Rameshwar Bhatt, an 18-year-old filmmaker represented the youth of Asia-Pacific at the United Nations Youth Climate Action Summit 2019 held in New York on 21st September. He was invited by the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) to deliver a speech at the Climate Slam event in Rose Garden, UN Headquarters.
The summit is a global platform for young innovators, entrepreneurs, and change-makers who are committed to combating climate change. Rameshwar addressed the gathering by making a point that “We need to create enough visual momentum to trigger behaviour change. In fact, films can trigger behaviour change. Don’t you agree that behaviour change is far better than climate change?” He participated in panel discussions and roundtables on Adapting Now for a Resilient Future and Young People at the Forefront of the Climate Movement.
The summit brought together governments, the private sector, civil society, local authorities and other international organisations to develop ambitious solutions in six areas: a global transition to renewable energy; sustainable and resilient infrastructures and cities; sustainable agriculture and management of forests and oceans; resilience and adaptation to climate impacts; and alignment of public and private finance with a net zero economy.
He said in an interview, “We the youth are the trustees of our planet. And this trusteeship is possible when leaders trust youth but more importantly when youth trust youth and get connected. As the most original ideas come from youth, because they are not assigned a job to make policies or produce ideas, they come up with ideas and solutions because it is a question of their future, of the planet that they are trustees of. When it comes to trusteeship - as Gandhiji said in 1917 in Ahmedabad- a trustee must use the bare minimum of daily survival and leave the rest of the wealth for common and future interests.”
Commenting on his experience at the UN Youth Climate Summit in New York, Rameshwar said, “When each of us act risks are reduced rapidly and at low cost.” He committed to enhance the voices of the youth from India, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and other Asian countries who are making day to day efforts to adapt to sea level rise, extreme heat events, delayed monsoon and rapid onset of drought.
Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretory General for Disaster Risk Reduction, welcomed Rameshwar and said that the youth are going to be the unstoppable force of saving our planet. Without the visuals matching the words, the agenda for reducing risk can not be delivered.
K. Nagraj Naidu, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, invited Rameshwar to his office. The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, launched by India at the UN, will be implemented by thousands of such youth.
I am doing and I want to continue capturing what is happening at the community level and give that a global platform. Also, bring what is happening at global level and turn that into visual media and make it accessible at community level. That exchange is very crucial.
Building capacity of youth is important. Building capabilities of Youth is important. It is equally important to build capacity to listen to youth, understand youth, and follow when youth lead. Inviting youth to UN is first step.The UN following the youth is the more important step. Let youth lead.
Let youth turn words into visuals, let youth turn numbers into visuals, let youth turn analysis into visuals. And what world will see is the green media: media of hope, media of truth, media of non violence between human kind and mother nature.
Rameshwar is a first year student doing his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree at Ahmedabad University. Rameshwar said, “ Philosophy as a way of living, Ahmedabad as a gateway, Environment and Climate Change, and Neighbourhood studies are the courses that helped me understand multi dimensionality of climate change uncertainties and plurality of transformative actions.”