The Future We Want in Africa is one that Includes All!

By Hannah Ondiek, Communication Intern
African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET)

5th June 2012 is the World Environment Day themed ‘Green Economy: Does it include you?’. What comes to many people’s minds on this day are trees, plants and making the world green. This is only part of it but there is a lot more to the environment than that.
It never really occurs to us but we use the environment for everything because everything around us is our environment. The chair you’re sitting on, the phone you’re using, your lunch today, the means you used to get to work, everything we do involves the environment. We never think we matter in the fight for our environment. Does it include you? My answer is yes it does, if you’re in college, keep your school clean, if you’re a vender make sure the area around you is clean, if you’re a teacher, teach children on taking care of their environment, policy makers can come up with better policies on sustainable development and help increase investment in this area, politicians have an obligation to lead in the protection of it; those are only a few examples of what we can do, wherever we are.
The late Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Mathaai once stated that “the nature is unforgiving”. Climate change is a major problem worldwide and something must be done NOW! We can be like in her words hummingbirds, like the little bird that did everything it could to stop the forest fire; you and I are not too small to make a difference:
How many of us recycle, well, in the developed world this is a normal term but in developing countries it is something foreign to many except the few who take it upon themselves to do it. It is in the simplest things like recycling, not leaving water running, walking or cycling instead of using cars that burn fuel, using solar panels in homes instead of electric heaters, or in big things like constructing green environment friendly buildings. For more possible actions, click here.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) defines the Green Economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. This means that it reduces pollution while still improving the lives of the human race and biodiversity. For more information, take a look at UNEP’s website.
As we look forward to the Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development from 20th – 22nd June 2012, whose themes will focus on (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development, CSOs- including women’s rights activists are keen to see real outcomes and real efforts that improve the lives of the people and includes the participation and engagement by all – women and men, young and old, as well as those living in the urban and in the rural areas. This is the future we want!
Happy World Environment Day!!

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