I’m Scared for My Family in Bangladesh — A #ClimateStory by Amazon Employee Rajit Iftikhar

Rajit Iftikhar, a Software Engineer at Amazon, shares his #ClimateStory:

My name is Rajit, I am a software engineer at Amazon, and I am a proud son of Bangladeshi immigrant parents. Despite emitting very few greenhouse gases, Bangladesh will bear some of the most severe consequences from climate change. The UN now estimates one in three children in Bangladesh are at risk from cyclones, flooding or other climate change related disasters. While to some, climate change is something we have to worry about in the future, climate change is having disastrous effects in Bangladesh right now.

Millions of people have already had to flee their homes in the countryside as flooding, rising sea levels, and storms have destroyed their villages, or taken away their sustenance. With nowhere left to turn they have to uproot their lives and travel to the cities like Dhaka that are already overcrowded, taking whatever jobs they can get to survive. Dhaka already has a population of 20 million people and is overburdened and under-resourced, lacking the ability to build the public transportation, housing, and infrastructure that climate refugees will need. Every time I go back, the city feels even more congested, with more people and more people living in slums that are ill equipped for the climate crisis

Unlike richer countries, Bangladesh doesn’t have the resources to adapt to the devastation that superstorms and flooding that will come with the climate crisis. Superstorms in Bangladesh will continue to destroy entire villages and kill thousands of people. Rising sea levels will cause people to lose access to drinking water and their homes as millions will be forced to migrate to cities and other countries.

I’m scared that my aunts and uncles who live in Dhaka might one day have to choose between their safety and being able to stay in the country that they love.

My mom always tells me, as people who now live in a position of privilege, it is our responsibility to speak for the people who aren’t at the table. So often, countries like Bangladesh are forgotten and not considered in decisions that impact them. So I think it is my responsibility to speak out to make sure we do all we can to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

I want Amazon to do more on the climate crisis because I think it’s unacceptable for one of the richest companies in the world to continue to take half actions as the consequences of its emissions put so many lives of the global poor at risk. It makes me angry that this crisis can be solved if those who have power just took this problem seriously, yet so far we’ve failed to do so. It’s our emissions that are contributing to this problem, so its our responsibility to take bold action towards being a zero emissions company.