Africa is one of the regions most impacted by the adverse effects of climate change. Reasons for Africa’s vulnerability are diverse and include low levels of adaptive capacity, poor diffusion of technologies and information relevant to supporting adaptation, and high dependence on agro-ecosystems for livelihoods.
Over the years, the voice of common African citizens on climate change has not received global attention, however, Cop26 was much different compared to the previous years’ thanks to the world’s largest social media network ‘We dont have time’.
As the global leaders and environmental experts, as well as opinion shapers, gathered at the SEC center in Glasgow Scotland from October 31st to November 13th, We dont have time cohosted a similar event in Stockholm Sweden, Washington DC, Helsinki Finland with an aim ob bringing more voices into the climate conversation.
Here in Africa, the event was held at Mt. Kenya University under the leadership of Patrick Kiarie the representative of We dont have time in Africa.
For 13 days, men and women gathered at the University from 4 pm to Midnight and sometimes late into the morning hours to share ideas on climate change and why there was a need to move from talking to action. Most inspiring was noting that most of the people who participated on the event were young men and women out to learn more on the environment and to have their ideas on how we can bring more positive results in addressing climate change.
Sustainability experts, political leaders, and environmental enthusiasts from the world addressed the students, answered their questions and held fruitful discussions in the event that was broadcast live on Switch TV in Kenya, and globally in a large number of media houses, as well as live on various social media platforms.
The raising of a climate-conscious generation in Africa is touted as a game changer in the fight against climate change. For long, African youths have been used by political leaders for selfish political reasons and especially in political contests, channeling the same energy in pushing their political leaders to accommodate and implement climate-driven development solutions as the continent strives to industrialize would bring meaningful gains in the fight for a cleaner environment.
Even more, the voices of young people in climate change conversations will be a pointer to the world leaders that the need for climate action must be today and not tomorrow; because indeed, it is the livelihoods of these young people that is in jeopardy, and as things stand, they stand to lose more if no action is taken to arrest the continued environmental degradation.
A report published earlier had opined that young people around the world were now preferring to work for firms that were more “greener” if this is truly embedded into the minds and lives of all young people, then the push for a climate-driven solution in industries will have received the much-needed push as these industries will be pushed to find innovative ways of accommodating green practices into their operations.
One of the most important topics that formed the basis of the conversation was on fuel subsidies, and indeed, this continues to be a headache to global leaders today, and talk on how to remove fuel subsidies has been accelerated days after the conference. The question of why countries should finance the extinction of their own people needs to be pushed further. The big question is, if there are greener ways to fuel our economic growth, why not let fossil fuels remain underground? But unfortunately, world leaders even in the main event seem oblivious of the danger that fossil fuels pose to the lives of the billions of people in the world, and this can be fully attributed to the countries that are the major producers of oil and gas. “It is sad that we have let economic prosperity by some nations hinder the adoption of meaningful resolutions that can finally fix the problem of global warming” possed one of the attendees in Kenya Peter Kamau.
“As the talk on global warming continues, it is the hope of these young people here that their voices can be heard, that the leaders meeting in Glasgow can for once put the lives of their people in mind, and let a desire to watch them live in a world free from the uncertainties brought about by global warming to a halt. these people need jobs, they need to breathe fresh air, eat healthy food, and above all, look forward to life with hope and not fear. it is time to heal our world” posed Patrick Kiarie at the end of the climate conference in Kenya