The journey of a Climate Mover
Guest post by Sagar Koirala
My name is Sagar Koirala. I am a 23-year-old activist from Nepal, passionate about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change, sustainable food systems and youth. I come from the Eastern town of Itahari, where I have spent most of my life. I have been involved actively in climate advocacy for the last five years and have conducted various training, campaigns, and events to promote SDG 2: Zero Hunger, SDG 13: Climate Action and SDG 17: Partnership for Goals. This is my story.
Nepal is an agriculture-dependent country. Still, a large number of farmers live below the poverty line. On top of that, due to high incidence of diseases and pests, the increasing use of chemical fertilizers, and unsustainable food practices, the health of people, of crop ecosystems and of the soil is worsening day by day.
That is what inspired me to try to change the food system.
As an agriculture student and an advocate of sustainable food, I believe that we need to promote the consumption of healthy, plant-based, sustainable, naturally grown food as a lifestyle. To prevent food loss and waste, I believe greater efforts and campaigns are needed to ensure real impact on a global scale. To contribute to this, I am working to improve resilience and adaptive capacity, mostly in rural mountain areas of the country, and promoting climate-smart agriculture.
I want to pursue a career in the climate sector and fight for climate justice. I want to mobilize youth from around the globe to raise awareness about pollution, environmental destruction’ the over-exploitation of natural resources and the killing of wildlife. In the future, I would like to see myself in a position where I can contribute to climate and environment policies that bring about positive change. Climate smart agriculture and sustainable farming must be promoted on a wider scale. To get there, we need to stimulate the use of climate-smart technologies in Nepal. It is all part of my dream of a more sustainable, healthy, clean, and green planet for everyone.
My climate journey began when I was in school. As a member of the child club, I participated in campaigns for a clean environment and took part in tree planting activities. I became involved with online and offline climate strikes in different places across Nepal, such as Kathmandu, Pokhara and Itahari.
I became even more involved with climate activism when I started a bachelor's programme in Agriculture Science from the College of Natural Resources Management, Agriculture and Forestry University in Pokhara. The College is located in the countryside in the outskirts Pokhara, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Even though my time there was not always easy, there were only two buses per day and access to drinking water, the Internet and other basic facilities were limited, it made me into the person I am today.
Over time, I started getting involved in more and more volunteering, advocacy, agriculture and environmental activities. I became part of various national and international movements and campaigns focused on creating a better world. I conducted climate strikes and organized over ten environmental events, webinars, and campaigns to increase awareness among young people about environmental issues and to empower them to fight for climate justice.
Along the way, I got involved with various national and global platforms, such as Real Food Systems, YOUNGO, UNEP MGCY, UNFSS MGCY, YFEED Foundation, Global Goodwill Ambassadors, Global Peace Chain, Nepalese Youth For Climate Action, and Tunza Eco-Generation. Among other recognitions I have since received, I was hailed the Hidden Eco-Hero 2019 by UNEP and Samsung.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I also joined the Movers Programme, which is a regional movement of volunteers in Asia-Pacific who develop SDGs awareness, entrepreneurial mindset and 21st-century skills by conducting both offline and online training for other youth. As part of the programme, I both attended and facilitated workshops on topics, such as digital branding, employability, and climate action.
Through the Movers Programme, I gained in-depth knowledge about the SDGs and how to mobilize young people for the 2030 Agenda and developed my networking skills.
I got the opportunity to be part of the organizing committee of the Regional Dialogue on Youth Empowerment in Climate Action, which focused on the urgent need for collaborative actions of youth to prevent further climate change.
We are all part of this beautiful planet. We must be more considerate of other species living here. The available natural resources should not be exploited in such a way that future generations will curse us for our wrong deeds.
Climate change is real. If we do not act now, it will be too late. We, the youth need to demand to be involved and engaged in both the climate change as well as the SDGs sector, and pressure governments and other relevant stakeholders to draft and implement youth- and environment-friendly policies.
Young people are the now and the future of our nations and key agents of change. When young people are involved, anything is possible.