Youth Inclusivity in Combating Climate Change and Food Security
The extreme drought at the Horn of Africa, leading to millions of people with hunger in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, shows that climate change can no longer be seen as a distant threat. Instead, the climate crisis is a reality that needs to be addressed with urgency. Tanzania is not an exception: the effects can be experienced in many areas. These effects include unpredictability of rainfall and cropping seasons, raising water sea levels, emergency of new crop pests and diseases, droughts and desertification in once productive lands, to mention but a few.
Climate change and food systems
Africa has contributed only 4% of carbon emissions to the atmosphere, yet it is the most vulnerable when it comes to climate change, given the fact that a majority of the African countries are driven by agriculture. As climate changes such as droughts and floodings directly affect agriculture, the climate crisis causes a threat to food security.
Africa is already the continent which suffers the most from hunger, and with the current geo-political situation and the predicted population growth, it is essential that agriculture becomes sustainable and resilient in the future.
For sustainability, agriculture should go hand in hand with nature. Often, those topics are framed as contradictions, leading to deforestation in order to create land for agriculture. But to keep Tanzania the beautiful country it is and to keep the country liveable for future generations, nature conservation is essential. One example showing this, is that some forests pull large amounts of water vapour from their surroundings, creating rain, and therefore keeping agriculture possible. Therefore, nature-based solutions are essential to improve agriculture and conserve nature, which is good for nature itself and for agriculture.
Youth contribution to climate change and food systems agenda
Youth inclusivity is essential to reach this goal of sustainable agriculture for a resilient future with food security. Educating Tanzanians at a very young age determines the sustainable future that we create. Making young Tanzanians understand the concept of climate change and sustainability develops the urge of wanting to act sustainably, take care of the environment and protect Mother Nature from destruction.
Shamim Zawadi is a young and dynamic leader who leads an organization called Trees for Birthdays (TFB). She explained how TFB organises climate change education caravans to engage students both in elementary and high school. In addition, they organise tree plantings in schools on special days, such as birthdays and national independence days. By organising and integrating these events with schools, the concept of climate change, food systems and taking care of nature become a fun topic for youngsters.
On 11th February 2022, the Embassy of the Netherlands invited Shamim as one of the key youth speakers on Climate Talks focusing on youth perspective on climate and food systems. The platform provided an opportunity for the voice from the youth to be heard and acted on as we all have borrowed the future from them. Through these talks and activities, the future generations of Tanzania are becoming aware of the existence and impacts of climate change and teaches them to love nature, the first essential steps to a sustainable future for Africa and Tanzania.
For more information and support on climate change education caravan or plant trees for your birthdays or special days contact Shamim Zawadi via LinkedIn @Shamim Zawadi Instagram @shamim__zawadi, @treesforbirthdaystz, Twitter @Shamim__zawadi or send email via firstname.lastname@example.org
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