By Maria Imonitie
A lot of research has been conducted on climate change and environmental issues in recent times. Several activists and grassroots groups are striving towards higher standards when it comes to initiatives to save our planet. These groups have, to a large degree, been given a louder voice today than ever before. Nonetheless, there is more that needs to be done to stop the steady increase in global warming. In the following poem, I attempt to describe some of the frustrations and the inequalities that are evident in the discourse on climate change. These inequalities can not only be seen from West and North to East and South, but also between people- adults and children, politicians and regular citizens. I was born in Denmark, a European country with high development but still not a front-runner in the race of becoming a green nation. In the following poem when I refer to “you” I refer to those who are living in developing countries, therefore, on the other hand when I refer to “I” it is a reference to the citizens of the developed countries.
I recognise the impact of development on my side,
But I know that it is crucial for you to get by
Can we even judge the way that you try?
For ages we robbed you of your freedom and land,
So now you try to catch up the best you can
We found the industry killing the planet
And we all must bear the consequences, damn it!
We are ahead of you and want to dictate
But how can we expect you to relate?
You watch your people die, go crazy and flee
All you want is for your country,
To be a place where people want to be
We have heard the verdict and we must take action
But still, the richest men live in mansions
No thoughts about people or our planet
Because they have money and privilege, damn it!
When a young girl, all of 16-years old
Talks about her future, she is bold.
She is tougher than most politicians,
Because she is clear and make decisions.
To change her life, and save the future
Because we have the skills and features
So, we should listen and change our ways
Because we are developed and still have our bays
Why is it not top priority for developed countries?
Like when a high man wants food for his munchies?
They can make the change and grow
But somehow money still seems to be THE flow
This time it is not just them and us, you and me
This time it is everyone who it could possibly be!
The poem is born out of frustration of how some of the less developed countries are spending a lot of time trying to develop their countries and are being told to make use of more green energy not considering the financial implication of this suggestion. Some of the developed countries have made pledges to switch to greener energy sources and some have not prioritized them due to financial burdens, and they, the richer countries, even have the possibility of financing the transition compared to their developing-country counterparts. This can be challenging, yet some of the developing countries are utilizing green energy processes already. Unfortunately, some of these countries will also be the first to experience the impacts of global warming as land will gradually become impossible to live on.
Some other places in the West offer incentives to citizens who engage in greener buying behaviour. For example, in Denmark, when they launched Tesla for the first time, citizens could buy one of the Tesla electric cars without paying a registration fee (which comes when buying a car in Denmark), but shortly after, when the environmental-friendly car became popular, they swiftly re-introduced the registration fee to Tesla cars. In this case, it seems like money is more important than promoting greener options within transportation as well as in other areas.
I believe that to change this development trajectory that is increasing faster than the experts could have imagined, politicians need to act, make national campaigns about less meat in our everyday lives (meat production in agriculture is a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions) and less use of private transport (making public transport cheaper instead of rising the prices).
If we change our mindset and that of, our neighbours, and families, we will be able to change the mindset of a nation and global warming can be fought against nationally and globally, with solidarity. Thus, we must start with ourselves.
I am doing my masters in Global Studies at Roskilde University, Denmark. I have been on an exchange program to Hong Kong. I have done fieldwork in both Mozambique and Uganda.
I am a 24-year-old Danish citizen and married to a Nigerian man. I grew up in a typical family with a mother, father, sister and brother in a small city outside Copenhagen. I have always been interested in understanding the unfairness in the world. With my studies, I will hopefully be capable of stopping some of the injustices in the world.