Last year in November, I met a boy named Sabbir in the slum near at the railway station, in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. At one point of the conversation with him, I got to know that they have taken refuge in this slum after losing everything in last year’s flood. When I talked with his mother. She said that they had been lost everything due to flood the last year. They can’t send their children to school because they have nothing left.
Hello world, I am Rishadul. I am speaking from a country in the world named Bangladesh, where UNICEF reports say about 19 million children like Sabbir are affected by climate change every year. Where about 73 million people lose their homes, their money, their dreams every year in floods and cyclones. Where people cannot drink clean water due to the rising of the sea water level. Yes, I’m talking from a heaven on Earth that is decorated with nature, where poverty is on one side and climate change is on the other.
Thinking of these Sabbirs while walking on the road, I decided that I have to act. I can’t be on silent mode. I didn’t know how could I, a 16-year-old youth can play an important role in this struggle to save the planet. I did not know that how could I have my voice heard by world leaders. I only knew that I had to convey this message to the people:
“We only have one planet. And it is facing destruction today. We have to come forward to save mother Earth.”
One day, I alone stood in the street inspired by Greta’s protests. People looked at me with great surprise. “How this little boy intends to save the planet and demand the world leaders to take immediate actions?”. Then, some of my friends and others also joined me. We created “Youth For Future Bangladesh”, which is trying to organise the youth and create youth leadership in the climate movement.
Our number is increasing day by day. I have joined several training sessions, learned how to continue our climate activism. Now, we try to visit every educational institution in the city to tell young people how important everyone’s participation is and inspire them to join our movement for climate justice.
In this fight, when we talk to people we get lots of love and inspiration. And also get a few people trying to criticise us. But no one can stop our struggle and dreaming for a better world. Our fight is constantly gaining momentum. Now we are preparing for global climate strikes, to make the voice even stronger. And huge numbers students expressed their interest to join us!
We don’t know when this fight will end, or when will we can stop the mass destruction and we can save the people who are losing everything because of our inaction. We know this fight is long term. We know this fight is for our survival. So until we can ensure climate justice, we will continue our fight. We will say with thousands of protesting voices in the world: tomorrow is too late. We demand climate action now!