Youths and Climate Change

My inspiration – an introduction to climate talk

I stumbled upon climate change quite frankly by chance. However, Isoon realised just how bad the situation actually is. Social media at the time was just not doing it justice; there was way too much misinformation and vagueness and there was no way in which a young person like me could actually learn about what climate change is in a relatable and straight forward way. Furthermore, climate change had been relegated to one lesson in the classroom as some people’s only source of information. How could we tackle the problem if we didn’t know what it is? How many young men and women realise that climate change will not affect us in hundreds of years like we have been made to believe, but rather within our lifetimes. Global warming will mean that our water supplies dry up as drought after drought plagues us. It will mean that we struggle to get food on the table as the growing seasons for certain crops see a reduction by up to 20%. It will mean that in other areas torrential rain and monsoons will consume entire cities in massive floods. Our infrastructure will be sent back into the Stone Age as the damages keep mounting and as we continue to see the effects of climate change. So I felt that I had to take a stand, even if my stand was small and brought down global emissions by only a millionth of a percent, it would still be something. I decided then that I would need to garner the public’s attention to this damaging and potentially life threatening problem. It would be a collective struggle that would not be fought with guns or knives but with cooperation and innovation. Industry, business, government and the public would all have to work together if we were to even create a dent in this problem. So I approached the Bulawayo Publicity Association knowing that the impact which I would have would be astronomically greater with them than if I decided to do it on my own. I started working with them, trying to make a change, trying to educate people through the Publicity Association about the dangerous implications and disastrous consequences of climate change and what we can do to actually stop it.

The pandemic has certainly destroyed our economy and has left thousands of people struggling to make ends meet. I understand that we can’t hope to completely go green within the next three years and that this will have to be a slow and gradual process, but it must start now! The chances we have to stop climate change before it’s too late are shrinking with each passing day. Soon it will come to a point where even if we emit no carbon, burn no fuel and stop polluting the environment all together, our planet will still be doomed. So we have to act now! I’m not expecting people to make radical changes nor am I expecting this to be easy. We will have to start small but move on to larger and larger projects gradually. But we need to start though and I thought maybe I could just get the ball rolling so real change could actually happen. I hoped I could educate people and give them the tools we need to start making changes happen and to start us on the road to a greener and better future for ourselves, for our children and for the rest of the world.

   

Preventing climate change is a never ending battle. As I have said before the possible implications of climate change are enormous and we will be most heavily hit. As a developing country with limited access to some of the coping technologies like drought resistant seeds etc we will likely face the brunt of the damage caused by global warming. These dangers are not just theoretical anymore and we are already feeling the effects in our changing weather patterns. The droughts we’ve been seeing in the last few years have been made more likely by climate change. The forest fires that devastated Australia last year were caused by climate change. Yemen, a desert, is flooding because of climate change with entire cities being engulfed by water. The ripple effect is the presence of an outrageous locust outbreak that destroyed huge amounts of crops in Eastern Africa and left many starving. These events are a testament to the fact that we as a human being are all interrelated. The weather in one country directly affects the weather every where else and therefore we have to take a stance as a global community because this is a very global problem which in the not so distant future could mean the end for us all.

So as a part of my little contribution to fighting climate change and specifically deforestation, I’ve been involved in a number of tree planting campaigns with Silwane Nature Reserve located just half an hour away from town. Deforestation leads to increased soil erosion and damages caused by floods and even results in desertification. Yes, our country could turn to a desert, a horrifying situation which is currently happening in in the Sahel region in North Africa. The sad thing is that this a climate change problem which we can actually solve. The best way to make a difference and get started is to plant more trees. This has the effect of helping the wildlife and also helps to reduce emissions as trees act as a natural carbon sink, sucking the carbon dioxide straight out of the air and giving us oxygen. In addition to this, I have been working with the Bulawayo Publicity Association to try and release a few informative and short articles that will hopefully help people better understand what climate change actually is and what we need to do to stop it. This is the just the beginning though and I plan to massively increase my efforts in the near future. We have limited time but we have unlimited will power, so together let’s make the change, let’s stop climate change and let’s save our city, our country and ultimately our planet!

by Mikhail Hawa

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