Lifestyle Change to Fight Warming Called by Yunus

by Hannah Punitha on Sep 14 2007 9:12 PM

Muhammad Yunus the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner called for a worldwide lifestyle change, on Thursday saying global warming is "a matter of life and death" for low-lying nations like his own country Bangladesh.

In a keynote speech to a symposium on climate change, Yunus suggested a "traffic rule" under which products bear red, yellow or green markings to indicate the extent to which they come from renewable sources.

Yunus, honoured for his creation of the Grameen Bank which grants microcredit to the poor, said his country is bearing the brunt of climate change, with 40 percent of its land mass less than one metre (3.3 feet) above sea level.

Sea levels are rising an average three millimetres a year, he said, and Bangladesh's 150 million people are already confined to living on around 144,000 square kilometres (55,598 square miles).

"Floods and Bangladesh are becoming synonymous," Yunus said, adding that their frequency and intensity are increasing year by year.

"For many people around the world this is an issue of concern but for us it's an issue of life and death."

He called for global lifestyle changes to make the world a better place.

"Can we come to a decision, this simple decision globally? Each generation will make a pledge they will leave the world safer than we found it when we came to this world. I think that is the best start to make it happen."

Yunus said allegations that rich countries are the polluters and developing countries the victims no longer apply since the quality of life and consumption levels are also rising in underdeveloped countries.

"The worst part of it is, we (developing nations) are imitating the world which created pollution. So our lifestyle is imitating the lifestyle of the people who have already led the way. That is the most dangerous part of it."

Yunus said the lesson was that the world could not continue a lifestyle at the cost of the planet itself.

"So we have to find a lifestyle which is consistent with our principle or decision -- we should leave the world safer than we found it."