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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid