World Environment Day: Communities want balanced climate change, biodiversity needs
Nairobi, Kenya June 5 2022: From cleaning up suburbs, to planting trees and holding peaceful roadshows, walks, and street marches, climate activists around Africa marked the world Environmental Day 2022 in style. At the same time, the activists asked their governments to ensure the balance between tackling climate change while meeting the needs of biodiversity conservation and restoration.
In Kenya, for example, climate activists coalesced under the Kenya Platform on Climate Governance and marked the day by mobilizing the youth to cycle around Empakasi wildlife conservancy and aimed to raise awareness on the nexus between climate change and biodiversity conservation.
In Somalia, Climate Activists held grass root level community activities in Baidoa and the capital city, Mogadishu to ensure the population do not miss out on matters environment,
In Nigeria, youths coordinated by the Nigerian civil society groups under the aegis of Climate and Sustainable Development (CSDevNet) marked World Environment Day by holding a street march to raise awareness about the need to tackle climate change and conservation among communities. The CSDevNet was joined by the Nigerian Ministry of Environment in the street march.
“World Environment Day 2022 seeks to emphasise and re-energize transformative actions to reset the balance between people and the natural world, and deliver a better future for all,” said Charles Mwangi, the acting Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, PACJA.
“Africans can change the world they live in by making their environment their priority,” said a senior official of CSDevNet.
According to Mwangi, global climate change has already had a drastic and observable effect on various environmental ecosystems and has pressure on natural systems.
As witnessed, he said, the climate crisis is increasing and deepening vulnerabilities around fragile ecosystems and communities with a resulting cocktail of epochal environmental and development challenges.
“As the climate catastrophe gathers pace, Africa, a hotspot for climate change, is and will continue to be one of the hardest-hit regions,” he said.
Over the years, the Intergovernmental panel on climate change has modelled average temperature projections which indicate that global warming will affect 90% of the continent’s population.
According to the IPCC, a well-known fact is that an increase of global temperatures by 1.5°C escalates the risks from climate impacts and the dependence on large scale carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere.
“As a result, we are desperately in need of taking actionable steps to prepare for future adaptive measures, and to become more resilient,” noted Mwangi.
He adds that a plan is needed to accommodate global ambitions to create a “net zero” world, and reaching the goal of limiting global warming to 2°C and below.
Edward Loosli, the chairman of the Wildlife Foundation TWF, said in Kajiado, Kenya that the nexus between climate change, nature, biodiversity, and development is intricate. “We all need a healthy environment but this depends on a healthy planet; saving trees saves biodiversity,” he said adding that today, pastoralists are finding it hard to find pasture and water for their livestock because of the twin challenge of climate change and biodiversity degradation.
On the other hand, he added, farmers can no longer predict rainfall to know when to plant, a fact that is affecting food security in many African nations whose communities tend to rely on rainfall for farming.
Loosli said 90 billion tonnes of resources are extracted from the earth every year, with 70% of the world’s resources currently being overused.
“There is a need to strike a delicate balance between use and replenishing; nature and food systems, restoration of ecological balances, transforming consumption, production, infrastructure, investment and land use for just climate actions,” he said during the marking of World Environment Day. Kajiado was the location chosen by the Kenya Platform on Climate Governance to mark the activities related to WED due to its delicate and fast degrading natural resources due to climate change.
PACJA’s work on this inspiring agenda has already begun and is gathering momentum.
According to Ann Tek, the national coordinator of the Kenya Platform on Climate Governance, to support World Environment Day 2022 and the
Through the theme of the World Environment Day 2022, Only One Earth, PACJA hopes to accelerate efforts by individuals, civil society actors, women and youth to look into the nexus between climate change and biodiversity.
“These actors are a pivotal catalyst in raising awareness and commitments for transformative climate action,” she said.