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Climate change: Critical agenda for youth

PLANET earth’s beauty and ecosystem is continuously taken down by human economic activities perpetuated with no remorse. Future generation might find a desolate earth 100 years to come.

Deforestation and burning of fossil fuels accelerates the greenhouse effect, over the decades, climatic and environmental records show the growing danger of drought, famine and rise of earth temperature. Regardless of the wary signs looming in, there is a chance to redeem ourselves to mother-nature.

Technology and modern science are tools that can be driven to make the world a habitable place and the young population is the suitable force to undertake this vital task.

Bringing youth on the table, Ombeni Mosha, an environmentalist and climate change activist perceives climate change as the changes in the state of climate over time.

Studies of past and future, see through observation and theoretical models the drastic changes of the climate over the centuries, these observations and models touch on various knowledge fields mostly on geological evidences, ice cores, floral and fauna records, glacial and periglacial processes, stableisotope and other analyses of sediments layers and records of past sea layers.

Picking youth intellectual perspectives, Tajiel Urioh, a world-wide acknowledged climate change activist and founder of a climate action organisation in Tanzania, identifies that “human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 205,2 if it continues to increase at the current rate.”

Since the industrial revolution the emission of carbon dioxide has risen and deteriorated the ozone layer. According to National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) Climate change findings, the earth orbiting has changed and it is affecting the amount of solar radiation we receive.

Tanzania is faced with climate change, affecting lives of so many people across the country, primarily people residing in the rural areas depending on nature for their daily survival.

Mr Urioh personal cites his personal encounter with climate change effects adding “I grew up in rural Arusha in the 90’s, water was available for all uses, we had fresh ponds throughout the year and two growing seasons annually, but now, there are none. We used to grow coffee and banana, with increased diseases and prolonged droughts, cultivation shifted to cereals. It was a cold place, now days its warmer year after year”.

Taking the above encounter into the fold, NASA Global Climate Change data indicate the planets temperature has risen about 2.0F. since the last century, all the blame focuses on carbon emissions driven by human activities. A question comes, do youth know what climate change is?

According to Mr Mosha’s environmentalism experience, he is confident that most villagers across Tanzania are aware, due to government agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) advocacy has contributed to knowledge dissemination, citing that “radio and Tv broadcasting have educated people, extension officers also have empowered farmers with climate resilient seeds and weather forecast bulletin to support farming activities”.

Contrary to the above, Mr Urioh comments “youth don’t know the technicalities of climate change, they may experience it but fail to comprehend it. Few are aware but are in mitigation and adaptation line working towards advocacy and as volunteers for NGO’s without solid support” It is a fact that youth are the core players of all spheres of development.

It is imperative to embrace the potentials that youth come with at the table. The modern young population is faced with a myriad of challenges and yet they tend to be innovative and possessive of a creative spark that can be channelled to overcome something bigger such as climate change.

A silver lining comes on population data indicates more than 60 percent of the people are under 25. Fredrick Frank Mwalongo a young modern-farmer cried out that “climatic changes have disrupted rain-fed agriculture, in some areas just showers of rain, other places experience erratic rainfall associated with strong winds causing wide spread destruction of crops”.

On that note, Mr Mosha has been utilizing his knowledge to raise awareness to rural/urban communities pertaining adverse repercussions of climate change, adding “I align my advocacy with practical measures such as afforestation, supporting sustainable agriculture, inclusive green growth strategies and researching to create new forms of knowledge for mitigation measures”

Mr Urioh has been building youth capacity for 6 years to youth reflecting climate change adding “ I began as a student, till now I am working on climate action issues with youth and on policies issues at national and international level, I have reviewed UN Environment Adaptation Gap report which was later launched in COP 23 in Bonn, Germany”.

However, Mr Urioh adamant views are on the public sector climate action take-up “climate change has been a romantic topic, but recently things are changing slowly after threats being understood and the reality of acting now is cost-effective rather than later”, He praised Minster January Makamba for his unyielding efforts safeguarding our environment regardless of the limitations “his initiative attracts youth to take part and drive climate change agenda, particularly this year’s environmental day actions.”

The young population tends to last long and if they live without having being well educated and trained in adaptation of climatic changes as the rest of the world, famine and food insecurity will ravage our country, opening other doors for the rest of associating disasters such as poverty and war for resources.

Supporting the latter, Mr Urioh calls for the public sector to develop a grooming mechanism for youth to be active in national and international climate action tables and addressing climate action knowledge gap among the public and stakeholders.

Youth are tech-savvy, by incorporating this we can initiate creation of climatic data specific for climate change tracking which is currently not operational, this will ensure the prediction of future responses and adaptation mechanisms as well as strengthening Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) efficiency. 80 percent of the population depend on nature for their survival and we cannot let that founder.

Climate change is manifesting very fast and posing a danger to the livelihoods of Tanzanians and Africa at large. Youth present a viable option, it is time to start thinking on drafting a climate change policy for driving our climate change combating strategies forward and effectively.

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Author: PADILI MIKOMANGWA

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