Scouts in North and South America are a step closer to getting their “Earth-saver” badges this week after their organisation joined Dr Rajendra Pachauri’s POP movement. Protect Our Planet was founded to encourage young people to develop the outlook, attitude and resilience to tackle climate change and protect the world they will inherit.
Pachauri, who from 2002 to 2015 was chair of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), launched POP in Mexico City on Earth Day – April 22 – last year and the movement is already active in that country, as well as in China and Mexico.
The eminent scientist is now planning to launch POP in California, having signed a memorandum of understanding with the Scouts of the Americas, and after that hopes to get scouts in Ecuador and Colombia on board.
POP says it hopes to “channel the power and zeal” of the 1.8 billion young people in the world between the ages of 10 and 24, to ensure that the solutions to climate change they learn about in the first quarter of their lives become “embedded” in whatever they go on to do with their lives. In effect, it is looking at young people themselves as the seeds of a sustainable future, and is setting out to cultivate them with the aim of securing that future.
Dr Pachauri said: “Given some of the political changes which have taken place in North America, it is essential to ensure the success of grassroots initiatives. I have been convinced for many years that governments will not do enough to meet the challenge of climate change. It is the youth of the world who have to take the lead.”
A committed meat free eater, in 2009 Dr Pachauri addressed the European Parliament alongside MFM founder Paul McCartney, calling on people around the world, particularly in the developed nations, “to change their diet to one meat free day as the most effective way to combat global warming.” Now the POP movement has reaffirmed that it is “committed [to] and driven to advocate for Meat Free Mondays through a gradual shift in dietary habits” across the world. It has also informally partnered with the Humane Society International to support its global efforts to reduce meat consumption.