Roy Paya, Programs Manager at Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation, believes that as we begin the year 2016 everyone should take it upon themselves to learn more about climate change, in line with the resolution of the 21st Conference of Parties on Climate Change, commonly referred to as COP21.
The conference gave the world renewed hope and optimism that it is possible to control temperatures. The resolution urged people to come together and demonstrate their ability to solve problems that are threatening the very existence of planet earth. Paya feels that as a country, Botswana seems to be lagging behind in this endeavor, hence his call to arms for all Batswana to join the global fight against climate change. Batswana’s cavalier attitude towards climate change, says Paya, is reflected in their lifestyle choices that are often detrimental to the environment.
“I honestly feel like our government and private sector are not doing enough to educate society on the need to live as green as possible. There is simply not enough investment on disseminating information and campaigning for a more environmentally friendly way of living,” Paya said.
He said government especially should be at the forefront in ensuring that the ordinary Motswana understands that global warming is not a political issue but a matter of lifestyle choices that requires contributions from individuals.
“The underlying causes of climate change are technologies that steer economic growth as well as consumption and production patterns. Globalization has not only resulted in the destruction of the environment, but has also led to reducing it to a mere commodity. It is therefore important to analyze climate change as a systematic, socio economic and political problem rather than a purely environmental issue,” he said.
Paya believes there should be concrete political steps towards fighting global warming. He added that the issue of climate change is about lifestyle choices versus the environment, which underlines the need for guidance to enable Batswana to join the rest of the world I fighting climate change.
“The ordinary Motswana needs to fully understand how extremely vulnerable to climate change they are. The most critical impacts are evident today; increasing water scarcity and the escalating burden on women from rural poor communities to cope with the burden of climate change. Sadly, these women have contributed very little to this calamity, which is undoubtedly unjust,” said Paya.
He believes what Botswana needs are practical solutions to the water crisis because it is indeed an emergency. He also raised concerns about the indifference of Botswana youth to issues of climate change.
“Youth here seem more interested in wealth accumulation and unfortunately they do this at the expense of the environment. Sadly the few who are willing to act on issues of climate change rarely get the support they need,” he said.
He said women on the other hand seem to be challenged because of issues of empowerment, which makes them unable to take the lead in the fight against climate change.
“Media can also act as a positive role player in raising awareness and educating people about climate change. The bottom line is we all need to stand up and eagerly tackle this issue while we learn from our past mistakes ensuring that history does not repeat itself,” he concluded.