Science

Hear the suffering of children affected by the climate crisis – Sciences et Avenir

The new UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, young climate activist Vanessa Nakate, is called upon to “amplify” the voices of children on the front lines of the fight against global warming so that their suffering is not just “statistics”.

“In my path as an activist, I always thought that every activist has their own story, that every story brings a decision and that every decision can change a life,” a young Ugandan man, 25, told AFP.

By founding her organization Rise Up Movement, joining Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in her fight for climate change, she helped create “a platform to spread these activists’ stories.”

“I hope to continue to do the same, to expand, to serve as a platform for the stories of these children that I met in Turkana (the region of Kenya from which she returned, editor’s note), the children of Uganda and many others around the planet who are suffering due to climate crisis,” she explains at UNICEF headquarters, which on Thursday appointed her as a goodwill ambassador.

Amplify their voice, but don’t be their voice, she insists, because “everyone has their own voice, their own history and their own experience.”

“But the real question is + is anyone listening to what we are saying? Is anyone paying attention? +”.

The young woman has just visited UNICEF hospitals and nutrition centers in Turkana, a region of Kenya that, like much of the Horn of Africa, has been hit by a dramatic drought that highlights the area’s vulnerability to climate hazards. warming.

– “annoying” –

“I have seen many children suffering from severe malnutrition due to this drought,” she says. One of them didn’t last the night, she found out the next day.

Meeting with these residents, “from the statistics written in the articles, you move on to the reality of what is happening on the ground,” the girl emphasizes. These suffering children and mothers “are the face of what is really happening.”

And proof that “more money is needed to reach more mothers, to help more children get treated for malnutrition.”

Now the activist hopes to be able to listen to the stories of other children in other crisis regions around the world.

Climate activist Vanessa Nakate at the Unicef ​​New York office on September 14, 2022. (AFP – Ed JONES)

According to UNICEF, about a billion children in the world live in one of 33 countries classified as countries at “very high risk” of climate change impacts.

While droughts, floods, hurricanes or heat waves will multiply under the influence of global warming, which is not enough government action to contain, a world occupied by Ukraine or Covid-19 “does not pay enough attention to climate problems.” Vanessa Nakata said. “It’s frustrating.”

Moreover, for her, all the crises facing humanity are interconnected and therefore must be resolved simultaneously. “It’s a puzzle. If a piece of the puzzle is missing, the puzzle will never be completed.”

“World leaders must understand that the Earth is like a home for all of us, a roof. And we have to make sure that this roof is everywhere in good condition and does not leak,” she continues.

“Because any leak on any part of the roof will eventually affect everyone in the house. Maybe not right away, but in the end everyone will suffer.”

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