I was one of those fortunate kids who spent much of my youth in the outdoors – sailing, exploring the bush , swimming with my mates. It’s what made my childhood so memorable. What worries me about climate change is that it’s impact could take these precious experiences away from our kids.
Unless we take action to address the causes of climate change now, that’s exactly what will happen – our grandchildren, and their children won’t have the pleasure of enjoying those things that I consider to be some of the best parts of my life in the same way that I did.
We’re already seeing the effects of climate change across the globe– widespread melting of glacial ice, rising air and sea temperatures, and increasing sea levels.
These changes have the potential to rob our youth in many countries of not just the pleasure of experiencing their natural environment, but also basic needs such as shelter, food and drinking water.
The good news is that we can do something before it becomes a problem our future generations have to face alone.
And I believe we should be looking to our children for inspiration, because while our youth are not responsible for escalating climate change, many of them are leading the way in showing us how to address it.
These days however, I find that its me who’s doing the learning. I’m increasingly inspired by the depth of knowledge of the issues we face, the innovative ideas offered and the actions our kids are taking to reduce their impact.
More and more often I find myself fielding in depth questions and suggestions about the causes and solutions to our environmental problems. It gives me great confidence that the future of our environment is in good hands.
The World Organization of the Scout Movement, connecting with 28 million Scouts in 160 countries, has joined up as Clean Up the World Ally. That’s a demonstration that youth worldwide are leading the way, showing their commitment to the environment.
Scouts who are part of their National Scout Organisations in countries including Algeria, Australia, Cote D’ivoire, France, Guyana, Japan, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Seychelles, Singapore, and Uganda are participating in Clean Up the World this year.
These youth, when they’re sitting around telling stories to their grandchildren, will be able to say that they played their part in helping combat climate change. But what about the adults of today? Will you be able to look back with confidence and say you did your best to protect the planet for our future generation?
I want the next generations of the Kiernan family – of all families – to be able to experience the things I was fortunate enough to enjoy when I was growing up. I don’t want our native wildlife to be something they only read about in books and I don’t want days spent playing outdoors to be a part of history. The potential future consequences of climate change are profound – I don’t want this to be our legacy for future generations.
Our children are tomorrow’s leaders, they’re the ones who’ll be setting the pace in the future and judging by what I’m seeing from them now, it looks like they’ll be making the environment a priority when their time comes. In the meantime, it’s up to the rest of us to make sure the planet we leave them is one on which they can live , not just exist.
Ian Kiernan AO