With the ongoing protests getting all the attention here in Nepal, it is hard to move the conversation towards climate change. Yet, despite the simmering political divisions, climate change can bring people together because governance and climate action are strictly interlinked. This is why we should reframe the issue of climate change as an opportunity for civic, political and economic renewal that together can bring social justice
If there is one overarching element where all segments of the population in the country can align to, that's science. Because of it, we have a clear understanding of the implications climate change is having on our lives.
Only a few days ago, the Guardian reported on a recent study that shows that air pollution, even at moderate levels, can have an adverse impact on the levels of fertility.
Science is always in motion, and it can be sometimes confusing, yet on climate change, there is now, finally, a unanimous consensus.
Larry Fink, CEO of the biggest assets manager, BlackRock, recently warned about the imperative of achieving a zero net economy.
With the ongoing protests getting all the attention here in Nepal, it is hard to move the conversation towards climate change.
Yet, despite the simmering political divisions, climate change can bring people together because governance and climate action are strictly interlinked.
This is why we should reframe the issue of climate change as an opportunity for civic, political and economic renewal that together can bring social justice.
Let's clarify now the basic: it is not about "fixing" climate change. This is a truly "existential" issue as we know that Nepal is one of the nations that are most prone to climate crises. We experience it every year with floods and other natural hazards, and we recently saw the devastating impact it can have when a Himalayan glacier bursts and breaks off. Instead it is all about fixing and upgrading our behaviour, perspective and logic.
When President Biden of the USA talks about re-setting the economy from a sustainable perspective, the so-called New Green Deal, he makes the case of creating 7 million new jobs.
Here is where we should imagine the almost endless opportunities that a holistic climate action strategy can unleash.
This is the most important buy-in for a country like Nepal: if we successfully overcome the challenge of a warmer planet, we can rethink our economy and the way our society works, including reconsidering and changing entrenched power dynamics.
Just few months ago, the Government of Nepal presented a new Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, as part of its obligations to the Paris Agreement.
It is a hugely ambitious document that reframes the national development perspectives for the decades to come: massive green transportation, maximisation of the renewable sources and much more.
The NDCs, the second presented so far by the government, is a very optimistic and hopeful blueprint for the country. Even if cynically speaking, it might be unrealistic, why not embrace it thoroughly even if that would require a shot in our level of boldness? Here is where good governance comes. Only an extremely effective government able to take the "bull by the horns" can implement these radical and yet positive proposals.
Where to start? The same level of political mobilisation now on the play in the streets should be ensured also to fight climate change and reclaim a different way of development. This might seem like cheap naïve talk but isn't.
We see how the youth can be positively stubborn, creative and determined at once. Their ongoing quest is not only against a perceived corrupt government but is a bolder quest for social justice, good governance and gender empowerment all together. This is exactly the way to go: the ability to converge apparently on separate issues in a common agenda.
The youth's ingenuity compounded with their inbuilt determination must be extended for the pursuit of social justice, an effort driven by a more sustainable, gender-balanced and inclusive economy.
We have to nourish the elements of anew consciousness, and in order to do it, we need awareness about everything in the existing status quo that should work differently and better.
Schools could be the harbinger for generational changes. In a few months from now, in May, UNESCO will organise the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development.
This is a great opportunity to recalibrate the way learning is imparted.
Schools have an incredible important role to play in educating and in providing students with a platform to think and devise new ideas at local levels.
From the classic school gardens, already a reality in so many rural areas throughout Nepal, to other forms of action like societal issues-based research, petitions to the local governments, proposals for improving local communities and more engagement with parents, schools can seed new forms of engagement and activism.
While the youngest students can absorb like sponges the implications of throwing a candy wrap in the streets or about unbalanced gender dynamics at home, elder students can think of bold solutions.
We have now the chance to lay the basis for a new and peaceful social movement focussed on sustainability, accountability and social justice.
Marshall Ganz, a renowned theoretical framer of organised movements for social change, shares in an essay in The Nation: "Organising people is not only about solving immediate problems. It is about doing this and, at the same time, developing the leadership, organisation and power to take on structural challenges in the long run.
It is not about fixing bugs in the system. It is about transforming the cultural, economic and political features of the system".
The urgency of dealing with climate change can herald a new space for action, combining new forms of activism and community engagement with different forms of economic production.
Galimberti is the co-founder of ENGAGE, an NGO partnering with youths living with disabilities