Mon | May 25, 2020

Earth Today | Youths urged to see COVID-19, climate change link

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2020 | 12:16 AM
Jhannel Tomlinson (sitting sixth right)  seen among a group of other youth advocates at the global climate talks  held in Spain last year.
Jhannel Tomlinson (sitting sixth right) seen among a group of other youth advocates at the global climate talks held in Spain last year.

EVEN AS countries work frantically to save lives, given the emergence and rapid spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), already there are some important lessons for future efforts to address another pressing global challenge: climate change.

“I think the recent outbreak of COVID-19 brings to the fore some of the challenges currently being faced with climate change. It has highlighted that those with underlying challenges are most at risk, reiterating that those who are most vulnerable are affected first,” said climate youth advocate Jhannel Tomlinson.

“It has shown that individuals will often disregard the science and opt to believe what they think is right, relying on their own views and perceptions,” she added.

Those counted as being among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 are those with co-morbid conditions, including hypertension and diabetes, even as developing countries are hampered in their response by limited financial and other resources.

Up to April 7, there were some 1,279,722 confirmed COVID-19 infections and 72,614 deaths globally, according to the World Health Organisation Situation Report 78.

COLLECTIVE EFFORTS

Still, collective action among various stakeholders, public and private, have seen such countries mobilising needed resources to strengthen their health systems so as to optimise care for infected persons.

“COVID 19 has also shown the creativity and collective power of the youth, seen in the virtual events trending across the world in response to social distancing. My message to the youth is, therefore, to use the lessons learnt from the coronavirus [pandemic] as a precursor to understanding the long-term impacts climate change will have on our individual and collective health, as well as that of the environment,” Tomlinson said.

“I urge that we take advantage of more virtual conferences and online platforms to collaborate, learn and share from each other; use social media to our advantage; continue to raise awareness within our homes, schools, and communities; and, finally, continue to practise cleanliness, including recycling and preservation of our natural resources,” added the winner of this year’s Prime Minister Youth Award for Environmental Protection.

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