Many of us despair in the current system, knowing how close we are to collapse. Every unnecessary single-use plastic item, every flight in Europe that is cheaper than the train, every big polluting company that gets a tax cut, every developing country allowing foreign companies to aggressively mine, is just a product of how ridiculous it is that we are risking humanity for these silly, trivial, things. Sir David Attenborough said, in his recent message to world leaders, "what we do in the next few years, will determine the next 1000 years". It is just so absolutely insane to me that the whole world has not woken up to how desperate the situation actually is. How many are in denial and pretend that we can carry on with this unequal, crazy economic system; we are killing ourselves. The information is there. Endless warnings from the top scientists in the world. For years and years. And leaders sit at the table discussing economic growth as if sacrificing everything is worth making a few people very rich. I read a recent article about how a person in Australia has given up their career to become a climate activist. I know of many people like this. I am included. If I did not know what I know, I would likely be doing something else that makes me happy, fulfilled. But I cannot. Because when I am on my deathbed one day, and my grandchildren ask me, "you knew, you knew this was going to happen, and what did you do?", I would like to tell them that I fought with every ounce of my soul to stop the pathway to an inhabitable planet. We all need to do our part, and NOW. We do not have the time to carry on the way we are. We do not have the time to negotiate about it. We do not have the time. We need to change everything. I shared recently an article that suggests a few urgent changes.
Greta Thunberg's recent message (click the video below) is exactly the voice that needs to be heard, representing young people who will not be able to follow their dreams because of the crazy, psychopathic decisions that our leaders are making now. Already my generation is suffering, with rampant inequality, unnecessary suffering, and things are getting worse.
In this vein, I share a story from Reinhold Mangundu, Board Director of the Namibian Youth Coalition on Climate Change, who, together with hundreds of young people in Windhoek, did a climate march and handed over a petition to our government last week. Here it is:
OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE! YOUNG NAMIBIANS HEAR GRETA THUNBERG’S CRY FOR ACTION.
Strong and courageous Greta Thunberg called for a global climate strike between the 20th and the 27th of September 2019. The 16 year old started Fridays for Future Climate Strikes to put pressure on world leaders to take immediate action on climate change. Global average temperature continues to rise whilst putting our home on fire. Greta mentions that, while this is happening, politicians still continue to steal young people’s dreams with their empty promises. ‘’All they can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.How dare they?’’ Greta cried at the recent United Nations Summit on Climate Change.
Her cry for change could be heard echoing across cities, oceans and forests. Even in our own arid country, where our future lies in a maze of great uncertainty. Our leaders refuse to listen to science, even when we have rampant inequality eating at the fabric of society, a persistent historical drought surging through the country and a constantly shrinking economy. To add salt to the injury, corruption seems to have been legalized. Millions that could have been used for social investment are vanishing, a result of the claws of the elite (1%). This is happening even when the poorest have full trust in the justice system. Clearly, this is a house on the verge of collapsing and thus, it could be detrimental to our children and the future of those after them.
These are all tormenting signs that gave frequency to Greta’s voice. It is in light of this signs and the urgency to extinguish our burning home, that young Namibians also decided to take action. The Namibian Youth Coalition on Climate in conjunction with the Fridays for the future group brought together both old and young. Together with our differences, we stood in solidarity as a strong potent force for change. A new form of steel needed to change our current systems and to save humanity from collapse.
Climate change undoubtedly continues to exacerbate complex emerging phenomenon. Inequality is rising while breeding massive tension around the world and biodiversity is shrinking at a rate never experienced before, ‘the sixth mass extinction’. Like the rest of the world, Namibia is not an exception. We strongly believe something can be done to save the planet and humanity. Solidifying our efforts for addressing climate change could help us keep the average global temperature rise well below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is however all mostly contingent to our government prioritizing climate change adaptation and mitigation. Simultaneously, they should be changing structures and systems to put people and environment at the epicenter of development. We are inherently part of our ecological systems and thus, development should treat us as such, intertwined systems that should be in living in harmony with each other.
In our petition, we called on our leaders to recognize that climate change is real. We demanded that they urgently implement Namibia’s Climate Change Policy (NCCP) as lip service is not enough. They were reminded that addressing climate change is not just merely about emissions and climate metrics. It is about promoting a just and sustainable society. A world where people could thrive because of healthy and intact life supporting systems. It is about creating a new narrative for change, one that is based on a common definition of progress and a good life for all Namibian people. For this to happen, we asked that they acknowledged that their current business as usual models are not working for the betterment of Namibian people. Unfortunately, these are only cancerous predatory systems of destruction. They are based on a pathological obsession for growth. The dogmatic faith that massive growth equals prosperity for all Namibians will only continue to exacerbate environmental destruction while increasing social distress.
As we began our march, the petition was firstly received by Deputy Environmental Commissioner at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, it was then received by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and finally, by the Mayor of City of Windhoek. Upon receiving the petitions, they both assured the hundreds of young people that they will study the petition and work towards solidifying their efforts for climate action. As a symbol and a promise for urgent action, our leaders and recipients of the petition all planted a tree at their premises. These indigenous trees will grow to provide them with shade and cool air, while reminding them that young people are watching and that they will be held accountable for failing to take action.
Nothing remains intact forever; the systems will start changing when young people continue putting pressure on the government. After all, addressing climate change is not merely just imperative for our moral consciousness but is fundamental for both our environment, society and the economy. We should take a look at decentralized renewables; they are just a dam good business in comparison to fossil fuels!!