Greenwatch ReportA group of students of a private university is trying to protect people from climate change and disaster through the use of biotechnology.University of Development Alternative (UODA) has started different types of regular training programme to motivate the students of the Faculty of Bio-technology and Genetic Engineering and Molecular Medicine and Bioinformatics.
The university authority is trying to involve young people and create leadership in the climate change movement.
Recently, the university authority organised a daylong workshop titled “Youth Leadership in Climate Movement” at the university auditorium last month to create climate change awareness and social acceptance of the same. Around 45 students of the two faculties took part in the workshop. Visiting Australian citizen Patrick Kirkobi who worked at Bangladesh Climate Justice was a trainer.
Prof Dr Rawnak Jahan, inaugurated the workshop with the theme of finding ways of climate change adaptation and the importance of social movement.
The workshop focussed on how to improve utilisation of the adaptation fund and reach agreements on the same, CDM project development and technical support.
At the end of the workshop, the Bio-scientists’ Club decided to volunteer work for sustainable domestic innovation and application of biotechnology.
According to the decision, three members of the club went to Brammanbaria for relief distribution among tornado affected people. Ataur Rahman Dorpon, Master Hasanur Reza, Saiful islam and four other university students, led by Patrick Kirkobi, member of an Australian organisation ‘Journey for Climate’ took part in the relief distribution to create a temporary marquee, as well as the necessary water, food, basic medical care, clothes and soap supplies.
After the tour of disaster area, the Department Coordinator and British Council Climate Champion 2010 FM Saiful Azam said, in the southern part of the country soil salinity increases day by day. So, crop production is being hampered. Due to irregular rains, floods and droughts in the northern and north-eastern parts of the country crops of farmers are damaged. Increased insect attacks, disease outbreaks in different areas of the country and biodiversity loss are serious threats posed by climate change.
He said, if salt, flood and droughts resilient crops are invented by biotechnology researchers then farmer can cultivate cereals, vegetables, oil seeds and fruits on their saltyland.
Our students and teachers are working to innovate available and low cost medicine from medicinal plants. They have already collected data of remedy plats by a country-wide survey. Using biotechnology to address climate change, we’re trying to evolve salt resilient tomato, he added.
He said, “We are trying to find-out some trees in remote areas which can survive on the hostile environment. Local people have consumed these plants from roadsides, fields and forests due to food crisis.”
Similarly, Dr Rawnak Jahan said, “We need a nice green industrial revolution. We can create bio-fuel or bio-based products from Lichens, different feedstock and agricultural waste. We can cultivate ‘switch grass’ or ‘mischanthus’ type’s tree species in our land to freeze carbon dioxide gas in the ground.
She said, “This revolution will open the door for employment of the millions of people. Our economic growth and greenhouse gas reduction will be easy. But the need for a national movement to create awareness of the importance of biotechnology and face the serious survival challenge. One day we may be create a unique model for climate change affected countries in the world.
(Reporting by Adnan Faisal, Greenwatch staff member)