Africans take to the streets as part of the Global Climate Strike responding to the urgent need to stop climate change
On the 20th of September, people from all walks of life, including fishing and farming communities; women and youth renewable energy clubs; civil society actors, local government officials; cultural and religious leaders will take part in actions to send a strong message that Africa doesn’t have to rely on fossil fuels to satisfy its energy demand, but rather lead the world in the just energy transition powered by low-cost renewable resources.
From the 20-27th of September, across the globe, people in their thousands will be taking action in their communities as a response to calls for a Global Climate Strikes (follow for live updates) by the youth-led FridaysForFuture movement. Over the past year, young people around the world have been striking from school in protest of the inaction by decision-makers on matters of climate change.
In many African countries, there will be marches and public rallies, calling on African governments to take more ambitious action on climate change in response to the global emergency humanity is facing.
The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will be convening a Climate Action Summit on the 23 September 2019 in New York to advance action to combat climate change as per the Paris Climate Agreement. At a time when many governments are backsliding dangerously on climate policy, advocates from across society’s spectrum are playing a crucial role in lending their voices to demand that governments invest in a new energy economy.
To date, according to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index for 2015, seven of the ten countries most at risk from climate change are in Africa. In the past few months, we’ve had two cyclones in Mozambique, floods in South Africa and Sierra Leone and droughts in Sudan.
Ephrem Bwishe, an organiser in Goma, DRC said, “The ruinous impacts of the fossil fuel industry on communities across the continent cannot be ignored. We need to question the fact that political agendas on energy, climate and development are more often being driven by powerful corporations and foreign powers. The Global Climate Strikes are an opportunity for all of us on the continent to make it clear that we need to break new ground and start a just transition based on renewable energy and led by communities”
“Africans need to determine their own future in an inclusive Just Energy Transition plan that places justice and equity at its heart. The false promise of development will only see escalations in poverty, violence, and state crackdowns that will continue to impact the most vulnerable driven by climate change. By calling thousands of people to join the climate strikes actions, we are expressing our rage in the face of climate change inaction. We cannot afford another decade of inaction and empty promises. ” said Landry Ninteretse, Africa Regional Leader, 350Africa.org
Samia Omar Bwana from deCOALonise, Kenya said, ”The inequalities intensify, and the sense of urgency is rapidly growing as we see the compounding impacts of climate change increasing. Scientists warn that we urgently need to phase out fossil fuels to avoid irreversible climate breakdown. Still, governments continue to prop up the big polluters politically and are in turn propped up financially. Over decades, fossil fuel companies have made a fortune while destroying the climate, people’s health and homes at the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction. A new generation of Africans is growing and they will suffer the consequences of our choices if we do not act now.”
Strikers are calling on people from all around the world to join a week of escalated climate action. This begins on the 20th of September with a youth-led climate strike, which will culminate in the first-ever global general strike on the 27th.
350.org and other civil society organizations are calling on everyone to join the movement and stand with the youth.