Uganda became a party...
Dressed in green climate change T-shirts 40 youth activists under the Climate Action Network* - Uganda (CAN-U) turn the third day of the climate journey from Bujumbura to Durban into a bash of smiles, music, dance, brass bands, national flags of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, climate change messages and marches through two towns Kabale and Mbarara. As one of the Kenyan caravinities Ann Makena said:
The Ugandans showed us how to party.
The organisers had chosen to focus all attention on amplifying their message: Speak up 4 Climate Justice. The events were planned to attract maximum attention from the media and to mobilise people in the public space.
After marching, the youth activists collected signatures to petition the African Presidents to step up to their responsibilities at COP17.
At first the crowd which gathered at the Municipal Ground in Kabale was a bit puzzled at it all. "Why should I sign, what do I get out of it?" 15 year-old Anomugisha Usher wondered.
For Uganda the future looks bleak from a climate change point of view.
In just 40 years Uganda could be without trees and reduced to a desert country according to Uganda's environmental body NEMA -National Environment Management Authority.
In just 40 years Uganda could be without trees and reduced to a desert country
Since 1990 30% of the forest has disappeared. If this development continues there will be no forest by 2050.
High population growth has caused massive reduction in forest stock. On average, a Ugandan woman gives birth to 6.9 children. This means that the population has risen from 25 million in 2002 to 33 million today. Tentative attempts at modernization in the energy sector have not kept pace with development and more than 70 percent of the population continue to use charcoal for cooking, if they do not cook on the bonfire, at the expense of the forest being cut down.
There are also other signs of the changes in the climate. Evidence suggests that the already visibly shrinking ice mass in the Rwenzori Mountains near the border with Congo could be completely gone in 25 years.
While the Caravan drove from Rwanda to Uganda, trees, rocks and soil from recent mudslides blocked half of the road.
In other words, there are all kinds of good reasons to drum up the issue of climate change in Uganda. Tomorrow will be another party; a concert with some of the hottest names of Uganda’s music scene!
* The Climate Action Network is a national network of over 200 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.
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