Taking the Greener Path
The Daily Star, in association with HSBC bank, held the “Junior Climate Champions”--a competition highlighting global warming and how to tackle it. Around 1500 students (of classes 6 to 10) from Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong divisions took part in the competition.
COMPETITION DETAILS AND FORMAT
The competition started off with a Divisional Round with 700 students participating from Dhaka, and 400 students participating from Chittagong and Sylhet each. The competition was divided into three categories: Painting/Poster Making, Extempore Speech and Quiz. Contestants were further divided into a junior section (students of classes 6-8) and a senior section (students of class 9 and 10). Contestants could choose either of or all three available categories for participation.
In Painting/Poster Making, participants had to create a poster or draw a picture depicting the effects of global warming and/or the probable solution(s) within 45 minutes. In Extempore Speech, contestants had to speak for five minutes about the causes, effects and solutions to global warming; in the Quiz section, participants had to correctly answer multiple-choice-questions in 45 minutes.
Thirty participants -- 10 from each category -- qualified from Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet divisions, totalling to 90 contestants for the Final Round which took place at the Daily Star Centre on 20th September. The award giving ceremony took place later that day at the Bangla Academy.
Final Round details
The event began at 10am with a pretty encouraging turnout, given that the previous two days were hartals. Over half of the 60 qualifiers from Sylhet and Chittagong turned up, totalling to around 70 participants for the final round.
They immediately got busy painting pictures depicting the various causes of global warming -- some of them even showing how carbon emission could be decreased. One painting that stood out, was one showing the earth and how different gases in the air such as sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide -- drawn as hands -- were tearing it apart.
The rest of the participants, not taking part in painting, started answering their MCQs regarding global warming, after which the participants that were taking part in the Extempore Speech section got on stage. Participants were given the choice of either giving their speeches in Bangla or in English. Some of the speeches in Bangla were particularly impressive. Those from a debating background excelled here.
Abdul Momen and Md. Faruque Ahmed Mollah, Assistant Professors at Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka were handed the task of judging the paintings and posters.
Dr. Md. Sirajul Islam, Chairman, Department of Civil engineering & Environmental Engineering, North South University; Dr Md. Jakariya, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, North South University; Dr Shafi Mohammad Tareq, Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, Jahangirnagar University; and Dr. Md. Sabbir Mostafa Khan, Professor, Department of Water Resource Engineering, BUET were the judges for the Extempore Speech section of the competition.
Later, the participants along with a group from BDCyclists would lead a rally through the Dhaka University campus en-route to the prize-giving ceremony at Bangla Academy.
Present there was Mahfuz Anam, Editor of The Daily Star, and Professor Ainun Nishat, Vice Chancellor of BRAC University as the chief guest. Khondkar Morshed Millat, Deputy General Manager of Green Banking & CSR Department, Bangladesh Bank; Dr. Ahsan Uddin Ahmed, Executive Director of Centre Global Change (CGC); and Ishtiaque Mahmud from BDCyclists were present as special guests.
All the guests including Mahfuz Anam talked about the importance of climate change awareness and how everyone should start taking necessary measures to ensure global warming can be abolished in the long-term.
Fatimah Tanjeem Sabiha (class 7) from Sylhet Khajanchibari International School won first prize in the Quiz section amongst the juniors, while Ashraful Islam (class 9) from New Model High School in Dhaka won first prize amongst the seniors.
Ipshita Maliat Rahman (class 7) from Scholars Home School won first prize in Extempore Speech amongst the juniors, while this year's Spelling Bee runner-up Sakib Aleem (class 10) from Academia won first prize amongst the seniors. He also won second prize in the Quiz section, being the only participant to win two prizes in the competition.
Maisha Maliha Siddique (class 7) from Engineering University School won first prize in Painting -- junior section, while Nabanita Ghose (class 9) from Viqarunnisa Noon School won first prize amongst the seniors.
How real is Global Warming?
The harshest reality perhaps is that global warming is upon us and it is potentially the worst environmental and humanitarian crisis of our time. Many people may dispute that it is too insignificant a change to really be bothered about or be spending billions on while some may even say that it will be doing more good than harm and the proposed methods of prevention will do the exact opposite, i.e. it's an “evil master plan” by the biggest corporations and political forces to make sure they keep on taking the average Joe's money.
Truth-be-told, there are some cold-hard facts that one cannot simply ignore or resort to calling it a “corporate conspiracy”. The biggest of them being the rising of the sea levels by around seven inches in the last century, after not having changed noticeably in the previous 2,000 years. Another important factor being the rise of the earth's mean surface temperature by about 0.8 °C in the last 100 years, with about two-thirds of the increase occurring since 1980.
On the other hand, it is also true that it has not been completely pinpointed as to what the exact causes of global warming are. However, scientists are more than 90 percent certain that it is mainly caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases -- deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels being the two main culprits.
Knowing about global warming is a must these days; less than half of the world's population is aware of it. Ways to decrease greenhouse gases, such as traveling using a bicycle or a hybrid car are also good starts. Recycling is another important chapter here.
At the end of it all, the “Junior Climate Champions” is a great initiative to create awareness among the young about global warming and to help prevent it down the line. According to Mahfuz Anam, after receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from the organisers and the participants, there are plans to make this competition even bigger, with higher participation, in the near future. Competitions such as this can only lead to a better future.