Youths should be on the forefront of climate change

It is up to the youths to investigate what climate change is so as to make relevant decisions.

THIS article was written out of the pain we went through as young people in rural Binga. I still remember we would travel 10 kilometres to fetch water from a river, in a village called Tinde.

This happened at the expense of other things such as our education. When it rained ferociously we were at times not able to cross the river from school. We would wait until the water subsided and travelled home at night. This did not look problematic then. It was a normal life.

The worst part was to discover late in life that all those things were slowly impacting other things such as our education and the quality of life in general. In the end it affected our results. Our life was affected by climate. We cannot avoid climate, it has cataclysmic impacts on our lives.

In the face of a rapidly changing climate, the world stands at a pivotal juncture and leaders must take a firm stand. The decisions we make today will shape the planet for generations to come and our legislative house should have young people who are ready to lobby and advocate for laws on climate change. Among the most powerful agents of change in this global endeavour are the youths. We cannot stand and wait for other people to do it for us. Youths are not just the leaders of tomorrow, but also the catalysts of impactful change today.

Understanding climate change

It is up to the youths to investigate what climate change is so as to make relevant decisions. Generally, climate change refers to momentous changes in global temperatures and weather patterns over a period of time. While climate has changed throughout the Earth’s history, human activities have been driving unprecedented changes over the last century. These include the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and industrial processes, leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere.

Role of youths

Young leaders possess the numbers, energy and creativity necessary for a sustainable future. First, education is important. Knowledge is power.

By becoming well-informed about the science of climate change and its consequences, leaders can spread awareness and inspire action within their communities. Learning is important when change is happening. We cannot oppose the change that climate has brought. Opposing is just futile. So information on climate change is important.

When we have the requisite education it becomes easy to innovate. Youths can use the leverage of technology to develop innovative solutions to reduce carbon footprints, such as applications that track energy consumption or platforms that facilitate the sharing of resources.

However, in rural Binga we had no computers. To make matters worse we did not even know how a computer looked like. As we speak now, we have children who have never seen a computer, let alone touch it. Now we need to accelerate how rural children and leaders have access to these technologies.

Young leaders have energy for activism: Young activists can mobilise the masses through campaigns, protests and social media, putting pressure on policymakers to enact environmentally friendly policies. Besides, we need Parliament to be flooded by young leaders who will speak and debate about climate change.

We need to learn sustainable practices. Now there is talk of not only smart cities, but green cities. We must adopt sustainable lifestyles, such as reducing waste, conserving water and choosing renewable energy sources to significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Politics shapes a lot of things. Without political will, we cannot win. In our next elections, the electorate must make sure we vote for people who are committed to climate change. By voting for leaders committed to fighting climate change and even running for office, young people can influence political agendas and steer legislative action towards sustainable development..

Parting point

The battle against climate change is daunting, but it is not insurmountable. With youths at the helm, there is hope for a greener, cleaner and more sustainable future. Their actions today will echo through the ages, and it is imperative that they are equipped, encouraged and empowered to lead the way in this existential fight. This is a call to action for young individuals and leaders in Zimbabwe and the world in general to rise up and take ownership of the climate crisis. Their passion, combined with concerted efforts, can turn the tide against climate change and pave the way for a healthier planet.

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