The march past which was a sign of solidarity and commitment towards Climate Justice in Zambia saw scores of people from the Civil Society, Government, Church communities, schools and the general public, coordinated by the ACT Alliance, match from the country’s Main Post Office to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
But much more importantly the occasion was graced by the participation of young people tasked with the responsibility to ‘Act Now’ for their future. Young cyclists who are part of the caravan cycling across Southern, Central and East Africa, for Climate Justice also took part in the march past.
“Everyone needs to care about the environment because cutting down of trees negatively affects our rainfall patterns and the levels of water in our rivers and lakes,” said Zambia’s key cyclist Allen Namukamba, who comes from a small town of Siavonga which has felt the negative effects of climate change. “Therefore Zambia needs to put in place measures to control the levels of charcoal burning currently taking place in our country,” he added.
JCP Zambia Country Representative, Mr. Steffen Erik Mey Rasmussen was present during the Church service and echoed the need nurture the environment. He said: “Climate change issues are serious issues worldwide and need concerted global cooperation and political will by world leaders.”
He added: “We need to deal with climate change from both an adaptation and mitigation perspective in order for us to have a win-win situation and increased financing towards climate change adaptation, is our cry as Africa.”
The Government of the Republic of Zambia also emphasised the importance of addressing climate issues as a nation. “Climate change has emerged as one of the most pressing issues in Zambia affecting socio-economic development,” said the Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Hon Christabel Ngimbu, in a speech read on her behalf by the Ministry’s Acting Permanent Secretary Mr. Lennox Kalonde.
“Issues such as drought have impacted negatively on the water levels of the major water bodies in Zambia and subsequently affecting the power generation capacity of the hydro power stations resulting in the current energy deficit the country is facing,” she added.
Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Suzanne Matale explained the roles that human beings play in Climate Change. “Climate change is driven by human activities and behaviour and we must find human solutions to halt climate change,” she advised. “Let us not forget the urgency to Act Now for Climate Justice because there is no way out of climate change without a will to change. This requires the will to give up social and economic practices that negatively impact our environment and climate,” she explained.
Faith groups and activists in Africa, united by the desire to prevent catastrophic climate change are calling on the Governments of Africa and the world to stand with vulnerable communities on the frontiers of the climate crisis.
An approximately 6,500 kilometers Pan African Cycling Caravan from Maputo to Nairobi was launched on August 29 in the Mozambican capital, Maputo and is currently in Zambia after passing through various African countries including South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. It will proceed to Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda before finally arriving in Kenya between November 8-14 this year.
The caravan also expects to raise one million signatures aimed at putting pressure on global and national leaders to act urgently and sustainably on the impact of Climate Change on the world and in Africa in particular. Story by Bellah Zulu