By Aadil F. | Chief Marketing & Development Officer, AFS India

As massive swathes of Amazon rainforest burn in the fires, we sit in different corners of the world looking at the news on the internet. We are aware that the dense Amazon, the lungs of the planet, play an integral role in balancing Earth’s ecosystem and the relentless fire has caused irreversible damage. It is difficult for mankind to recover from this loss and to battle such challenges and so many others. In this month’s column, I want to focus on four imminent challenges, local and global, that we need to design solutions for.

First, the emergency called climate change quoted as one of the six global issues to watch in 2019 on the United Nations Foundation website. There are many countries that are not living up to their climate change commitments. Now and then, activists and climate supporters around the world have come together to demand leadership that considers climate change as a serious subject. World Health Organisation found that between 2030 and 2050, climate change will lead to approximately 250,000 additional deaths from malnutrition, diarrhoea etc.

Second, the conflict between states. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, there are almost six million registered Syrian refugees as of 31 December 2018. While countries advocate peace on international platforms, there are no examples of the pragmatic resolution of territorial conflict where human lives are respected and valued, and not lost to wars. The atmosphere of hatred and intolerance violates the basic fundamental rights and threatens the fabric of humanity.

Third, advancing development through policy, innovation, and dedicated support. According to the 2019 Report Card on International Cooperation, the development priorities include supporting sustainable development practices, reducing poverty and vulnerability, advancing good governance, and reducing the gender equality gap. While there has been some progress in various aspects of human development, we still have a long way to go.

Fourth, focusing on global health. According to the 2019 Report Card on International Cooperation, global health priorities must focus on managing acute pandemics, addressing infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases, and supporting global health institutions. With an ever-increasing population, there is an urgent need to promote global health.

These challenges are current, relevant and significantly need attention and efforts, especially from a generation that understands and cares to address these. Like the Amazon fires, these challenges will haunt us- directly or indirectly, right into our bones. At AFS, we encourage our volunteer and alumni to bring change through a series of changemaking activities, events, and workshops. As an ambitious and responsible AFSer, we must gear up for our role as a changemaker in the bigger picture, bringing about even a little change. In my column last month, I reflected on five core traits, when practiced, can help us become a changemaker in the truest sense. I emphasized that college degrees and certifications cannot define anyone’s capability as a changemaker. Your belief in yourself and your passion to bring about a positive change can make all the difference.