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By Ali Mashraf

Center for Legal Dialogue (CLD), a newly found student initiative consisting of students of Department of Law, University of Dhaka (DU), organized its third dialogue titled- ‘যন্ত্রসভ্যতা, পরিবেশ আইন ও পৃথিবীর ভবিষ্যত’ (Modern Civilization, Environmental Law & the Future of the World) at the DUCSU Building of DU on April 24, 2018. Mr. Naeem Hasan, Managing Editor, Bangladesh Law Digest (BDLD) and a graduate of Department of Law, DU was the speaker while Ms. Sharowat Shamin, Lecturer of Law, DU was the chief guest. Numerous law students from different academic years attended the event.

At the onset, Mr. Abdullah Al-Muti Asad, one of the founders of CLD welcomed everyone to the event and briefly introduced the speaker and the chief guest. Afterward, the floor was left open for Mr. Naeem Hasan to discuss the designated topic of the event. Mr. Hasan, at the very beginning, remarked that environmental law itself is a vast area of study and for the convenience of the discussion, his speech would mostly focus on the Paris Agreement and recent enactments related to climate change. He cited Naom Chomsky while emphasizing on the fact that climate change is one of the biggest existential threats to human beings on earth.

Mr. Hasan talked of the pre-Paris Agreement days, the gradual evolution of environmental law as a separate mechanism in the 1960s, the Kyoto Protocol and its subsequent failure as well as the rise in awareness among the nations regarding carbon emissions and its grave consequences relating to climate change. Furthermore, he pointed out the dilemma and the difficulties that countries, especially the developing and the under-developed ones faced while endeavoring to transform themselves from a fossil fuel to a green economy. Additionally, he pointed out the budget and resource constraints countries like Bangladesh faces while thriving for the above-mentioned transformation and its negative implications on their respective economies.

While discussing the possible solutions, Mr. Hasan stressed upon the fact that enacting new legislation and regulations were not enough to tackle climate change, rather an ideological change of human beings is necessary in order to save the earth from its grave consequences. Referring to Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, he commented that the human nature of instant gratification and only being bothered about imminent, not distant threats was a big bane to the climate change problem.

He said that nations and individuals need to re-assess their goals and aspirations and create a balance between materialistic/capitalistic gains and spiritualism which would ultimately lead to sustainable development in its truest sense. Lastly, while answering questions from the audience, he cited the Chipko movement in India to save trees from being cut and the green movement all over Europe and agreed that these positive initiatives would indeed make a difference in the long run.

Ms. Sharowat Shamin then addressed the audience and said that a general understanding of both the national and international legislations was essential to comprehend the development of environmental law all over the globe. She discussed the harmfulness of the earth’s temperature increasing up to 6 degree Celsius on average and its implications on human civilization. Talking about the current state of affairs all over the world, she said that in today’s unipolar world, global leaders blatantly denying the existence of climate change would have severe ill effects in the long run.  She wished CLD all the best for its future endeavors.

Mr. Abdullah Al-Muti Asad then thanked the chief guest and the speaker of the event and highlighted the future initiatives of CLD. He then brought the proceedings of the day to an end.

Ali Mashraf is the Special Correspondent of The FutureLaw Initiative