On Friday 20 September millions of young people worldwide, joined by business people, NGOs and individuals who care for the environment marched for action to combat climate change. If decisive and immediate action is not taken by governments, industry, agriculture, civil society and individuals, the world is headed for a temperature increase of 5°C by the end of the century, and 8°C in the next. That spells annihilation for mankind and most of the species on earth.
There were large marches and demonstrations in the USA and Australia, which have been ravaged by tornadoes, wildfires and drought. There were marches in Europe. People across Africa also demonstrated. In Windhoek a small protest of about 200 people, mostly from schools, marched from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to Parliament and to the Municipality. Sadly, the only conservation or environmental organisations represented were the Namibian Environment and Wildlife Society and Eloolo.
Petitions were handed in to a Director at the MET and to the Secretary to the National Assembly, and finally to the Mayor of Windhoek, who noted the importance of combatting climate change. Trees were planted at all three locations by Eloolo, the Namibian permaculture organisation.
Fridays for the Future grew out of the lone climate strike by schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, and have become a rallying point for young people to demand that governments act to protect the future of humanity, and the countless species being lost by the day, and the forests burning, now, in the Amazon. This is what some young people in Windhoek had to say on Friday:
Vincent: There is constant drought, there is constant heat. We need to stop ignoring this. It is our future, our kids that are going to be devastated. Species are dying out right now. Trees are being cut down. We really need to do something right now.
Ignatius: We are really in a deep crisis. We need a completely different mind-set for our children and our grandchildren.
Margaret: Climate change is happening. Seventy per cent of Namibians are young people. If we don’t speak up now, we won’t have a future. The least we can do is leave the Earth as we found it.
Georgina: I am severely affected. I come from a communal area in Namibia. The rains come later and we have no food security. The rivers are drying up. We have to buy water. So instead of taking this to the UN and what not, we are taking action ourselves and going to government officials and telling them that you are killing our planet and our livelihoods.
Natasha: Things are looking devastating. We are the future. If we don’t take action now we are all gonna die.
Hans: I’m here just to remind the government that we have a lot to do to fight climate change. As little as Namibia is, we can do our part in order to fight climate change and we can be a part of the global community.
Christian: I am here today because I want to make a difference, even if it is small. I want to show the world, especially my country, that climate change can be conquered.