Climate change is one of the biggest challenges to sustainable development in the world over and Africa in particular. The emergence or recognition of climate change as a serious threat to sustainable development has led to the drive towards climate resilient/compatible development. Climate change creates elevated levels of uncertainty about our future and amid this uncertainty, one thing is certain. We will leave the Earth to our children, young people and future generations. Young people are increasingly aware of the challenges and opportunities that the necessary transition to low carbon growth entails, and many are joining the global dialogue on solutions, getting involved and taking action. As young people work across the globe to determine their future by acting on climate change, their actions inspire us all.
Work by and for young people is a critical component of raising political ambition to achieve our nationally determined contributions and the Paris Agreement at large. The youth fit into the climate change and development equation, both as victims and also as solution providers. The youth are victims to climate change because current effects of climate change are a result of current and past human activities. Though the youth from different parts of the world are affected differently depending on the severity of these effects and also the resilience of their communities there is one thing in common, they did not contribute to the current climate change.
The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The massive challenge but also the vast prospects of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary. Climate change now represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.
At the end of 2020, countries including Ghana will be expected to increase their nationally determined contributions to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The time is now for us the youth to call for greater global ambition to tackle our climate crisis and take more action towards combating climate change.
Without the youth taking more climate action with urgency and ambition, we are entrusting present and future generations to a dangerous future. Earth Day 2020 challenges the youth especially in Ghana to take seriously our job as caretakers of our natural environment. It inspires us to think of more than just our own sustenance to act on behalf of this planet we share and all its inhabitants.
As we celebrate World Earth Day today, we especially the youth, ought to reflect and ask ourselves; if Earth Day 2020 makes you think about how you can do more to make sure the air, we breathe is clean and the water we drink is pure, then it is doing its job. If Earth Day 2020 gets you to nerve-wracking about the security of our food supply, biodiversity, or of our health, then it is serving its purpose.
In this light, Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities believes that as the world and Ghana marks World Earth Day 2020 with the theme “Climate Action’’, intensive action is urgently needed to raise Ghanaians’ awareness of the impact of climate change and build resilience of communities to overcome the climatic impacts they are faced with. Education must also be used to forge a positive change in our attitude in building resilience mostly among young people.
We believe that government should set up a Climate Trust Fund to support innovative climate actions of young people and more importantly the implementation of our nationally determined contributions. We believe that the trust fund should be resourced with voluntary contributions from industry and industry players, government and other donors; and these contributions should be tax exempt.
While there are various policy directives geared towards our integrated response to climate change, our inability to coordinate all climate change action efforts and the complexity of the situation makes it difficult despite government’s provision of a clearly defined pathway for dealing with the challenges of climate change within the current socio-economic context of Ghana, and looking ahead to the opportunities and benefits of a green economy.
AERC is of the view that, the youth and rural communities must rise up in a cohesive call for the creativity, innovation, drive, and designs that we need to meet our climate crisis and take hold of the opportunities of a zero-carbon future.
AERC is therefore making a passionate appeal to government, all civil society organizations and the general public to join the call to climate action.
Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities (AERC)