AFRICAN ACTIVISTS JOIN GLOBAL CLIMATE PROTESTS

 

BY PAUL NDIHO

Thousands of Africans are joining the climate change protest movement.  Across the continent and elsewhere, they are calling for efforts to save the planet.

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Africans worldwide are demonstrating and voicing their concerns about climate change.

“We’re marching because we want to stop climate change, we want to save the planet.”

Young people in 160 countries recently protested, calling for a climate emergency to be declared, before it’s too late.

“It’s going to affect everybody, rich or poor. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are in the world; it’s going to influence you. So it’s going to force us to work together.”

The demonstrations are partly inspired by the activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has staged weekly demonstrations, over the past year, under the heading, “Fridays for Future.” She is calling on world leaders to step-up their efforts against climate change?

“Essentially, young people have come together and said they are not going to allow this generation not to take decisive action on climate change. They are going to take action themselves and demonstrate to our leaders that the climate change is a catastrophe, that we need to reduce the levels of global warming.”

Experts say Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change — and the least equipped to deal with it. Many African governments are pleading for more support from the international community.

 “We started this when we saw the effects in Kenya like the droughts in the north, the fires that were on Mount Kenya. We are troubled that no one did anything about it, and we were seeing people in Europe and the US, they were protesting about this, but we realized that in Kenya, nothing was being done.”

A new United Nations report, entitled “The Heat is On,” showcases how the world can take swift and meaningful action on climate change. At a launch event in New York, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations spoke about what she would like to see happen.

 “When I look back on this Climate Action Summit, I want us to see it like a slingshot that helped to change our common trajectory towards sustainability.; where we built trust between this generation of adults and the next between our children and ourselves  that we are all working together to our fullest potential to tackle the climate emergency.”

The Central African nation of Gabon is working diligently to battle climate change. The United Nations announced this week that it is set to become the first African country to be paid with international funds to preserve its forests to fight climate change.

“Each year, our forests absorb a certain amount of CO2 from the atmosphere. And we are looking to find a new model to reward countries like Gabon, that have high forest coverage but with very little deforestation.”

 Norway will provide funding of up to $150 million dollars to battle deforestation, according to the Central African Forest Initiative, a program launched by the United Nations to bring together the region’s countries with Western donors.

The UN invited 500 young activists and entrepreneurs to participate this week in the UN climate change meeting, the first of its kind. Unfortunately, some activists were unable to attend after being denied a U.S. visa.

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