Pick more relevant art to show impact of climate change

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Pick more relevant art to show impact of climate change


Summary

  • COP26 rocketed the political prominence of climate change for many countries but for the bulk of Africa, it continues to lag a heavy focus on party politics, security and human development.
  • One problem lies in the representation of climate change by the media, which often either creates a perception that the problem is too big to tackle or minimizes the importance of the situation.
  • We need a grassroots movement to build an Afro-centric narrative for climate change, one that not only roots the problem in Africa but celebrates the homegrown solutions that are emerging.

Many Kenyans found it bizarre seeing rain in January, the well-known hot month. Many Africans face a mix of prolonged dry spells or heavy long rains. This trend is worrying, especially for economies reliant on agriculture.

Climate change is affecting the way we live yet the public understanding of climate-related issues is still too low to enable effective adaptation and the sense of urgency is strangely muted.

COP26 rocketed the political prominence of climate change for many countries but for the bulk of Africa, it continues to lag a heavy focus on party politics, security and human development.

The irony is it has a bearing on all these things yet it remains a potentially explosive elephant in the room, representing the most serious existential threat to humanity and the planet. Tackling this, creating a candid conversation about the stakes and the solutions, is critical.

One problem lies in the representation of climate change by the media, which often either creates a perception that the problem is too big to tackle or minimizes the importance of the situation.

The pictures presented by polar bears and melting glaciers depicts a problem that is not relatable to many people here. Perhaps it’s time to stop scaring, guilting and imploring and start bearing witness to the catastrophes unfolding right around us.

What we need are real images of the day-to-day effects of the impact of climate change.

For example, local artists painting murals in their communities, musicians writing songs about how climate change will change the world around us, our relationships with the world and with each other, local media dedicating space in every newspaper and broadcast for at least one climate- related story.

We need a grassroots movement to build an Afro-centric narrative for climate change, one that not only roots the problem in Africa but celebrates the homegrown solutions that are emerging and underlines the global leadership role we must play.

Gabon story

As Egypt hosts COP27 this year, it is time for African nations to lead the way in closing the adaptation gap. African countries have already taken significant steps in the adaptation journey.

In June 2021, Gabon became the first African country to receive payment for reducing carbon emissions and three months later, it passed a Climate Change Law, which enables the trade of carbon credits.

Each credit is equivalent to the nation sequestering or avoiding the emission of 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide.

In Kenya, the Climate Change Act 2016 requires the formulation of a National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP), which shall be reviewed every five years.

In September 2021, South Africa also passed a Climate Change Bill to facilitate the country’s transition to a greener economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2020, Rwanda also submitted to the United Nation its emissions-cutting plan.

These stories need to be told so we build confidence in our ability to solve the complex issues related to climate change.

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