“The Earth is talking to us- we should listen, decode the message and respond rapidly”, said Albert Mbonerane former Burundi environment minister when talking about the current environmental crisis. The commemoration of the World Environment Day on June 5, established since 1972 by the UN General Assembly, is dedicated this year to climate change issue under the theme: “Your Planet Needs You-Unite to Combat Climate Change”. This date constitutes a good opportunity for everyone to think about his impact in this phenomenon and to analyze what can be done to address the global warming.
It’s a personal responsibility but also a collective one as the warming currently under way is caused by human activities which are speeding up the process, so the effects of climate change are happening rapidly. Such rapid climate change poses severe problems to both people and wildlife, as both try to cope with the changes. Lives and livelihoods of billions and the existence of millions of species continue to be threatened as well species. It is obvious that the global greenhouse emissions need to be dramatically reduced, while at the same time raising the quality of life for the majority of population.
What is dangerous and can be considered somehow as unfair with climate change is that there is no country that will not feel those effects in a way or another. When living in Burundi, one of the poorest countries in the world, one can imagine what he/she can do to address climate change when it has been proved that most of the emissions causing global warming are generated in developed countries. However, even in Burundi, everyone is experiencing effects of climate change: droughts are becoming longer and hotter, rainy seasons have become erratic and unpredictable, diseases such as malaria is a reality even in areas of high altitude, a phenomenon that has never happen before. All those threats results from our energy wasting lifestyles which are unsustainable and harm us all. There must be an urgent change in the way the populations live and use energy and other natural resources. Awareness of the environment must be stimulated, communities mobilized and political attention and action enhanced. Developing countries of Africa have the role to play in this battle. They can not still waiting for foreign support before acting. Action is what we need to see. Governments, Civil Society groups, scientists, businesses, local communities and commercial companies must be fully engaged to address what is considered as the major environmental problem facing the world in the 21st Century.
2009 is a crucial year in the battle against climate change, with negotiations on a new UN agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol due to be concluded at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December. All over the world, individuals, environmentalists, social movements are mobilized. They have started concrete actions, broadly based on the rich taking responsibility, promoting the use of renewable sources of energy from wind, waves and sun, launching massive tree reforestation, campaigning for a fair and effective solutions and equal access to resources.
The Amahoro Youth Club, as an engaged organization in promoting sustainable development will provide a unique opportunity for debates, exchanges of experience and best practice among not only Burundian youth but also all the partners involved and public interested. We have just launch the campaign and we are look forward to hear your views and opinion on this challenging issue.