You will agree with me that the last quarter of 2019 has been dominated by the word ‘climate change’ and 2020 will be no different.
We saw young Greta Thunberg revolutionizing the fight against climate effects through strikes and other platforms. One of the strikes she participated in Madrid, Spain had more than half a million people. Other international organizations embarked on sensitizing people on climate change issues leading to the Madrid Climate Change Conference.
I was privileged to be selected by the World Bank Group to attend a Youth Summit in Washington DC on the theme ‘Smart Cities for Resilient Future’, which focused more on issues surrounding climate change.
What is climate change?
In simple terms, climate change is the warming of the planet in which we live. Over the years what we do in our day to day lives has increased the natural temperatures on the planet.
“Or it could be a change in where rain and snow usually fall on Earth. Weather can change in just a few hours. Climate takes hundreds or even millions of years to change.”NASA
What are we doing that has contributed to climate change?
The earth used to have fewer people who lived ordinary lives utilizing simple tools and eating food produced sustainably. But as countries industrialized to meet the increasing demand so did the use of the earth’s resources as raw materials.
For example, cutting down trees to make furniture. Or the manufacturing of goods in industries which led to emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon monoxide. You might recall that humans live by inhaling oxygen which is naturally produced by our ecosystem and exhale carbon dioxide which is also usable to other living organisms.
How has the climate affected the earth?
We have had lots of severe weather conditions that have affected many countries. Some have had flooding where other countries have experienced drought. Last year in Botswana we saw how some areas have dried up and leaving animals stranded in muddy puddles.
Imagine how a hippopotamus and a crocodile would survive without water pools. They wouldn’t. This affects the tourism sector which brings income to our country.
Other areas have experienced floods which destroy roads, buildings and lives of people. The government has to spend money fixing affected areas, using money that was budgeted for other developments.
What can we do to reduce global rising temperatures?
Climate Change is a global issue, it’s affecting every country. However, as an individual one can choose to do things to reduce your footprint. You could make your own vegetable patch that will not use harmful fertilizers. Or simply carry your shopping bag when going to the shops.
Individual preferences can also guide producers to meet demands in what you need. This means by you making green choices, producers will follow suit.
As a country, we can join other broad initiatives that allow collaboration and also make policies that will encourage a sustainable economy. We have the Paris Agreement and the sustainable goal number 13 which our country subscribe to.
How do we teach our children about this global issue?
As much as we have schools to teach our children, we have the responsibility to share with our children some of these issues. If you watch the news with your children and they see reports on disaster it’s a chance to explain what is happening to our earth.
For the past few months, young children have gone out on streets holding placards written “no planet B”. Talk to your children to see if they understand what’s going on. Arm them with information.
It could also be useful to also help them watch cartoon movies like Ice Age which tell a story of melting ice as well as The Lorax which emphasizes on the importance of trees. Furthermore, Children can be taught to recycle, upcycle, and reuse. Have a look at Family Gems article about recycling.
We all know that too much of everything is not good, too much pollution is not good for our environment. The population on earth has got bigger, but the world can’t.
We all have to be good stewards of our environment, the little drop on the ocean that one can do can have greater ripples in the community we live and the world at large. It is for us all to let mother earth controls its own natural environment and not for us to destroy it. This, in turn, will allow the present generation to meet their needs without compromising the needs of the future generation.