Striking Out Against Climate Change

Edwin Namakanga

My name is Edwin Namakanga, and I am a climate activist from Uganda. I graduated from Makerere University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in population studies, and have been a climate activist since August 2019. I was inspired by Vanessa Nakate and Greta Thunberg, and am now an organizer of Fridays for Future Climate Strikes and a graphic designer for the Rise Up Movement. I strike because I want people to understand that the climate crisis is happening now and that we need climate justice now.

 In addition to being inspired by Vanessa and Greta, after asking my father how his environment was when growing up, he said that he was surrounded by trees and green vegetation, which is all gone now. My father observed the climate become more unstable while he was growing up; the landslides became more destructive to the lands and people, forcing my dad and his siblings to move into the city and away from the life he knew, his father knew, and his father’s father knew. This story was one of the two impetuses of becoming a passionate climate activist.  Being the eldest child of 5 siblings, I also have a responsibility to make sure that I do everything I can to ensure they have the best possible future. Knowing that my sisters and brother could end up living in an apocalyptic type of environment motivates me to do everything I possibly can to raise my voice for a future that they can thrive instead of merely survive.

I took part in the 4th National Conference of Youth on Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction, SDGs & the launch of Talanon organized by Youth Go Green. This was held at Mbarara University of Science & Technology, and during the event, we planted trees along River Rwizi in Mbarara. I also took part in the children climate march on the streets of Kampala, which was organized by Uganda Little Green Hands.  At Makerere University Business Campus we collected litter and made sure that the area was clean for the Fresher’s Ball. I was also involved in the Global climate strike where I joined fellow youngsters and marched along Kampala streets up to the Parliament of Uganda. All of these helped to raise awareness for the climate crisis and deal with some of the damage that people have already caused.

Climate striking is intended to make the public aware of the need to conserve the environment. The 1995 constitution of Uganda enshrines a constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment. I strike because most of the people in my country Uganda don’t realise that deforestation, the pumping of harmful emissions into the air, and other activities are harmful to mother nature. I’m sure this is the case elsewhere in the world as well, of course. What these people don’t realise is that in the near future, these activities will impact us in ways that we simply will not be able to control or reverse.

Climate Change is looking inevitable, and its impacts are becoming more deadly. For example, Australian wildfires started on a small scale because of lightning and human actions like arson. Prolonged drought made it easier for sparks to ignite, then boom – they became uncontrollable. These fires have meant that people have lost their lives and property, and that wildlife has become even more endangered. The Congo Rainforest is experiencing a lot of threats too, especially severe deforestation, and industrial logging. In Bududa – a beautiful region within Uganda – torrential rainfall frequently causes deadly landslides. Rains that go on for days deliver tiny amounts of drinkable water but cause landslides because of the high infiltration of the water into soils. Recent floods in Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Oman, India, Uganda, and Austria illustrate – nowhere is safe. Urgent action is needed now, on a global scale.

It is clear from changes across the world that climate change is knocking on the door.  We should wake up, speak up, & act now to conserve our mother nature.

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