Sagar | He/Him
An Ecofreak Boy
Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests
Session 8: March 25, 2023
I’m going to talk about a moment from my childhood, when I realized why confronting the climate crisis is important for me.
I have spent most of my life in the plains of Nepal. I was a nature-loving kid who loved playing with my friends in the open spaces and nearby deep forest. My village house was near the forest, so I used to walk along a path through the trees, and I would see a lot of wild animals. I would hear the howling of wolves, sometimes the screaming of monkeys. Village farmers grew a lot of crops at the edge of the forest, and I used to love exploring the whole area with my friends.
But that was my village house. Later we moved to the city, far from there, and I was traveling back to my village only during school vacations. But I missed the village very much. Time passed and it had been about a year since I had returned. And when I was finally able to visit, I saw that the village had completely changed. To my shock, most of the trees were not there. The shallow riverbanks where I used to go fishing with my friends had become dangerously steep, because miners had started extracting stones and sand from the river. There were also bulldozers all over, cutting down trees and flattening the land to make it fit for agricultural and residential developments. The village farmland near the forest had been destroyed to make room for housing developments.
I didn’t know what to do. I was a young child who had been really attached to nature, but the destruction totally devastated me. Something happened to me that day. I started thinking about the future, and I promised myself that, no matter which career path I chose, I would make sure to do something for nature. Nepal is the world’s fourth-most vulnerable country in terms of the impacts of climate change. We have the world’s tallest mountain, Mt. Everest, and many glaciers and lakes, but they are all melting at a tremendous rate, which is alarming.
So, I started my climate activism in my school days, and after I grew up, I started doing a lot of advocacy and activism with young people. My activism journey started with my involvement with Tunza Eco Generation: I worked with youths and children and formed many different “eco-clubs.” We organized many advocacy events together, and I also went on to draft a policy for local government to strictly minimize illegal mining of sand and stones. I’m fortunate to say that a lot of good things have happened to me in this life. I have even been awarded by UNEP & Samsung for my climate activism. I have been a delegate to COP two times and represented Nepal in various international platforms.
In Nepal, we have been dealing with a lot of ecological challenges. Deforestation was a big issue for us, but in recent times, we have almost doubled the forest cover in the country. Nepal is also the first country in the world to have doubled the population of wild tigers. We have started taking small actions for conservation.
My journey started with a small boy living near the forest who was highly attached to nature. But the sudden disappearance of the forest disturbed the boy. The boy (me) then thought to himself, “I’ll do something for nature.” And I’m still taking small steps, but humans have done a lot of damage, and we need immediate action. It is important for youths like me to come into climate policymaking conversations, and to help bring youth-friendly sustainable legislature in future. I hope to continue creating positive impacts for my society—communities not only in Nepal, but all over the whole world.
Sagar is a youth activist, climate advocate, agriculture researcher and international consultant from Nepal. He has been mentoring youth from the Asia Pacific region to pursue their journey in Climate Action.