Planet Earth for the Next Generations

The US Secretary of State John Kerry was holding his two-year old granddaughter in his arms, as he signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on Earth Day. It was on Friday, 22 April 2016.

And, to me, that scene on TV was  pleasantly uplifting and profoundly inspiring . 

It is stuck in my head, as it had effectively painted for all of us, a delightful picture, of a very deeply significant moment. 

And, I am sure, like me, many people around the world must have been thrilled and excited to see the symbolic impact of Kerry’s signing of the document. And his giving a short sweet kiss, immediately afterwards, on his granddaughter’s cheek.

The heart-warming scene reminded me of that poignant quote: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

Whoever said those words has clearly expressed the importance of sustainability in environment.

An importance that can only be reflected in a legacy that we must all adopt – A legacy of leaving earth for our future generations in such a way that they are never deprived of its bountiful goodness.

The fact that 197 children were present at the event, including this girl, to represent the countries which adopted this agreement, shows the importance of the event.

‘These young people are our future,’ said UN secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. ‘Today is a day for our children and grandchildren and all generations to come.’  

John Kerry, on behalf of USA and Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, on behalf of his country, were just two of the leaders, from 171 countries, who had all assembled at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan to sign this landmark agreement on Friday.

This ceremony comes four months after the hard-won deal in Paris, after years of tough bargaining. Which is why the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon aptly said: “This is a moment in history. Today you are signing a new covenant with the future.”

From Bahrain, His Majesty the King’s Personal Representative HH Shaikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa had signed the agreement, on Friday.

It is indeed a laudable step by this beautiful country of Bahrain. Commitment to be a partaker in the global effort to combat climate change is praise worthy.

As  I mentioned in this column (14 December 2015), soon after the Paris Climate Change Accord was signed,  Bahrain is mainly into oil refinery, and as its economy is relatively small, it may not be as severely affected by these soon-to-come changes, as the region’s other oil reliant economies would.

But knowing the inevitability of the arrival of alternate energy, many oil economies have been trying to diversify for a while now.

But whether they will be successful or not will depend on time.

It is nice to note, however, that rich countries have agreed to raise $100bn (£66bn) a year by 2020 to help poor countries transform their economies.

On Friday, what made this event special is the fact that this was the largest ever one-day signing of an international agreement.

It marks a first step towards binding countries to the promises they made to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And to sustainable development.

From what I understand, there seems to be a good deal of hope as the world leaders agree that together they are in this war against pollution and climate change.

And this war will win victory to all of us, our children, and our grandchildren.