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

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid