Thun, Kampala, Bern, Toliara, Zürich, Dar Es Salaam, Lima, Nakuru, Glarus, Hyderabad… a renewed drive is demanded to wake the world from its torpor. Positive initiatives are happening
Adrian and Alice, both 16 years old, give an audacious speech on the Parliament square in Bern (Switzerland). The square is one of Switzerland’s most symbolically meaningful places. Adrian and Alice ask the audience: „How can it be that mitigation and adaption of climate change are questioned? How can it be a controversial political issue to save our planet? How can it be that humans are against protecting our one and only planet. What politicians don’t protect today cannot be protected tomorrow.“
Letters from Kenya fill the
postboxes of students in Switzerland: „Right now as I write you this we are having power cuts each week three times. We depend so much on dams to produce electricity. Now without water no electricity can be generated. We also have water rationing in our houses. For instance I receive water only on Mondays and Wednesdays. And still: I am lucky! Can you picture that? Millions of Kenyans who are starving, they walk for days on the search of water.“ What has happened? The Mau Forest is the largest water catchment area in Kenya. Ewaso Ng’iro River, Sondu River, Mara River, Njoro River all originate from the forest and feed Lake Victoria, Lake Nakuru, Lake Natron…. Huge parts of the forest have been cleared for settlement. Huge parts of the forest have been destructed through charcoal burning. 200,000 charcoal producers operate in Kenya and half a million producers, transporters and vendors are involved in the charcoal trade who support 2.5 million dependents. The annual income from charcoal is almost equivalent to the income generated by Kenya’s tea industry. The research indicates that the amount of charcoal produced per year in Kenya is 1.6 million tones. Tearing out the trees at the heart of Kenya has triggered a cascade of drought and despair in the surrounding hills and valleys.
The students in Madagascar know this problem first-hand: „We would like to go to the people and we want to inform them about climate change. We want to tell people what they can use instead of charcoal and as lots of people make a living from charcoal production we have to show them alternative ways to earn money. Tavy or slash-and-burn agriculture is another problem. Typically an acre or two of forest is cut, burned, and then planted with rice. After a year or two of production the field is left fallow for 4-6 years before the process is repeated. After 2-3 such cycles the soil is exhausted of nutrients and the land is likely colonized by scrub vegetation or alien grasses.“
A young woman from Togo agrees: „Our parents are sometimes slow off the mark, they just don’t understand. We have to explain them again and again. Bushfires make no sense at all.“ Mugisha (Kampala, Uganda) is very concerned about the consequences of climate change: “For a very long time farmers have been able to forecast weather changes without use of any modern equipment. This has been done through listening to some birds which sing only in anticipation of rain as well as studying some plant species. However all this is fading away slowly as the predictions have proved unworthy.”
Students in Switzerland know that the industrialized countries just depend to much on fossil fuel. Energy efficiency and renewable energy is not boosted seriously enough. And hey, don’t’ you think Tenzin from Dharamsala is right when he says: „How much we need more , that is really the question . Contentment doesn’t mean foolishness , I am going to practice contentment throughout my life“. Their film project and the Cleaning and awareness-campaign attracted a lot of attention: it was also joined by the media people from ITV and Eastt. Four girls from Switzerland had an idea which reached everyone in the HotStuffCHillOut Network.
Hyderabad wrote: „Dear Myclimatians, It was nice to recieve the handprints of four of our myclimate friends last week. What a great idea of making the politicians ‚move‘ from their ‚chair‘ and make them ‚think‘ as well. We all are there with you in this move.
COME LETS MAKE IT A GREAT SUCCESS!! “
Dharamsala amazed the network with several amazing actions: First a very cool performance! Plus: They exchanged all the light bulbs and installed energy saving ones. To explain their project they informed the whole school by performing a theater. And then Copenhagen let us down. No binding agreements were reached at the meetings in Copenhagen in December 2009. Vidya from Hyderabad is angry: „The most awaited summit on climate change ended just few weeks ago with the results which are equally awaited!Some questions that you can try to answer…. How many vehicles were engaged for the transport of people and materials all through the summit? How many disposables were used to pack/unpack the food items/water/personal care materials for all those ‚fortunate‘ souls who attended? How much amount of electricity was used through out the summit for lights/fans/ACs/Heaters/microphones etc..etc? How much waste was generated..How far was it seggregated…How did it get recycled??? What was the CARBON FOOTPRINT of Copenhagen???? And what about the end result…..VIEWS AND COUNTER VIEWS. Anything else???“ But we don’t give up.
The last word of 2009 goes to Mugisha in Kampala: „I ‚d like to tell everyone to personally join the fight and try to make a change since everyone is contributing and everyone can mitigate the causes.“