The UN climate change conference (COP24) began in Katowice, Poland on December 3rd where the 197 signatories of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will discuss the finalization of the Paris Agreement.
Globally, we have reached tipping points in terms of global warming and the effects of climate change are undeniable now. India is highly susceptible to the effects of climate change withextremities of temperature, rainfall and tropical cyclones effecting different parts of the county.The need of the hour is to reorient our goals and policies to the sustainable development goals. SDGs are crucial for our planet, not just for the current generation but for the future generations.
Sikkim being a mountainous state is especially sensitive to the repercussions of climate change, having wide-ranging effects on water resources, agriculture and food security, human health and the biodiversity. The natural environmental challenges of Sikkim have been further exacerbated by human developmental activities like population growth, deforestation, intensive agriculture, massive infrastructural development which have led to heavy monsoon rain, flash floods, landslides, soil erosion and other associated natural catastrophes.
To negate these, various actions have been taken, notable among which include ban on green felling of trees, promotion of climate resilience programmes, spring rejuvenation programmes, organic mission and green school mission. Sikkim is already a global pioneer and leader in taking its agriculture organic. It also has in place many laws and regulations that are aimed at making it an engine of sustainable development. Much of the SDGs are embedded in Sikkim’s proposed legislation on the Well Being of Generations and institutionalisation of the sustainable development goals which the state is pursuing actively.
Sikkim is currently carbon neutral but is moving towards carbon positive. It is the need of the hour that we work collectively and responsibly to take action against climate change. Sikkim being ecologically sensitive, the principles of conservation and sustainability are deeply engrained in the people making it easier to introduce change which is geared towards sustainability and we need to best extract the potential of this.
For this we require continued interaction between our vibrant civil society, the vigilant media and our enlightened leadership. Individually, we need to have sustainable choices in our everyday living.