The rapid and uncertain change of climate will extremely affect the basic elements of life ranging from the jeopardy of agriculture -- which will impact to the shortage of food production, lack access to natural resources, dangers of natural disaster due to the extreme weather patterns to the threat of epidemic diseases worldwide.

The necessity for urgent actions in addressing climate change is indisputable especially if we are to live sustainably on Earth. In order to combat climate change, carbon emission to the atmosphere should be reduced.  Forest, in this matter is fundamental as it stores and absorbs carbon on our planet. Forests are one of the world's largest carbon basins that absorb approximately 38 billion tonnes of CO2 annually. However, deforestation specifically destruction of rainforests is a major contributor of climate change as forest degradation accounts for 30 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions each year. Thus, forest conservation and restoration are cornerstones to mitigating climate change.

Management and preservation of forest may not be carried out effectively only through government but requires effective engagement of civil society. Youths have vital role in mitigating and combatting climate change as they can take part as agents of forest preservation in their local communities. Youths constitute large part of the world's population and this means their initiatives and actions in forest preservations are substantial. Youths around the world have been engaging and taking initiatives working with both IGOs and NGOs in reforestation and forest preservation activities with local communities.

Youths also have the role in advocating for reforestations as well as communicating climate change to the local communities. The UNICEF and UNEP have launched projects that involve thousands of schools around the world in planting trees as a part of their "Billion Tree Campaign". In 2012, Congolese youths also contributed to REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) in Congo where the project dealt with the promotion of conservation and sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

In addition, youths are the future bearer of the consequences of the present's actions and policies regarding environment particularly forestry, therefore they need to be involved in the decision-making on forest management in order to plan for sustainable activities that are essential to their future livelihoods. As an example -- CliMates, one of international youth-led organizations and think-tank that aims to develop innovative solutions to climate change have been conducting researches and analyses on climate policies.

Given the eminent role and potential of youths in helping to combat climate change, it is crucial for youths to be given strong education on the importance of forest conservation and restoration. It is essential for government to start engaging to youth and involving them in forest stewardship and sustainable land management. Nowadays motivated youths all over the world are doing wonderful work on forest preservation to address climate change on the ground to push the government to do more. Youth actions should be fully supported and facilitated and education is the fundamental entry point to nurture future leaders. The future needs environmentally literate society -- one that cares about the importance of forests to the sustainability of the Earth and humankind.