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Linking Young Minds Together
 Volume 3 | Issue 14 | April 10, 2011 |


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Youth in Action

Championing a Global Cause

Rakibul Hasan

What do you know about climate change? How is it caused? There was a long pause and the responder ended up scratching his head.

The above conversation is from a film made by one of the young filmmakers, which was screened at the premiere of 'From the Himalaya to the Bay of Bengal', a series of ten short-films made by young filmmakers from Bangladesh and Nepal. Though the impacts of global climate change are becoming increasingly noticeable in many areas of Bangladesh, a large number of people have no clear idea about the causes behind climate change or how to deal with this global problem. With a view to raise awareness among youngsters and play an active role in addressing climate change, ten young filmmakers from Bangladesh and Nepal collectively made a series of ten short films entitled, 'From the Himalaya to the Bay of Bengal'. A collection of stories that raises crucial questions about things happening around us, it urges the next generation to wake up and work together to protect mankind. The films are the product of a one year project supported by the British Council and Wild Eye, in which renowned wildlife documentary filmmaker, Tanjilur Rahman worked with the ten young filmmakers to portray the significant climate change issues shaping our planet today. These ten filmmakers are also the winners in the British Council's International Climate Champion Competition. The premiere took place on March 28, 2011, at the British Council auditorium, Dhaka.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, Chair, All party parliamentary Group on Climate Change addressing the audience at the event, Courtesy : British Council

The young filmmakers at the premiere were students from different universities of Bangladesh and Nepal. Tshering Sherpa, from Kathmandu University, says, “The village I live in lies in Khumbu region which is situated 3670 metres above sea level and is very close to the Mount Everest. My film 'Living in Clouds' takes the audience to my beautiful community near the Imza Lake and tells the story of the hundreds of villagers who are living in constant threat of the glaciers melting in the Himalayas and overflowing into their homelands. I believe that with the help of visual media I would be able to inspire our policy makers and the people worldwide to take effective steps to mitigate global warming.”

Tshering Sherpa, a filmmaker from Nepal, shares his experience in film making, Courtesy : British Council.
A climate champion addressing the audience, Courtesy : British Council

Niraj Tamrakar, another young filmmaker from Nepal says, “Whenever the issue of fighting the adversities of climate change is brought up, people tend to think of tasks which can be quite difficult to perform. But by taking small steps like planting a tree or educating families, we can bring effective changes to deal with the global problem. Through my film 'Small things' I made an effort to capture the beauty of nature. The film reminds us that each responsible act by an individual can bring positive impacts on the future of global communities.” Being moved by the hospitality of the people of Dhaka, Niraj explains that the city is a great place to live in but complains of the large number of high-rise buildings which do not let people enjoy the blue skies sometimes.

Commenting on the artistic quality of the films made by the young climate champions, Junaed Ahmed Halim, Chairperson and Associate professor of the Department of Mass Communications and Journalism, Jagannath University says, “The ten films made by the young filmmakers can motivate people around the world to save nature. They have done a commendable job in terms of arts and aesthetics in their very first attempt of making a movie.”

The young filmmakers with the climate experts. Courtesy : British Council

Prior to the film-premiere, there was also a session where the audience got to engage with world class climate experts like Ian Burton, Emeritus Professor of the University of Toronto and Maarten Van Aalst, associate director and leading climate specialist at the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre. The climate experts addressed an auditorium packed with students from different educational institutions and responded to their queries. “I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the young participants. They raised some vital questions -- quite a learning experience!” says Professor Ian Burton.

The ten films made by the young climate champions may be short in length but they convey an urgent message to the global audience. The global climatic change is a common problem that concerns the entire humanity and it is high time that the youth from all over the world rise to the challenge and come up with innovative ideas to protect the future.

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