Role of Youth to fight climate change


Our planet’s climate is changing and this change is already having, and will continue to have, a lasting impact on our environment and our lives.
Human activities such as the use of fossil fuels, deforestation and unsustainable agriculture have been substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.All this will result in additional warming of the Earth’s surface and atmosphereand may adversely affect natural ecosystems and humankind. Climate change also decreases the availability of nutritious food and clean water.
This leads to malnutrition and migration, rendering youth particularly vulnerable.Throughout the year, meteorologists across the world work together to collect, analyse and share information including reliable and timely weather forecasts.The United Nations World Meteorological Day is observed on March 23 to improve our understanding of weather patterns and to better forecast the Earth’s weather and climate.
The day commemorates the entry into force, on that date in 1950, of the convention creating the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The main motive behind this day is to examine the state and behaviour of the Earth’s atmosphere and its interaction with climate, ocean and water resources.
This year’s theme “Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth” focuses on how today’s youth will benefit from the dramatic advances being made in science to improve our understanding of weather patterns and to better forecast the Earth’s weather and climate.Most youths will live into the second half of this century and experience the increasing impacts of climate change. About 2.2 billion people in the world are under the age of 18, representing nearly one-third of the population.
 It is estimated that 87 per cent of the world’s adolescents live in countries affected by poverty, hunger, disease and violence. Young women are often especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change.
 In many societies in times of drought, young women may have to walk much further and more frequently to collect safe water, leaving them vulnerable to disease and violent attack along their route, and with little time to go to school, generate income or take care of their families. Many youths are already experiencing the impacts of the changing global environment.
The WMO encourages youths to learn more about climate system and contribute to action on climate change. As they live and play in their communities, they often gain unique insights into the local environment, its strengths and weaknesses.Young people are also often creative and open-minded in their problem solving: they have initiative to take action to reduce the impact of climate change and prepare to face emergencies. They often play a key role in the survival of their families and communities in the event of disasters.
Despite all of this, children and young people have, to date, been relatively absent in the climate change policies and plans being developed by many countries.These policies and frameworks aim to support countries to reduce the risk posed by climate change. Youth-based organisations must be encouraged to work with local authorities and national governments to establish protective environments for children and young people.
A successful plan is one that is developed, implemented and owned by young people in partnership with other adults in the community.It is believed that by recognising the rights and capacities of youths, the challenges of climate change can be turned into opportunities for sustainable development.Climate change is a global problem and need global solution.
The role of youth is not only to work for sustainable development locally or nationally but also to work for developing such a network that will make the movement of sustainable development global.


City urban forests and Climate change


Forests are a very essential part of life on Earth. They always fulfil the demands of human beings by providing shadow, shelter, refreshment including clean air and water. In the present world of growing global population the demand of forest products is on the increase; so the forests are at big risks of degradation.
To raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, United Nations International Day of Forests is celebrated on March 21. The theme of the day this year is “Ecosystem Management”.
Cities across the world, due to the rapid growth of their populations and large-scale developmental investments, are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A major challenge for the cities is to maintain environmental sustainability. Sustainable forest management significantly contributes to mitigation of the harmful effects on the environment. In general, the term mitigation refers to all activities aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. Actions needed in the forest sector include expanding forests through afforestation, reducing deforestation and reversing the loss of forest cover, providing an enabling environment for investments and market access to sustainable forest-based products.
Forests cover 30 per cent of the Earth’s land surface providing a critical ecosystem. Forests help alleviate land degradation and desertification. Deforestation and desertification adversely affect agricultural productivity, health of humans and livestock and economic activities such as ecotourism. According to a UNEP report, 13 million hectares of the world’s forests are converted into other land uses every year. India has lost 367 sqkm of forest cover in the past two years as per the Forest Survey of India (FSI).
Forests have been a source of food, water, fibre and livelihoods. They are also central to combating climate change. Climate change is the greatest global threat as it can cause great damage to water and land resources, ecosystem, food security and health. Forest loss enhances the loss of the inhabitant animal species. Deforestation leads to the global warming. Desertification and the associated loss of vegetation cause biodiversity loss and contributes to climate change.
What is needed is an environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of forests for present and future generations. This contributes to food security, poverty alleviation, economic development and sustainable land use in the wider context of sustainable development. Forests and climate change are inherently linked. As greenhouse gases build up in the atmosphere, they trap heat. The increased heat leads to changes in climate patterns. Managing forests to help them retain and increase their carbon storage potential can maximise their ability to mitigate climate change.
A sustainable urban forest management is important to sustain the numerous values associated with urban trees. These values are threatened by the advent of climate change. The urban forest can be defined as the trees of the city. Urban forests differ from hinterland forests in several ways. Firstly, urban forests have a diverse structure. Urban trees can be found in stands, in a park, arranged in lines along streets or as single trees and be close to infrastructure or people. They can be remnants of native forests or be deliberately grown. The interactions between climate change and urban forests include three main elements –urban forest contributions, urban forest vulnerability and the impacts of climate change on urban forests.
Urban trees help regulate the urban microclimate, augmenting or minimising climatic change. This occurs either by reducing albedo and providing shade and cover or by regulating the hydrological regime of cities that affects the urban microclimate. Heat from the earth is trapped in the atmosphere due to high levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases that prohibit it from releasing the heat into space. This creates a phenomenon known as the “greenhouse effect.” Therefore, trees help remove CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and return oxygen back into the atmosphere as a by-product. Trees act as carbon sinks, alleviating the greenhouse effect. Trees also reduce the greenhouse effect by shading houses and office buildings. This reduces the need for air-conditioning by up to 30 per cent which in turn reduces the amount of fossil fuels burnt to produce electricity.
In the warmer months of the year, urban areas realise lower air temperatures when trees are strategically planted along streets and near buildings. Trees also help with energy costs in the winter by blocking cold winds thereby reducing the strain on heating units. These energy savings can reduce the demand for power production by utility plants, which also reduce the amount of air pollutants produced by the power plants.
City “climate action plans” often incorporate urban forestry into climate change mitigation and adaption strategies, recognising that healthy trees and forests can strengthen a community’s ability to withstand climate-related threats. An active urban forest management for climate change strengthens community resilience to climate change impacts.
Urban forests should be included in the city planning process and incorporated successfully into modern, high-density towns and cities.

Community safety for Women


Women are the indispensible part of the society. Many women have lived with the fear of being unsafe at certain times of the day and in certain places. For many women and girls around the world, just passing through a public space, a market, a crowded street or riding the bus, is cause for great anxiety. Women express greater fears for their safety in urban environments. This has a huge impact on women’s ability to engage in employment, adult education, civic and community participation, social and leisure activities.
To encourage advocacy for women’s advancement, the International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. For the year 2014, the theme of the day is “Inspiring Change.”  As per the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2013, India ranks 132 out of 187 countries on the Gender Inequality Index GII, which is a new index for measurement of gender disparity that was introduced in the 2010 Human Development Report. This is a composite measure which captures the loss of achievement, within a country, due to gender inequality, and uses three dimensions to do so — reproductive health, empowerment and labour market participation.
Since the past several centuries, Indian women were never given equal status and opportunities compared to their male counterparts. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), 34 per cent of women in Odisha experience physical violence. The impact of fear, whatever the cause, on women’s use of urban places has implications for the role that planning and design of the public realm can play in increasing the use of spaces by women and reducing levels of fear. In terms of housing and residential neighbourhoods, women are over-represented in public housing. They are more likely to be pedestrians and require access to public transport. Therefore, the design of neighbourhoods for safety in and around the home and from the home to transit stops and facilities is paramount.
Women’s experience of safety in urban areas is different to that of men. Urban settings and the way they are designed affect levels of fear which are higher among women and which vary by location, time of day, mode of transport and the level and nature of other uses. Women in particular, construct detailed mental maps of parts of the urban area which feel safe, and those that don’t and should be avoided. They should, therefore, be involved in the design and planning process. Planning and designing for women and girls means creating public spaces with features that enhance women’s safety and feelings of safety and detract from features that cause women’s insecurity and feelings of insecurity.
Thus, planning and designing safe public spaces for women and girls also means analysing the various uses of public spaces, who uses them, when, and for how long. This is because when certain groups, like women or girls, do not use a space, it is usually an indication that the space feels insecure to members of that group.
Planning and designing safe public spaces for women and girls is the process whereby urban planners, designers, architects, women, grassroots and other community actors collaborate to make the physical features of public spaces safe and welcoming for women. If public spaces are dark, abandoned, unclean, overgrown, or lacking certain elements like benches or emergency phones, they are potentially unsafe for everybody, but for women in particular. Therefore, there is an increased chance that women will not use spaces where they feel and experience violence. For designing safe public safe public spaces for women, architects and planners place special focus on lighting, landscaping, visibility, motorised traffic, pedestrian traffic, urban furniture, signage, security personnel, proximity to other public spaces, proximity to emergency service, and access to public transportation.
The best way to ensure that spaces are welcoming to women is to consult them. However, women may find it difficult to participate in public planning and design discussions for a variety of reasons. In order to be successful, planners and designers must pay attention to how people express themselves in, and interact with, public space.
Previously many women may not have questioned the social factors that have contributed to their fears. But now, women form organisations to work to change the relations between the genders and the social frameworks. There is a need to create cities that are inclusive and respect the right of all people, especially women, to live and work without fear.
Each person feels tied into society, and proud of it. UN-HABITAT and Safer Cities purport an approach to urban safety that links women initiatives and local government initiatives as a way of influencing public policy and addressing the causes of violence against women. Women’s safety is increasingly recognised as a key health, development and human rights issue. To make meaningful progress in efforts to promote women’s safety, effective programmatic and policy approaches must be identified. Urban administrative division can have a major impact on the safety of women by developing careful strategic approaches.