What will Bangladesh be like in the year 2100? That’s almost 83 years from now. Not an easy question to answer by any measure.
Yet, this was the very question posed to the youth of Bangladesh in a recent essay competition organised by the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) at the Independent University, Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Delta Plan (also known as BDP2100).
Organisers hoped the competition would push youth to start thinking what their ideal future would look like, and innovations and solutions that could help get us there -- particularly when it came to climate change.
First place went to Farhin Jannat from Scholastica; second place to Sadia Akhter Aruna, a graduate from Adamjee Cantonment College; and third place to Mahnaz Sarker Meem from Dhaka University.
The entries were judged by Jaap de Heer, Md Mizanur Rahman, Taibur Rahman, and Rafiqul Islam, all of whom are part of BDP2100, and Saleemul Huq from ICCCAD. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony on December 8 at the Independent University, Bangladesh.
Below are edited excerpts of the winning entries. The original essays will be available later online on the ICCCAD website.
Excerpt from ‘What Bangladesh will be like in 2100?’ by Farhin Jannat (1st place)
So what is our dream plan to sketch a new developed country by the 21st century?
Bangladesh will improve her position as a low-middle earning country, and by 2021 she will turn into a middle-income country and be a developed nation in 2041.
Our export sector will increase rapidly in Latin America, the Middle-East, and North Africa by 2030.
Bangladesh will be the 44th largest economy in the world (which, of course, will be German Institute for Economic Research).
Within the 21st century, all women will take part in our economy, and will be leaders in every sector.
And our environmental position?
Right now, whole water systems are turning into deserts. Deforestation is denuding the earth. There is also radioactive contamination from nuclear power waste, land degradation, the rapid extinction of plant and animal species, acid rain, industrial waste disposal, which all are rapidly reaching a life-threatening magnitude.
Yet, in the 21st century, the consciousness of people with the help of a prudent vision will make a healthy environment.
There will be more tree plantations, better energy efficiency, more green technologies, a green economy, recycling, and systematic way of processing garbage from industries and households alike.
Overall, people will have a greener lifestyle. Education, environment activists, the government, ICT, and the media will make a positive change in people’s behaviour.
Our dream plan will be accomplished by the end of the 21st century.
But remember, “a dream you dream alone is dream only, a dream you dream together is reality,” so we need our unity, willingness, and consciousness to protect our lovely country as a safe place for the next century and future generations.
Excerpt from ‘Happiness is what I’m waiting for!’ by Sadia Akhter Aruna (2nd place)
Happiness is what I dream for my country by 2100.
I don’t dream for super technology, or super powerful economy, or tall buildings. All I want is a child playing in the street without giving a second thought about his background in society or about his safety on the street.
In next 100 years I want back my evergreen Bangladesh, where a child will steal a mango from the tree. A country where people will not be scared for their lives but the fear will be for their sweet fruits at the balcony.
I don’t dream for super economy because even with the highest GDP rate per capita there are some countries in this planet where the people are not happy. Is it worth it then?
We don’t need vast assets but we need to learn how to lead a minimalist life. Because with that minimalism we can have true happiness.
I dream of a country where we will share our happiness with other countries’ people too. We will work together and we will prosper together.
By 2100, I want to see Bangladesh in the top position of the World Happiness Report by United Nations, not in number 110. Is it an ambitious dream? Let it be ambitious. At least I am dreaming.
Happiness is that thing for which we should work collectively. Happiness, that’s what I dream of.
Excerpt from ‘Climate Change Vision: Illustrating Bangladesh in 2100’ by Mahnaz Sarker Meem (3rd place)
Is it too late to do something for mother nature?
The human race has created so many machines that have led to destruction, and so is the human race incapable of saving the Earth now?
Optimistically, we, the human race, have enough power to save the Earth for future generations.
I would like to envision my country Bangladesh in 2100 optimistically, being climate resilient and sustainable in the following ways:
Climate change will be a separate subject in school where students will have to take part in environmentally friendly activities as part of their course.
Bangladesh will be a carbon negative country, having a lot of vegetation in villages -- and cities as well. Bangladesh would set a renewable energy goal and reach that goal by 2100 successfully.
The urban buildings of Bangladesh will use the world’s most transparent solar panels, created by Michigan State University, as windows. So every building would be an individual power generator.
Like France, Bangladesh will build solar paneled roads. Every individual will be well aware of power, water, food and other products consumption.
The public transport system will be more efficient and people will use this service frequently and safely.
They will find alternatives to cutting trees and use environment friendly products with less carbon footprint.
It is high time that we, the human race, became aware of climate change and act upon it to establish a sustainable environment.
Not being reproachful towards the government or each other, if every individual plays a responsible role towards the environment, in 2100, there will be a heaven on earth.
The International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) at the Independent University, Bangladesh, Dhaka is a research and knowledge management centre focussed on climate change.