The big issues related to climate change have been highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which is a combination of United Nation Environmental Program (UNEP) and World Metrological Organization (WMO). In addition, since states are involved in discussions on climate change, party politics have also included in the debates and this has raised many doubts to the extent of political commitment in climate change policies. States and their political parties have been sending delegates to represent them in the Conference Of Parties (COPs) over the passed 16 years and this year the African youth through African Youth Initiative on Climate change, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), African Alliance of Young Men Christian Association (AAYMCA) and Tensing Norway are taking young people to COP17. This journey will involve travelling in a Caravan from Kenya through Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and finally to South Africa. The young people will travel to the south passing many towns advocating and mobilizing youth on climate justice and signing petitions concerning climate justice targeting a million signatures. You can also sign this petition by going to the We have Faith - Climate Justice Website: http://www.wehavefaithactnow.org/
The Climate Justice Caravan involves civic, political and climate change awareness raising because climate justice has been a large part of environmental discussions since the realisation that green house gasses (GHGs) like carbon dioxide and nitric oxide were caused by, amongst others, the industrial revolution and food production industry respectively. To discuss these issues, the YMCA Kenya Beads Project and individuals within the organisation funded and facilitated a training on the 17th of September 2011 which involved the history of the COP, environmental change through time, Global citizenship and S2C.
It is important that the youth are taking part in global issues and creating awareness, but without knowledge they can not have a voice in the discussions. This training occurred in three phases: first, to give an introduction to the participants and make them aware of the events, the second and third phase will involve selection and bonding for the COP17 participants and will be held before 4 November 2011, the commencing day of the caravan. The participants will learn more and will be engaged in debates like the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment, parties commitments and the way forward as far as climate justice is concerned. The second and the third phase will also give the youth a voice to speak and act as climate ambassadors in their travels in the six countries. In their journey they will pass the message on what climate justice is, what the current commitment is and what the way forward if for the future. This will take place through open session forums which include activities like singing, dancing, public speaking. Participant will also clean and plant trees as the caravan goes down south.
Including issues of global citizenship is essential in climate justice debates, since global warming affects the whole globe: there are concerns about food insecurity, tropical climates are changing to deserts, some species are becoming extinct, some low altitude countries like Taiwan and Bangladesh are affected by rising water levels and high altitude areas like the Himalayas are affected by the melting of ice, forcing people to change their way of life. These problems call for a global commitment to rectifying climate change which should come from unity and individual effort.
To take the youth to a place of thinking like subjects and being citizens with a voice for climate justice they must first be informed and understand the future is in their hands. They must take part in saving the future they have to be responsible for. Much of this responsibility comes through mentorship, training and awareness which will guide them to action. Without mentorship and training the youth will still act and most probably in a negative way, which is why there should be strong emphasis on their empowerment and giving them the opportunity to lead.
In line with this, the 2011 Global Youth Week Participants shared their experiences on how to mitigate and engage our societies and communities in dealing with the climate change globally. They emphasised that the generation ”Y” has more potential in tackling all the issues in different aspects of life. While at Global Week, they also participated in TT11 (teenagers coming together 2011) in Norway as well and at the TT they learned how the Norweigian culture empowered their teenagers and involved them in decision making spheres.
the training objectives were to: 1. empower youth in Climate change issues; 2. enable the youth become ambassadors for climate change; 3. enable youth mobilisations for climate justice; 4. be good communicators of climate justice; 5. equip the youth to become good citizens and advocate for civil rights in our society.
The training had a good facilitation from Ms Guri Storas from the NCA which introduced climate change, causes and effects of climate change within in Kenya, Africa and world. Waiganjo Njoroge from the UNEP took the training through climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Re-cap was taken by Cyrus Gachanja and Njeri Kuria from ARMIS and Winnie Asiti from 350.org (moving planet) gave a history on the COPs and an introduction on the Climate Justice Caravan. Daniel Otundo and Pauline Cherunya from the Kenya YMCA gave a presentation on Global Week and TT11. Clifford Collins Omondi political Science and S2C practitioner and John Wamukoya S2C ambassador gave the audience some voice on the Climate Justice and S2C approach.