3 Ways Young People Can Come Together To Fight Climate Change

Shakir Akorede is a writer, digital entrepreneur and the Founder of 501 Words. He’s equally a researcher and a young professional in Foreign Policy.

According to the United Nations, “Climate change is one of the major challenges of our time and adds considerable stress to our societies and to the environment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.”

It is mind-boggling that the effects of climate change are already manifesting across all borders of the world and across the oceans. Despite the efforts and agreements, however, experts argue that world leaders are not adequately prepared for the risks from a changing climate and, at the same time, are not doing enough to tackle the global disaster.

True or false, climate change is now affecting every country on every continent of the world. Its palpable effects are disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.

Given the environmental threat, there’s more work to be done especially for the young generation if the world is truly important to them. This article highlights 3 strategic ways youths across the world can help protect their home – the world.

1. Go green.

Environmental protection requires innovative approaches such that the young generation must be empowered with the right skills to address environmental challenges and beyond.

What is green?

Green means different things to different people from different perspectives. In the environmental context, it is making the world a more livable place for all that lives therein. According to MobilizeGreen, “Green” has become synonymous with the environment, sustainability, and “eco-friendliness.”

From the above, going green is “ensuring a greener environment.” But there’s more to that in terms of realisation. To explain, young people from diverse ethnicities and backgrounds need to pursue more knowledge and practices that can lead to secured environment and sustainable natural resources for present and future generations by increasing their environmental friendliness and taking ecologically responsible decisions.

Parts of the decisions, which entail green practices, include: walking, riding bikes, using public transportation, recycling outside the box, and many others.

2. Collaborate with others (to form organizations).

For quick global effects, young people must continue to take part in intergovernmental climate change processes across the globe. “The role of the private sector in combating climate change is becoming ever more relevant,” says Climate Home.

To this end, more collaborative efforts are crucial to tackling climate change by spreading its awareness among the populace and working closely with governments to ensure policy implementations.

3. Partner with government.

“The United Nations System recognizes the key role that youth play in tackling climate change and works closely with youth-led and youth-focussed organizations around the world through the United Nations Joint Framework Initiative on Children, Youth and Climate Change (Joint Framework Initiative),” says the U.N.

There’s no denying that robust public-private partnership is an efficient way to tackle environmental challenges. As such, youth organizations should partner local, national, and international governments for more frantic efforts to curtail environmental disasters.

Source UNEP

Youth climate strikers: ‘We are going to change the fate of humanity’

Youth climate strikers: 'We are going to change the fate of humanity'.png
Featured photo credit: Getty Images

Students issue an open letter ahead of global day of action on 15 March, when young people are expected to strike across 50 nations.

The students striking from schools around the world to demand action on climate change have issued an uncompromising open letter stating: “We are going to change the fate of humanity, whether you like it or not.”

The letter, published by the Guardian, says: “United we will rise on 15 March and many times after until we see climate justice. We demand the world’s decision makers take responsibility and solve this crisis. You have failed us in the past. [But] the youth of this world has started to move and we will not rest again.”

The Youth Strikes for Climate movement is not centrally organised, so keeping track of the fast growing number of strikes is difficult, but many are registering on FridaysForFuture.org. So far, there are almost 500 events listed to take place on 15 March across 51 countries, making it the biggest strike day so far. Students plan to skip school across Western Europe, from the US to Brazil and Chile, and from Australia to Iran, India and Japan.

“For people under 18 in most countries, the only democratic right we have is to demonstrate. We don’t have representation,” said Jonas Kampus, a 17 year old student activist, from near Zurich, Switzerland. “To study for a future that will not exist, that does not make sense.”

The letter says: “We are the voiceless future of humanity … We will not accept a life in fear and devastation. We have the right to live our dreams and hopes.” Kampus helped initiate the letter, which was created collectively via a global coordination group numbering about 150 students, including the first youth climate striker, Sweden’s Greta Thunberg.

The strikes have attracted some criticism and Kampus said: “We wanted to define for ourselves why we are striking.” Another member of the coordination group, Anna Taylor, 17, from north London, UK, said: “The importance of the letter is it shows this is now an international movement.

Taylor said: “The rapid growth of the movement is showing how important it is and how much young people care. It is vital for our future.” Janine O’Keefe, from FridaysForFuture.org, said: “I’ll be very happy with over 100,000 students striking on 15 March. But I think we might reach even beyond 500,000 students.”

Thunberg, now 16 years old and who began the strikes with a solo protest beginning last August, is currently on holiday from school. She was one of about 3,000 student demonstrators in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday, and joined protesters in Hamburg on Friday morning.

In recent days, she has sharply rejected criticism of the strikes from educational authorities, telling the Hong Kong Education Bureau: “We fight for our future. It doesn’t help if we have to fight the adults too.” She also told a critical Australian state education education minister his words “belong in a museum”.

The strikes have been supported by Christiana Figueres, the UN’s climate chief when the Paris deal to fight global warming was signed in 2015. She said: “It’s time to heed the deeply moving voice of youth. The Paris Agreement was a step in the right direction, but it’s timely implementation is key.” Michael Liebreich, a clean energy expert, said: “Anyone who thinks [the strikes] will fizzle out any time soon has forgotten what it is to be young.”

In the UK, about Taylor said more than 10,000 students went on strike on 15 February: “I’m anticipating at least double that on 15 March.”

The strikes would not end, Taylor said, until “environmental protection is put as politicians’ top priority, over everything else. Young people are cooperating now, but governments are not cooperating anywhere near as much as they should”. She said students were contacting her from new countries every day, including Estonia, Iceland and Uganda in recent days.

Kampus, who was invited to meet the Swiss environment minister, Simonetta Sommaruga, on Wednesday, said: “The strikes will stop when there is a clear outline from politicians on how to solve this crisis and a pathway to get there. I could be doing so many other things. But I don’t have time as we have to solve this crisis. My dream is to have a life in peace.”

Source The Guardian

Uganda: We Need to Mitigate Climate Change

By Andrew Mafundo

The tragic reality is that the earth is reaching a tipping point faster than ever before and this will affect all of us.

The atmospheric temperatures are expected to increase across the globe and rainfall may increase or decrease, depending on location. Ultimately, climate change will have significant negative impacts on the economy, human health, energy use, and biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The current severe heat stress and reduced air quality that we are experiencing is an alarm bell for everyone to engage in the climate change fight. Since Uganda is heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture, it is believed that the most impact of climate change will be decreased agricultural production, leading to food shortages.

Conservationists argue that Uganda had made a positive move to sign up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and following its development of the National climate Change Policy and Implementation Strategy in 2012/13.

A road map for the development of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) was submitted to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on climate Change at the beginning of 2015.

However, the full implementation of the priority adaptation and mitigation actions principally remain on paper because they are conditional on the support of international stakeholders.

The government needs to urgently review and make relevant reforms in the current climate change adaptation approach most especially building institutional capacity to conceptualize climate-compatible development projects as well as increase and manage climate finance.

The current climate change impacts and costs are expected to persist because of our past and present-day environmental decisions. We must act now to adapt and build resilience to a changing climate so that we are able to proactively manage risks, protect our health and ensure the well-being of Ugandans.

Government should prioritize and increase climate change action funding at the different levels of government. The office of NEMA focal person and local government environment task force continue to be under funded yet they are expected to oversee environmental protection activities in the entire district.

Towns and peri-urban areas seem to be more affected and forgotten. The population far exceeds the infrastructure capacity, leading to the deterioration of the urban environment. The authorities have not taken tangible action or invested in mitigation and adaptation measures.

For example, there is continuous environmental degradation and pollution in Kampala and Wakiso, which include solid waste, abattoir waste, sewage, sanitation, drainage, industrial pollution, plastic and traffic pollution, atmospheric pollution, urban agriculture, soil dumping in wetlands and land-filling, rapid and unplanned urbanization and water hyacinth.

In the past, little climate adaptation financing was directed towards the rural areas. Nevertheless, early this month, during the national celebrations to mark 2019 World Wetlands day at Limoto primary school in Pallisa district, the government, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), launched a $44.3m project.

The project is funded by the Green Climate Fund to support building resilient communities and ecosystems through restoration of wetlands and attendant catchments and will be implemented in 24 districts of eastern and southwestern Uganda.

In order to achieve sustained ecological restoration, government and implementing partners should be ready to handle challenges that face such projects, namely: lack of clarity on institutional mandates, roles and responsibilities, lack of grassroots community involvement, corruption and political interference.

The local governments in the benefitting districts need to be involved because they play a leadership role. Further policy attention should be aimed at constructive engagement in the design and implementation of programs that can receive funding and emphasize accountability for effective use of climate finance and improve the effectiveness and equitable distribution of funding for climate change adaptation in the entire country.

There is an immense opportunity to engage and empower grassroots women and youth groups to act on climate change to achieve sustainable development. They have vast knowledge and experience to fully participate in deciding climate change action especially in turning the tide on the land use.

We all have a responsibility to make better environmental choices in our own homes, at work, and on the means of travel. Without a doubt, industrialists, religious and cultural leaders, politicians, the media and business owners play a central role in the protection of environment.

It will take everybody’s involvement and contribution to tackle the scourge of climate change.

Source The Observer

Youth Can Play a Key Role in Addressing Global Climate Change – Ban Ki-Moon

By Azugbene Godson Solomon

According to Brian Wibby, Climate change efforts can connect with other youth led programs around the world.

Ban Ki-Moon is a South Korean diplomat who was the eight Secretary General of the United Nations from January 2007 to December 2016.

In June 13th, 2013, Ban Ki-Moon, called on youth around the world to take action to address the effects of global climate change. At that time Ki-Moon recognized the immerse challenge presented by global climate change stressing the important role he believes youth should play in implementing “Ambitious Answers” to this climate global warming challenge.

Ki-Moon outlined how youth can take action to strengthen resilience to climate change.

He said “First, I want you to be to remind your political leaders of their promises and their political and moral responsibility to you and to your future generations. Secondly, I want you to support action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and strengthens resilience to climate shocks. Use your powers as voters and consumers. Challenge your Senators, Governors, Congressmen, Mayors, Presidents and Prime Ministers that this is our world; this is our planet earth, to preserve this only planet earth, environmentally sustainable and hospitable.”

According a report released by the United Nations, youth – led efforts to address the causes and effects of climate change are widespreading across the world.

“The world is experiencing a rising youth population. This new generation has an increasingly strong social and environmental awareness, the energy and knowledge to lead our societies towards a low carbon and climate resilient future.”

“Young people are actively engaged at local, national and global levels in raising awareness, running educational programmes conserving our nature, promoting renewable energy, adopting environmenting adoption and mitigation projects.”

Projects are being run by some young groups to help people adapt to changes and prepare them to responds to disasters when it comes knocking, this projects also provide education and training for World youth leaders, it will help increase awareness of climate change, and engaged more youth as participants in decision-making and policy-making to climate change.

5 out of many projects and programs addressing global climate change highlighted below

Youth Climate Leaders – their main goal is to empower a diverse group of young leaders from all over the world with leadership and entrepreneurial skills to be used right to address climate change.

Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) – their mission is to provide Incubation, financing and awareness that empowers the private sector to deliver innovative climate change solutions.

2050 Youth Climate Group – they empower young people to take action on climate change.

Youth Climate Movement or International Youth Climate Movement (IYCM) – their aim is to inspire, empower and mobilise a generational movement of young people to take positive action on climate change.

Climate Youth Engagement – they provides science and information for a climate-Smart nation, their goals are to promote public understanding of climate science and climate-related events.

Photo Credited | Youth Carnival

Source – All Africa Youths