Climate Change – Don’t leave the woman out

October 11th marks Ada Lovelace day, an international celebration day of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Ada Lovelace was born in 1815 and was a famous mathematician and computer programmer. In fact, she was known as the founder of computer programming as she could create an algorithm for mechanical computers at that time. This is something foreign in the 19th century as there were very few women who partook in such a field. She has become the symbol of many women to follow their dreams and have the determination to break the social norms of the society.

In conjunction with Ada Lovelace day, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus held a gender equality network and our MYD member, Lhavanya Dharmalingam was one of the speakers. Lhavanya took the stage to talk about how great minds such as Ada Lovelace, Da Vinci, and Rabindranath Tagore are individuals who had multiple interests and passions; developing and contributing  ideas that led to cultural, economic and social progress. Now that was the hurdle to progress in the past – breaking the social norm. However,  today there is another hurdle to overcome – the climate change. The threat it poses which she described as “looming over us right this moment like a big fire-breathing dragon.”

 

Climate change has caused so much destruction for the past few decades; the  increasing sea levels, severe drought, crop failures, coral deaths and the list goes on. All these have and will lead billions of people around the world to be trapped in serious social and economic problems. Lhavanya told the floor how MYD is helping to combat climate change by attending conferences in the Conference Of Youth (COP) held annually. The significant role of  MYD is  to act as a mediator between the government and the public . It is the MYD’s responsibility to translate all the climate policy jargons into the layman’s terms for the public to digest and be updated in the global and local climate movement.

She took the opportunity to enlighten the floor with Malaysia’s efforts as a leading nation in climate change during the Paris Agreement and the following COPs. She added how the Malaysian government has decent environmental initiatives and  good stance at COP conferences. She gave an example of how Malaysia has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 35% with an additional 10% on the condition of foreign aids by translating what Article 4, Section 3 of the Paris Agreement means for Malaysia. She emphasised the importance of a climate policy communicator coupled with the media that forms an integral role to play in the climate change policy progress. She added that the media is in a unique position to disseminate information to large audience.

In addition, she pointed out how  feminism movement is directly involved in this global issue.  The movement feels responsible to address the issue as the poor and vulnerable will be the most affected. In this group women make up most of the number. This is due to the fact that in developing regions most farmers are women. As a result, they will be the first to experience the effects of climate change. In addition, she reminded the audience that in rural economies, the job of gathering food and water often falls on the females’ shoulders. Being involved directly in getting food and water for the family,  women will definitely be the first to face the impact of climate change.

Besides that,  Lhavanya  mentioned an eco-feminist movement that focuses on climate change issues and other environmental problems led by Dr. Vandana Shiva, an activist from a diverse skillset coming from a Nuclear Physics background but is currently pursuing the field of environmental policy and agricultural science. “Climate change can and should be approached from various facets and angles for a holistic approach,” she added. She ended the speech by urging us to take the opportunities given to further diversify ourselves to be better qualified and to fill the gaps in the society, partaking in global issues such as climate change. Of course,  all for the good of mankind.

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