Climate Change: Youths in Charge

Global warming, Sea ice melting, these terms have gained attention due to the prevailing climate change.  Africa suffers more even though it contributes less compared to other parts of the world. It is usually vulnerable when the effects of climate change occur.

Take for example the Democratic Republic of Congo where earthquakes happen every now and then due to the indiscriminate mining of copper and cobalt for the production of cell phones and batteries.

“Climate change is having a growing impact on the African continent, hitting the most vulnerable hardest, and contributing to food insecurity, population displacement and stress on water resources. In recent months we have seen devastating floods, an invasion of desert locusts and now face the looming spectre of drought because of a La Niña event. The human and economic toll has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General 

However, while we advocate stopping such exploitation, we cannot sit back without taking necessary actions –  especially when it involves the future of African youths. 

The younger generations are at a greater risk because most African countries depend on Agriculture, Oil mining, Fishing and other means of livelihood that would be adversely affected by climate change. Considering these factors, the future looks gloomy if immediate actions are not taken.

One way to curb this disaster is by including African youths in issues concerning climate change. The earlier they understand what it means for their future, the more prepared and better equipped they would be to combat and prevent such a crisis. 

The rural area is usually uninformed about emerging issues in the world. We still have Africans that use coal, firewood, for cooking and these contribute to pollution. Hence, more focus should be put on youths that live in rural areas. They should be educated about the dangers that come with climate change and the benefits of green energy. This also draws attention to the need for African youths to have access to quality education so that they can become effective advocates.

It can be difficult to convince people to desist from certain activities if there are no alternatives already in place. Therefore, there is a need to invest in social amenities via enabling policies that will aid the replacement of the usual coal/firewood with clean sources of energy. This would not only reduce pollution but also safeguard their health. Countries should create tax incentives for private investment in infrastructures. These infrastructures  include irrigation technology and post-harvest storage technology and other measures that would reduce the effect of climate change.

Also, the Free market which was established to allow voluntary exchanges that are based solely upon supply, demand, and the pricing mechanism with the government’s involvement purely limited to defense, law, and policing is another solution to environmental problems. 

The benefits will be directly traceable to gains from absence of tariffs, quotas, regulations, subsidies, and other government restrictions.

However, the public sector must not continue to get away with the indiscriminate use of resources and must be held accountable for how they contribute to pollution in forms of industries, infrastructures that infringe the rights of the people. 

There is also a need to emphasise the importance of property rights in solving climate change issues. African governments should give individuals, especially the youths access to land and assets. This would improve the capacity of youths by encouraging them to grow and diversify without any barriers. The right to property would then make evident those that are actually endangering the environment – if it’s the private sector or the government.

Sometimes, we do not pay attention to certain issues and are prone to being indifferent to situations if the aftermath is happening relatively slowly. Inches of ice that are melting over years might seem insignificant but it adds up and can in turn lead to loss of livelihood and lives.

Therefore, we appeal to African leaders to set about making these changes and improvements with their youths. 

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