“Youth demand climate action and will not be ignored” -Ovais Sarmad

Executive EFFECT members attend a lecture on the climate crisis


EFFECT Club executive members took advantage of the exceptional opportunity to not only attend Mr. Sarmad's inspiring lecture, but also to mingle and network with other young environmental activists in Qatar.

Lena I., Activities Section Editor

Student executive members of ASD’s EFFECT Club recently attended a pivotal lecture in Qatar’s growing movement to tackle climate change. The emerging Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar (AYCM Qatar) hosted the lecture by an integral member of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  

Mr. Ovais Sarmad’s lecture, titled “Why are we waiting? Urgency to tackle the climate crisis,” touched on the history of the climate crisis, the positive economic impacts of sustainable business models, and the importance of a just transition of the fossil fuel industry. Throughout the speech, Sarmad focused on the significant role of youth in the fight against climate change.

“The older generation didn’t inherit the environment from their ancestors, but they’re borrowing it from the youth,” he explained.

This was one of the messages H. Haidar (’21) especially enjoyed about the lecture. “The way he spoke about the impact the youth can have is very empowering for me,” she said, “especially because so often as young adults we’re told that we can’t have an impact on the world because we don’t have power and money. He disproved that.”

T. Akinade (’21) appreciated Sarmad’s assessment of the fossil fuel industry’s role in promoting sustainability in the future. She acknowledged “that they’re not only the cause of the problems we’ve had, but they’re also going to be part of the solution. It’s nice to hear that perspective, especially in this region of the world because none of us would be here if it weren’t for fossil fuels, so you have to take things into consideration.”

The atmosphere was so motivational, it encouraged “great questions to be brought forth,” said Ms. Mary May, the EFFECT Club’s adviser.  She noted that the number of articulate young people around the ASD students was impressive, as were the weighty and important topics discussed.

ASD student participant T. Raina (’21) recalled, “I thought the discussion about capitalism and consumerism was incredibly important because the reason sustainable change is taking so long is because of the society we live in.”

The EFFECT Club members clearly felt motivated by their participation in the event, as though they are a part of a movement larger than themselves. Debriefing back at the high school, Adviser Maria Manacheril reflected on how she was “really excited to see people in the community who I’ve connected with through social media. [And] it’s like yes, we’re invested in this, we live in Qatar, and we want to make Qatar a better place. “

“We’re going to!” Ms. May agreed excitedly.

While the climate crisis can seem overwhelming and impossible to many, one ASD group sees a source of hope in the empowerment of themselves and their generation.

“This century will be defined by those building in the eyes of sustainability and resilience.” Mr. Ovais Samard


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