African negotiators at Climate conference
Dec. 10, 2018 (GIN) – Dorothy Nalubega was far from home but close enough to the U.N. climate summit in Katowice, Poland, to give the 200 world delegates in attendance an earful of her views on climate change.
Nalubega was among thousands of protestors at the climate conference – the third such meeting since nations adopted the Paris climate agreement in 2015 when it seemed that developed and developing countries would share a path toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Nalubega, an activist from Uganda and a member of Global Greens, was among the crowds marching down the cold Polish streets, shouting “Wake Up!”, “Keep the Coal in the Hole” and other messages. Protestors were allowed only one day to march at the site of the 2-week long annual confab amid a heavy police presence.
Nalubega said greed was the cause of Africa’s environmental devastation – from industrial-scale sand mining degrading the Lake Victoria ecosystem to the vanishing Mabira forest, logged excessively by sugar cane planters. “So we are here today to tell our leaders to stop the greed and think about the generation to come.”
Makoma Lekalakala from Earthlife Africa said she was marching “to amplify voices of poor people all over the world demanding climate justice. We have no more time. This is time to act.”
Lekalakala, this year’s co-winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize was protesting nuclear power. It’s not a solution to climate change, she pointed out, and it should not even be considered.
In a year which saw record weather extremes and an extraordinary announcement from the UN that we have only 12 years to limit catastrophe, the need for meaningful progress has never been greater.
“We aren’t facing the end of the world… but if we do nothing to mitigate climate change then billions of people will suffer,” said Mark Maslin, professor of Earth System Science, University College London.
Patriciah Roy Akullo from ACT Alliance Uganda Forum said she was marching for action now. “We are having long droughts and flooding so the communities cannot grow crops. Children are not going to school because there’s no food at school. Their parents cannot afford school fees, because they don’t have crops to sell and raise money for their family. So the impact is quite grave.
“It’s not fair. It’s not climate justice. So that’s why the ACT Alliance is saying we want action now. Act now for climate justice.“