News / Africa

Ugandan Children Provide Fresh Perspective on Climate Change

Ugandan schoolchildren end the International Children’s Climate Change Conference by planting seedlings, Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)
Ugandan schoolchildren end the International Children’s Climate Change Conference by planting seedlings, Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)

Last weekend Uganda hosted the first Children's Climate Change Conference, where hundreds of young delegates shared their ideas on how to tackle a growing global problem.  
 
Eleven-year-old Neolla Taaka is pretty sure that sooner or later, her life is going to be affected by climate change.

“I would think that most people around would not be able to get enough food, the drought would be high, we may be forced to migrate.  But also I would think that the lifestyle of people would change.  Like, if you have been having enough water to drink you would not be able to, you would have to walk long distances," said Taaka.

A young delegate plants a seedling at the end of the International Children’s Climate Change Conference, Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)A young delegate plants a seedling at the end of the International Children’s Climate Change Conference, Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)
x
A young delegate plants a seedling at the end of the International Children’s Climate Change Conference, Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)
A young delegate plants a seedling at the end of the International Children’s Climate Change Conference, Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)

Last Saturday, Taaka and her classmates presented their thoughts on climate change to an audience of their peers.  This was the International Children’s Climate Change Conference in Kampala, Uganda, reportedly the first of its kind.

The conference was organized by Joseph Masembe, who runs a local organization called Little Hands Go Green.  He says he was looking for a way to make the concept of climate change relevant to ordinary Ugandans, an idea he got two years ago while attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Doha.

“When I sat there it was greenhouse gas emissions, and these people have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and the Bali conference, and on and on.  But I looked at the average Ugandan and I thought, ‘What can they do?  Let us get the simple aspects of it.  Let me create a climate change conference that is hinged around children,'" said Masembe.

More than 200 children came from schools around Uganda, including international schools; Masembe says 35 nationalities were represented.  Each school gave a presentation on how Ugandans can help tackle the global crisis.

“Some of your vehicles, when you are driving around town, the vehicle it is just producing only dangerous gases and it can not stop producing them.  So, I would advise you to discourage movement by vehicles over short distances.”

Masembe says he was impressed by what they had to say.

“I am actually shocked at where these children got all these ideas, because we do not have environmental conservation education in the national curriculum.  It is not there at all.  Because you see, we are naturally endowed, so we do not realize that we are losing our on our vegetation cover.  We believe it is there.  We are the Pearl of Africa, and people just wake up and live like that," he said.

But he says the effects of climate change are already being felt.

“Weather patterns have started to change a lot.  Farmers in the villages are telling you that the rainy season is not what it used to be.  Now we have torrential rains, we have mudslides.  When it rains in Kampala places get flooded.  This was not the trend before," eh said.

Young delegates like 10-year-old Patricia Gukiina were not impressed with how adults have been handling the environment.

“I think they do not take into practice what they say," said Gukiina. "They tell us to plant trees, but they do not.  [They say] ‘do as I say, but not as I do.’”

Taaka hopes even though they are still kids, her generation can change that.

“When kids are involved the adults can think, ‘Hmm, how can they be younger than us and yet they are doing it?’  If they are involved they will inspire other people to do it," said Taaka.

Masembe plans to make the conference an annual event, and to eventually hold regional conferences around East Africa.  Such events help plant the seed of environmentalism in the next generation, he says, one young delegate at a time. 

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs