Fridays for Future Uganda

THE GENERATION THAT WILL NOT STOP

By Sadrach Nirere

As the climate crisis remains a looming threat over their futures, young people the world over have become a leading voice in demanding urgent climate action, inspiring others in local communities to rise for climate with them.

The Fridays for Future movement in Uganda – inspired by Greta Thunberg – is leading the sudden boom of the growing student and youth movement in the country, with a group now 10,000 strong: students with a common voice to inspire change.

On 12 July 2019, Fridays for Future Uganda presented the government with the Ugandan student and youth demands, stating the urgent need to combat the climate crisis. Uganda and Africans at large are experiencing extreme weather events; from Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth to the Turkana drought in Kenya, we are heading for more disastrous moments. In fact, the United Nations secretary-general’s special representative on disaster risk reduction, Mami Mizutori recently stated that climate disasters are occurring at the alarming rate of one a week around the globe.

  • Sadrach Nirere addresses the Ugandan youth climate strikers

The Fridays for Future movement globally has put it across that governments – due to their power, resources, and capability – must declare a climate emergency. This will accelerate fast and action-driven interventions towards achieving climate action goals.

Around the world, we have seen inaction from our leaders. Zooming in on Uganda, we have very good policies and many environmental agencies – but what is on paper rarely translates to reality; just take a look at Uganda’s rampant deforestation and wetland degradation that goes on under the government’s eye.

An agro-based economy like Uganda will not survive as the climate crisis puts our food security at jeopardy. Crops like coffee – Uganda’s biggest export – are at risk. Farmlands will require more water for irrigation with the scarcity of rainfall, and protecting crops from extreme heat waves with shading infrastructure will also be costly.

Uganda has also experienced communicable disease outbreak at a significant economic cost. Malaria incidences are frequently reported in Uganda.

With the increase in uncontrolled plastic pollution, drainage channels are broken down, leading to sewerage contaminating running rainwater – a lead cause of the cholera epidemic. Banning plastic bags will also reduce the amounts of ”Kaveera” ending up in our natural water sources, landfills, and is often is the case in Uganda – in our wetlands.

A generation born witnessing this crisis – whose future is at stake –  is rising up and there is no turning back. The youth of Africa and the world as a whole is finding climate solutions, and creating spaces for climate action. Our natural world is disappearing before our eyes and it is everyone’s responsibility to save it; we may even be the last generation that has a chance.

Older generations, systems, and institutions have failed us, developed nations have reached peak economic power at the expense of our environment, corporates are  hungry for profits,  and our leaders are in power – but not in control of the crisis at hand.  It now lies in the hands of Africa’s youth – and we demand action.

Join the action and join the global climate strike this September – all ages welcome (even the adults!).