Youth all over the world have been raising their voices around the increasing global climate crisis. Inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, young people have organised locally, and globally to raise awareness on this matter. In Kampala, 22-year-old Vanessa Nakate has recently taken on an environmental cause which the world is ignoring – the Congo Rainforest.
In a phone interview, Vanessa explains why she took on advocacy for climate change.
Nakate adds that the main effects of climate change in Uganda are unpredictable rain patterns. Meteorologists are projecting an increase in temperatures in different regions of the country. While the Ugandan economy mostly survives on agriculture, Nakate says the sector is affected by these rain patterns.
Vanessa has done extensive research on climate change which is not taught as a topic in schools yet it is happening in reality. She adds that climate change is only taught as a theory to students.
During the research, Nakate discovered the school climate strikes. These Fridays for Future strikes were started by Thunberg outside the Swedish parliament and they spread across the world. Young people left their schools on Fridays to demand action from their governments and other decision-making bodies. This resulted in the global climate strikes that took place in September 2019.
“It was something new and it was a great way of demanding climate action from political leaders. I started my strikes in January so I’ve been striking for 44 weeks so far,” said Nakate.
Despite the lack of support for the government and even the media, Vanessa is determined to continue raising awareness about climate change. She was recently on a solo strike at the Media Challenge Expo armed with her placard in a room with panelists, academia and journalism students.