Hundreds of youths from around Africa have come together to challenge biased narratives on climate justice with the hope to enhance their activism capacities.
Youths today came together to engage with experts, researchers, academicians and established climate campaigners and activists in the second edition of the Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice at the Kenyatta University.
According to Charles Mwangi, the Acting Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the power of youth voices in reframing climate ambition and driving systematic change is incredible.
“Our destiny is in our own hands. We must equip the youth to engage with their governments and demand effective and adequate policies that will cater for their just, low carbon future,” said Mwangi.
Mwangi noted that the young people are potential advocates for climate justice and can drive the momentum of demanding for climate justice solutions while striving to have inequities addressed through long-term mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Julius Mbatia, of Act Alliance said as a youth, there is an opportunity to learn through the ropes.
“Passion however kept me moving on and tapped into the experiences of other established activists in the global COP discussion processes,” Mbatia said.
Lucky Abeng, a young climate activist and coordinator, Commonwealth Youth Climate Change Network (CYCN) in Nigeria said climate negotiations among young people are usually relegated to observers.
“This must change. Let the youth negotiate for themselves and bring on board ideas they think can work for them,” he said.
According to Ayele Kabede, who works for the Sweden International Development Agency noted that climate justice campaigning actions offer the biggest opportunity to rebuild a world led by indigenous knowledge forms, worldviews and ways of living.
Many victims of climate change also have disproportionately low responsibility for causing the emissions responsible for climate change in the first place particularly youth or people of any age living in developing countries that produce fewer emissions per capita than is the case in the major polluting countries. Inequality grows in the aftermath of climate related disasters like hurricanes.
“Climate justice has become the fulcrum of viewing and articulating climate change related issues that affect vulnerable communities in Africa. This is because Africa is increasingly claiming space in the international forums to firm their position on the subject,” said Mwangi.