|Some of MAYA members after planting trees at Marymount Teachers college in Mutare|
A new trend is emerging in the country’s fight against climate change and its effects as youths continue to intensify the use of digital information technology in the fight against effects of climate change in the country.
Zimbabwe has been hit hard by a series of climate-induced disasters such as; droughts, pests, heat waves, cyclonic disasters like cyclone Eline (2000), Dineo (2017) and Idai (2019) which ravaged the Eastern Highlands.
Unicef Youth Climate Advocate Nkosilathi Nyathi told TellZim News that most young people were geared to advocate for climate related issues but Covid-19 has hampered the efforts.
“Covid-19 came at a time when most young people were geared to take the lead on climate frontlines, the pandemic has grounded us but that doesn't mean the fight for climate justice is grounded too.
“As a climate change Ambassador, I have not been able to have a face to face conversation with critical people due to strict Covid-19 restrictions, but I think it’s high time we take this thematic concern digitally. We have seen the light at the end of the tunnel through the use of social media to relay our message,” said Nyathi.
He added that inclusivity was a noble move in the construction of internet-connected youth centers especially in marginalized communities where young people are facing harsh realities of climate change.
“The issue at hand is for us to shape a more sustainable and a much resilient escape route with those on the ground, who are facing the harshest experience of this reality. To enhance more youth inclusion, there must be frequent outreach programs to remote areas where most young people are experiencing the realities of climate change. It is also vital to channel funds to build internet-connected youth centers and have more climate awareness programs,” he added.
Manica Youth Assembly (MAYA) environmental analyst, Mellisa Mhaka echoed the same sentiments saying that social media platforms were instrumental in raising awareness on climate change.
“We are doing awareness campaigns on environmental issues through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. We are educating people on how to react to natural hazards in the future.
“Also we have embarked on afforestation and reforestation projects in mountainous areas for example, we have the re-greening Mutare project in Dangamvura Mountain. This helps to reduce climate-induced disasters as they act as windbreaks and compact the soil. This also helps to reduce the intensity of climate change-induced hazards,” said Mhaka.
Climate shocks such as droughts, floods, heat stress, sea-level rise, storm damage, pests and other impacts can be more regular and intense if adaptation and mitigation are not implemented meaningfully and quickly.
Social Economic Action and Transformation for Humanity (SEATH) spokesperson, Tendai Mafuka said her organization was also using digital platforms to gather and disseminate information about climate change with Masvingo youths.
“Covid-19 regulations do not allow people to host gatherings, we are now using digital social platforms to collect ideas from others and sharing information on the four main issues. These issues include Agriculture, Forestry and other land uses (Afolu), Industrial processes and product use (IPPU), Waste Management and Energy. We are raising awareness through social media and getting into details of climate change and its effects,” she said.
Researches indicate that due to climatic changes surface water in the country will be reduced significantly by 2080.