What the COVID-19 response can teach us about fighting climate change.

If we want to win the fight against climate change, we need start treat it as same as we handle COVID19, says Saffran Mihnar.

Humanity is facing a public health crisis. Today, we have come together, leaving aside issues of ego and pride, to tackle COVID19. To date, it has infected 210,000 people around the world but it will be affecting many more, as cities and countries go into lockdown for days and weeks. Our health systems are tested, our first responders and our medical workers sacrifice their sleep and other essential necessities to serve and help people overcome the challenge we are facing. Firstly I want to remind people to wash their hands, maintain social distance and follow all the advice recommended by the World Health Organisation. Let us all stay strong together, show solidarity and care for everyone who is affected by the current crisis.

As seriously as we must take coronavirus we must not forget that climate change is happening too. We really need to treat the environmental crisis with the same seriousness as we are fighting the new coronavirus. If we don’t take strong action and raise our ambition towards tackling the global climate crisis we will face an even greater health crisis, in the near future. We will have to face unprecedented natural disasters, changing weather patterns and rising sea levels. As a result, cities and countries will be sinking, food production will be impacted and the cost to the human population will continue to rise. 

We can be the greatest superpower or developed country, but there is clear evidence that no matter how rich our economy is today, the humanitarian health crisis that we are going through will affect everyone. The climate crisis is having the same global impact. We are guided by the science and research in finding a vaccine for and fighting to contain COVID19 and clinical trials of investigational vaccines have been commenced in research laboratories. Let us also unite behind science and use available vaccines, known as nationally determined contributions to the Paris Agreement, in the fight against climate change. 

The IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land, concludes that the dryland population, vulnerable to water stress, drought intensity and habitat degradation, could reach 178 million people by 2050. To avert such a scenario, the report calls for “prompt action” on climate mitigation. It estimates that the costs of upfront investments in sustainable land management (SLM) practices and technologies could range from as little as 20 to 500 dollars per hectare.

In recent weeks, you may have seen there has been a drastic drop in carbon emissions due to lockdowns and strong travel restrictions enforced by governments and also that ecosystems around the world are recovering. The air quality has increased in highly industrial countries as the biggest polluters, airlines and factories lay dormant. Nature is healing itself from all our inhumane actions against the planet. The planet is demonstrating its capacity to recover, if we give it a break. The planet provides for our food, shelter and basic needs, if we continue to damage it we will reach an irreversible point, where we will not be able to go back to normal life.

But if we can win the race against this global health crisis, undoubtedly we can also win the race to tackle climate change. But we must learn the lessons it has to teach us. 

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Saffran Mihnar

Saffran Mihnar

Saffran Mihnar is youth climate activists, empowering young people in the field of climate change and sustainable development. He has contributed to the national and international youth platforms and communication at UNFCCC Sessions from since COP21 as well as several others international conferences such as, UN Youth Climate Summit, Drawdown Learn Conference, European Conference on Science Journalism, EuroScience Open Forums and High-level Meeting on “Climate and Sustainable Development for All” . Saffran Mihnar has also been awarded as the most outstanding Global Leader for the success, exemplary leadership and ability to motivate the team for remarkable results as towards the Global Youth Power Campaign launched by Restless Development. Saffran Mihnar currently serves as the director for development and communication for a youth-led organization named EarthLanka Youth Network.

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What the COVID-19 response can teach us about fighting climate change.

by Saffran Mihnar Reading time: 2 min
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