Botswana’s various stakeholders will on the 22nd November join the whole world by staging a ‘Climate Change Walk’ as a way of sensitising the world on the health of the planet. The Walk will start at 0800hrs from Riverwalk to Main Mall, where various awareness activities will take place.
The Climate Walk will take place in line with the ‘Week of action’ initiative, an Africa-wide annual initiative aimed at stimulating actions and reinforcing efforts to exercise the power of collective action ahead of COPs conducted in selected countries and capitals.
Conference Of Parties (COPs) are annual events where countries’ representatives meet to negotiate how best they can tackle the climate change phenomenon- evident in the current seasonal variations that contribute to harsh weather conditions such as drought, sporadic floods and frost bite. These often have adverse effects on crops which result in reduced yields. Rainfalls become more unreliable over the years, greatly affecting the inflows into the dams and other water sources. Gaborone dam’s dryness is a living example of this.
The walk is part of the build up to the 20th COP to be held in Lima, Peru later this year.
A statement from a local new organisation, Botswana Climate Change Network, which organised the event, indicates that, “Addressing the climate crisis requires profound social transformation in all countries and at all levels ÔÇô local, national and global. It requires a rapid shift to systems and methods of production and consumption that are compatible with the limits of the planet and aimed at meeting the needs of people rather than the relentless pursuit of profit.”
Furthermore, it requires immediate action by those responsible for climate change to make deep and drastic cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions and climate pollution, to stop false solutions such as offsets and carbon trading, and to mobilise finance and technology for people and communities most affected by climate change.
According to the statement, awareness campaigns and massive mobilisation of people everywhere, both in the South and North is the only sure way of generating a critical mass of citizens that are conscious of the health of the planet and are ready to take or demand action. Powerful elites, corporations and governments, particularly in the industrialised countries, have chosen to shift goalposts in meeting their responsibility and obligations, and thus have remained obstacles to social transformation.
It was at the realisation of this that thousands of people marched in the streets of Manhattan in support of just response to climate change.
Consequently, observers and analysts are scratching their heads to determine the exact outcome of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s High Level Leaders’ Summit on Climate Change, which was held on September 23rd, 2014, and brought all world countries to ‘announce their climate ambitions’.
The unprecedented Peoples’ Climate Summit held parallel to the UN Leaders’ Summit in New York, preceded by the historic march never seen before in the history of climate conferences was indeed a wake-up call to world leaders that citizens have lost hope with their endless rhetoric with no action. The changing climate has become the rallying point for unifying people from both the North and the South. The people have realised that the solution to climate change does not rely on their leaders, but communities themselves.