Let’s graduate from climate noise to climate action

The African continent sometimes attributes its climate failures, misfortunes and inconsistencies to the reluctance by rich and powerful nations failing to honour their emissions pledges, or due to failure to fund its adaptation programmes, that is if Africa has any meaningful and tangible ones.

guest column: Peter Makwanya

The African continent is not behind in talking about how much the continent is under threat from climate change impacts, but the continent is far much behind in failure to measure and manage its own climate talk, rhetoric and noise.

The continent’s decline in food security by an estimated 40%, ongoing famine and malnutrition, tipping coastal cities and effects of over flooding, though real, can be described as some of those usual climate change clichés.
These retrogressive attributes result not in Africa’s inadequacies or incapacities, but from desperately trying to hide behind words, as well as attempts to invest heavily in high sounding nothings or null talk.

Despite talking about climate change retributions every time and the failure to act appropriately, the continent is quite aware about critical and fundamental practices to be done but sadly, it lacks the will-power to do so.

African leaders still have a long way in transforming their enormous climate change rhetoric into sustainable climate actions.

With Africa’s erratic and centuries-old agricultural sector, which requires an enormous overhaul, we cannot successfully match our farming equipment and methodologies to deliver us into sound climate-proof agriculture or smart-farming, to say the least. As is stands, many African countries appear clueless in the rehabilitation of land that has been lying fallow for years in order to turn it into a productive eco-systemic based adaptations.

The other sad factor that is pulling Africa backwards, is that, many of its countries do not see eye-to-eye with NGOs and the civil societies, who at the same time are pillars of sustainable development.

There is great animosity and suspicions brewing between the national governments and civil society sectors. These suspicions are compounded by the war and attrition of words between the national and the civil sector, which always stifles sustainable development.

While African governments have their equal share of skeletons in the cupboard, they are always quick to label NGOs as agents of regime change. The civil society on the other hand, are always worried and pre-occupied with issues of governance and corruption, which have stigmatised their operations.

For the two institutions (government and civil society) to engage in concrete and meaningful climate change adaptation programmes, they need to genuinely close perception gaps, tone down their linguistic retributions and reach out to each other for sustainable climate action.

Furthermore, many African governments have not fully exploited and utilised the community’s local actors meaningfully, in order to realise sustainable climate action procedures. There isn’t any symbiotic working relationship between the local sectors and their national governments.

If African governments continue to invest in enormous rhetoric and hide behind the climate retrogressive discourses, then they will be alienating themselves from the required climate related, action procedures. Their type of language does a lot to expose and lay bare their trickery rather than shield them.

While communication strategies are critical in climate literacy and empowerment enhancement procedures for climate action, it is not the high sounding words that count, neither is it the nascent manipulation of language for self-serving purposes.

Lack of climate action can also not be eliminated by the continued use of tools that are old and outdated, meaning tools that are not compatible with dictates of the techno-savvy era that we are currently experiencing. The obsolete and medieval tools retard climate protection growth, and they also retard resilience.

All in all, they retard everything pointing towards climate action.

In this regard, Africa is recommended to tone down its climate noise and rhetoric into sustainable climate action, which does not intend to leave vulnerable groups behind. Africa needs to invest in meaningful and empowering language, as well as meaningful new coping strategies for climate resilience.

Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on: petrovmoyt@gmail.com

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