Sunday, November 29, 2020

Climate Change network

Tracy Sony, Coordinator of the Botswana Network for Climate Change has expressed satisfaction on the outcome of the walk her organisation organised the past weekend.

The walk started at Riverwalk mall Post Office, ending in front of the President’s Hotel at the Gaborone main mall. There the Network interacted with members of the society on issues related to global warming and climate change.

“We have sent invites to different government departments and Non-Governmental Organisations to participate in this important event. But just as you have seen, the turn-up was low. This is however the beginning, and having more than ten participants is a good start; more so that most of the participants are youth who are still energetic and capable of bringing more participants in the future,” said Sony.

In an interview alongside the interaction session, Sony said her NGO comprised various organisations involved mostly in environmental conservation and global warming related issues. They have partnered with tertiary institutions like the University of Botswana and the Botswana College of Agriculture for what she termed, ‘kick-start climate change campaign’.

With the research that the institutions direct, the network is able to work with government departments in compiling information that would ultimately help in formulating climate change policy.

“We are doing some interviews with different stakeholders in this climate change subject. We are compiling a booklet ‘Green pathway for Botswana’, which is about helping Batswana understand the climate change situation in the country. The booklet highlights incepts on what can be done to tackle climate change based on daily activities of people,” she said. She added that looking at Botswana’s situation on Climate Change the country’s populace knowledge of the subject is not bad.

That is why she and her organisation are interested in keeping people abreast of the findings of researches from grass root level. Her organisation is equally willing to engage indigenous communities. This is where they have partnered with the college of Agriculture on ‘smart agriculture’, which they are embarking on in Gantsi.

In as much as they made it known to the society on that day during the walk that: “We, the inhabitants of planet-the powerless, the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots’, the young and the old- have no other planet and should work together to preserve it”, the network’s objectives include empowering and strengthening community participation in climate change agenda and mitigation activities in the country.

Sony points out the fact that China is the largest greenhouse gas polluter in the world while Africa remains one of the most vulnerable continents to the impacts of climate change.

“The continued burning of fossil fuels will inevitably lead to further climate warming; changing temperatures and precipitation regimes will likely cause local extinctions of crop wild relatives as suitable ecosystems will decrease or disappear. Wetlands will be negatively affected where there is decreasing water volume, higher temperatures and higher intensity rainfall,” Sony said.

Furthermore, she elucidated, climate change results in reduced food production globally, leading to higher food prices and making food less affordable for poor people. So promoting environmental education through public awareness programs helps in creating an environment friendly and conscious nation.

She gave a challenging example which she said research has proven to be a fact. She said; “By 2050, three per cent of Africa’s land will no longer be able to grow maize and will transition from mixed crop and livestock systems to livestock-only farming systems.”

She highlighted that climate change may affect food systems in several ways, but the community needs to adapt.

“Use species with greater drought tolerance; livestock are more resistant to climate change than are crops because they are mobile and can travel to fine feed. Soil management has the potential to increase crop yields when using organic fertilisers. A clean future deserves the cleanest form of energy,” she concluded.

From bathing, to jogging, to reading, then driving, to socialising…every lifestyle should cater for climate change. Adoption of renewable energy sources equals zero net emissions.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard November 29 – 5 December

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of November 29 - 5 December, 2020.