By Bear Grylls OBE, Chief Ambassador of World Scouting
“When it comes to climate change, one thing’s incredibly clear. We’re running out of time.
Change is accelerating. Twenty of the hottest years on record happened in the last 22 years. The Greenland Ice Sheet, the second largest mass of ice (after Antarctica) is melting seven times above its average. If the entire sheet were to melt, global sea levels would rise by seven metres and decimate every coastal town and city in the world.
COP 26, the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, is a pivotal moment in stopping this slide to catastrophe. I’m attending, not just as Chief Ambassador of World Scouting, but as a father, and as a citizen of our planet, who believes we must take a stand before it’s too late.
Deforestation continues unabated. We’re losing the equivalent of 30 football pitches of forest every minute, and within a century, our rainforests could vanish completely. These are the lungs of the Earth and home to 80% of the world’s land-based plants, animals and insects. Without our forests, our future as a species is untenable.
This is not alarmist talk. These are the facts that our scientists have been telling us for years. And for years, they’ve been ignored. There are many reasons for the current situation. I am not here to apportion blame instead I want to focus on helping the plant thrive again and be capable of supporting future generations of young people. The good news is that things are changing, but slowly. Denmark, the UK, Portugal, Costa Rica and others, are now making big changes and implementing more progressive policies. They’re showing that a sustainable future can also be a prosperous one, with new, profitable greener industries emerging. People want a better future and they’ll hold leaders to account if they’re not prepared to work towards it.
And of course one of the reasons that things are changing is our young people. They’re putting pressure on world leaders to face up to their responsibilities. Greta Thunberg has helped the world open its eyes to the dangers we’re facing. I salute her courage and her single-minded commitment to change. She’s inspired me, and millions of young people, including our Scouts around the world.
I’ve spent my life in the outdoors. I’ve seen the great forests of the Amazon; the mountains of Nepal. I’ve looked out at the world from the summit of Everest. I know how much we have to lose. These are precious reminders of our planet’s majesty and beauty. And yet, the power of incredible places is deceptive – we live on a fragile earth, and we’re slowly choking our home. It’s just a tragic thing to destroy the only home we have.
If we want a healthy world to pass onto our children and grandchildren, we cannot afford to ignore the facts. Put starkly, we are the last generation that can make a difference before it’s too late – before global warming slides out of control.
That’s why, we, as Scouts, are taking action. Our Promise to the Planet is an incredible, youth-led global campaign against climate change. It’s our moment to say enough is enough. We’re uniting 57 million Scouts around the world to use their voice in the fight for our planet’s future. Every one of us is making a promise to the planet, and we want world leaders to make theirs too. At present I am attending COP 26 with a delegation of Scouts. We are asking world leaders to take decisive action before it’s too late.
This is it. Our final moment to protect the planet and safeguard the future. We’ve made our promise as Scouts but we need world leaders to make theirs and for the sake of everyone and everything on Earth, we must not fail. United, we can leave the world better than we found it.”
How Scouts in SA are working to mitigate the effects of Climate Change
By Dr Brendon Hausberger, Chief Scout SCOUTS South Africa.
“In South Africa, children aged 5 to 17 have been learning about the impact of their own habits and how to rectify them for numerous years. The mitigation of Climate Change has been incorporated in all our youth programmes as part of personal development requirements and also as additional challenges under SCOUTS South Africa’s “SDG Challenge“, “Tide Turners Plastic Challenge”, “Better World for BP“, “Food for Life”, and “Messengers of Peace” actions.
Children and youth throughout South Africa are taking action and are cleaning up beaches and ports, cleaning up their communities and local parks, are recycling and are planting trees and shrubs to mitigate the harm being done as their #PromiseToThePlanet. Others are lobbying for change with bigger corporations or are leading by example within their communities.”
Read full statement here: https://www.scouts.org.za/2021/11/10/cop26-statement-chief-scout-brendon-hausberger/
For more information, or to speak to Dr Brendon Hausberger, please contact SCOUTS SA National PR Manager Natasha Kayle on firstname.lastname@example.org