Today is the Blog Action Day and this annual event aims to unite the world's bloggers where they write about a single topic in a single day to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion on the subject.
I have posted a round-up of some of the Rising Voices projects discussing climate change in their blogs.
This is my third year of participating in the Blog Action Day. You can read my posts from 2007 & 2008.
Now the question is why Blog Action Day is important. We all take part in our share of activism in our everyday lives. But they hardly make any impact on the society. Sometimes we also miss out on important issues. Blog Action Day is the opportunity to unite our voices to a common cause so that we can shake the inertia and tilt towards a change.
Every day you will find many govt. sponsored events or international conferences discussing on critical issues. But do they have the capacity to engage every common people? The advantage of citizen media is that it is free and accessible to many who wants to raise their voice. And what bloggers write do not obliterate, they remain in webspace searchable by search engines. So Blog Action Day gives people the opportunity to speak out their opinions and it is an wonderful initiative to have more local perspectives on important issues.
One may wonder whether the Blog action day will make any impact on the policy makers. Slowly people are becoming more aware of citizen media. What bloggers can do is to discuss about the ground realities of the different policies taken by governments or authorities. They should share their personal experiences, observations etc which can provide important feedbacks to the policy makers.
The bloggers are part of the local communities. With the promulgation of initiatives like Blog Action Day, non-bloggers from their communities will be interested to read what the bloggers are talking about and take part in the discussion via comments or in real life actions. Writing about issues like environment in blogs is only a catalyst to some offline actions that need too be taken.
Now coming to the point - this year's theme - climate change. Bangladesh is in the forefront of the impacts of climate change. If sea level rises, parts of Bangladesh will submerge and millions of people will be refugees.
In my opinion we cannot avoid the consequences of climate change. What we can do is to reduce the damages through careful planning, save lives via strategic migration. Less resourceful nations like Bangladesh cannot do all this alone. The world needs to act, lend a hand and plan the right course of actions.
Bangladesh has already sought 5 billion US dollars from the developed countries in compensation for damaging effects due to climate change caused by global warming. But only money won't suffice. I would like to quote Shehzaad Shams of Bangladesh Corporate Blog in explaining strategic migration here:
We do want free money...as compensation..or fresh funds..whatever you call it. However, I am sick and tired of getting free alms which almost always go down the drain (or personal pockets and fortunes). Let the deal be fair.....we will train our manpower to serve your foreign labor markets, we will take care of all legal and social coverage issues...in return we demand preference in overseas recruitment selection and eventual settlement in foreign territories, provided the incumbent meets criteria set and agreed by host and source countries. The idea is to convert potential climate refugees from burden to skilled workforce and help them get (either local) job assignments in countries which are held culprit for the climate change fiasco. In other words, if a time arises that 5,000 people are displaced due to rising tidal waves in Satkhira district, they need to be labelled formally as 'climate refugees' first. These people are free to move to higher lands or even to capital to seek for security of life and food. They need to be trained and made export ready to countries which are primarily responsible for global warming.
We can also learn from the experience from the millions of environmental refugees from Bangladesh who lose all their belongings in the recurring natural disasters and have the courage to start all over again. This courage will be the key to survive in all the future natural calamities that are going to happen because of climate change.