The Pearl of the Indian Ocean. Granary of the Indian Ocean. These are terms that were used to describe Sri Lanka by ancient explorers and people who set eyes upon the beautiful island. A resourceful ocean, serene lakes and forests with beautiful flora and fauna. Healthy people living sustainably with abundant water and food.
Fossil fuel fumes and noxious gases emit from various outlets in the blistering hot heat. Torrential rains leading to landslides in the mountains. Desert-like droughts in the crop-growing areas. Rises in cancer with a grim reaper hanging around every person, waiting to claim the person's life and the lives of their descendants. Increase of mosquitoes and diseases. People driven to poverty due to either the lack of rains for crops or the crops being destroyed by unprecedented rains.
The past was so beautiful and glorious! Sadly the present is so terribly, agonizingly miserable.
The rise of environmental issues has led to much poverty and sorrow in my part of the world. Rising sea levels have caused sheer destruction, which has resulted in salt water coming inland and affecting the paddy fields and crops. Landslides have occurred more frequently due to increase in torrential rains and the blockage of food transportation. Cancer and ill health have been on the rise. These are just some of the issues we've faced as an island in the Indian Ocean.
Just like when bombs, chaos and death were so common in Sri Lanka during the civil war, environmental disasters have become so common here. Sadly, after a period of time, these various harbingers of death lose their novelty and we do not have the energy to herald them. Young people today wouldn't know that there used to be two seasons when it rained! They would never know that crops grew during those times naturally, and that we had plenty of organic food to eat.
The danger lies in going with the flow. Not paying attention to the changes. We cannot afford to not notice and take action. Why? Because that's where we lost earlier, where we gave in to the fossil fuels, gave in to the forest depletions in the name of development and gave up our humanity by cutting down the very trees that gave us the breath of life.
The stark future of climate change will be this. Our action now shapes our future.
We have all played our part in creating these environmental issues, be it by clearing out lands for development or by creating companies that pollute our water-ways resulting in chronic kidney diseases. By creating chemicals that poison us through our food and skins or by using fossil fuels carelessly leading to massive biohazards like Deepwater Horizon.
We forgot to pay attention to our environment! We forgot the very place we live in; the environment we utilize to support our existence. The repercussions of these actions will haunt us and generations yet to come.
Yes, for the past 20 years, there have been movements to change things. However, as always, people do not seem to realize their power. We have the power! Young people have toppled dictatorial governments and have changed nations for the better. This year we are stronger than ever!
The people of Holland are suing their own country for failing to keep up its carbon emission cuts, citing human rights. There are ways to take actions -- be it through a campaign to rally other young people, be it press coverage, or be it a massive movement for policy changes. We cannot lose hope now. Our future depends on us.
The deeper question is whether we are going to continue playing that part. Are we going to watch our future fade away into nothing but a dusty dead planet as witnessed in the movie Interstellar? Or, are we going to do the best we can to save ourselves and our future generations from a certain deadly future?
The choice has and will always be ours.
It is time to take action. Join the climate action movement to push for a climate deal in Paris this year. It is our future to shape.
This blog post is part of the 'It's Our Earth (Day)' blog series, curated by the editors of HuffPost Generation Change in recognition of Earth Day 2015. We've invited young environmental bloggers to share how climate issues are affecting their lives and futures, and why it's so important for youth to take climate action. To see all the other posts in the series, click here.