Earth Day: Climate Leaders in Action

Overcoming the grave danger currently facing the earth requires collective and individual action at all levels; grassroots, national and international levels. Earth day, celebrated on the 22nd of April each year, is an opportunity for governments, organizations and individuals to raise awareness and take meaningful action to protect the Earth and its biodiversity. This year, Earth Day was celebrated under the theme: “Restore Our Earth.” Here are all the highlights from African Climate Reality Leaders taking the #LeadOnClimate this Earth Day.

West Africa

Gloria Bulus and partner organisations

To commemorate 2021 Earth Day, Gloria Bulus, founder of Bridge that Gap together with her partners Dauda Fearon Memorial Medical Foundation, Extinction Rebellion, Citizens Climate Lobby, African Climate Reality Project, among others, paid a visit to the Kaduna State House of Assembly, and met with the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

The honorable Chairman, the Secretary, and a member of the committee received them well.

Gloria and partners presented an advocacy brief which expressed concerns for the environment  – the main  advocacy points, commendations, realisations and requests raised in the brief are outlined below: 

Advocacy points

Trees are described as the lungs of the earth; they filter the air and produce oxygen for humans and other animals to survive. Trees are also an important habitat for various life forms of plant and animal species whose existence is highly beneficial to the earth.

Unfortunately, various human activities such as urbanization, industrialization, deforestation etc. have critically damaged the earth  by destroying large tracts of forests and biodiversity, while also contributing to the extinction of a variety of flora and fauna. Kaduna State, once renowned for its forest in Tsonje, Nimbia, Kagarko, and Birnin Gwari districts, is now heavily deforested mainly due to urbanization and logging activities.

Commendation

The commendations contained in the brief recognised Kaduna State for its success  in passing the Kaduna State Forestry Law. The law has strengthened the Department of Forestry and related authorities to address deforestation and other challenges around the conservation of natural resources. 

Requests:

The Climate Reality leaders appealed to the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources to lead a multi-stakeholder campaign for a “Year of Action” on restoring Ecosystems in Kaduna State

The honorable chair appreciated their visit and promised to invite them again, urging them to make clear the areas they can better protect. A plant was presented to the house as a symbol of restoring the environment – one tree at a time.

Goodness Dickson 

Goodness Dickson is a Climate Reality Leader and  a member of the Eco Clean Initiative. He was trained as a climate reality leader in August 2020 , Goodness organised an awareness campaign on green technology targeting the ICT community development service in his country Nigeria . He spoke to them about green technology emphasizing its importance in  reducing the negative impacts of humans on the environment. He provided examples of green technology (solar, wind) urging the attendees  to take climate action by adopting green technology and raising awareness for climate action.

Hashirudeen Muhammed

To mark Earth day 2021, Muhammed, who became a Climate Reality Leader in August 2020, worked with the local community recycling champions to organize community clean ups across 6 states in 14 communities. Together, they recovered a total of 1,185 kg of plastic bottles across the 14 communities. The activities took place in Oyo State, Nigeria on the 24th of April 2021. 

Alhassan Sesay

Alhassan Sesay, trained as a Climate Reality Leader in 2020, celebrated Earth day by carrying out activities from the 21st to the 23rd of April 2021. Alhassan and other advocates visited three schools, namely Huntingdon, Joy and John Toma Secondary Schools in the western rural district of Sierra Leone. He spoke to students about various topics including food sustainability and ecosystem restoration.

Ibrahim Muhammad Shamsuddin 

Ibrahim Muhammad led a Break-Free from Plastic Initiative to sensitize school aged children on the need to take urgent actions to combat climate change. They decorated a parachute with their wishes for a better environment and also planted some trees at Heyik International school Kakuri, Kaduna on the 21st of April 2021. 

Southern Africa

Sunday Jeff

Sunday participated in a series of events from 22 April to04 May to mark the celebration of this day. Some of the activities included an interview with a radio station, participation in webinars and leading a tree planting program.

Below are more details about each of his activities:

Interview with Dash Media

On April 22, 2021, Sunday had an interview with Linda Obumneke fromDash Media, a radio station based in Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon. The interview focused on the dangers facing the earth and the ecological actions people and organizations can take to save the earth. An excerpt of this interview is featured in Linda’s Report published on Support Humanity Cameroon (SUHUCAM’s )YouTube Channel. You can listen to the excerpt via this link

Webinar organized by the Global Landscapes Forum

On April 29, 2021, the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) organized a digital forum under the theme: Nature-Based Solutions: How Restoration Can Support a Healthy Climate, Economy and Planet. The forum lasted over 4 hours and brought together experts and scientists from across 10 organizations including International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), World Agroforestry, FAO, African Union (Great Green Wall)  and others.

The main activities during this digital forum included presentations, panel discussions and live social media engagement. Presentations and discussions were organized under the topic: Fighting climate change through resilient forests and landscape restoration. Key messages from the presentations and panel discussions centred on the need for all stakeholders to work together, the importance of capacity building and making resources available for frontline communities and organizations. The event n highlighted the value of tree planting, with emphasis placed on  planting the right  trees at the right places. As a Global landscape Media Ambassador, Sunday actively participated in educating and engaging the public through live tweets and sharing information on Facebook with the hashtag: #RestoreTogether.

Tree planting Program

To end off his 2021 Earth Day Celebration, Sunday led a team of five volunteers on 4 May to plant trees on a degraded land in Bamunkumbit community in the North West Region of Cameroon; 500 trees (300 Wenge and 200 Gmaliagna) were successfully planted on that day. While mobilizing volunteers, Patrick, a deaf and dumb gentleman in the community, expressed his interest to join SUHUCAM’s team of field volunteers.

After the tree planting program, Sunday paid a courtesy visit to the Mbororo community leaders living around this degraded area.They briefly discussed the objective of the activities that had taken place and the importance of tree planting in fighting climate change, conserving catchment areas, providing shelter, enhancing food security and restoring degraded land. The Mbororo community leaders requested fruit tree seedlings to plant around their homes and Sunday is planning to take action on this.

Dane Armstrong 

Dane Armstrong, a climate reality leader and a member of the Eswatini Climate Coalition, participated in an online event under the theme –  Restore Our Earth: A conversation on development and sustainability. He was one of the key speakers in this event which took place on the 21st of April via zoom. 

Sean

Sean, a Climate Reality Leader based in Johannesburg, South Africa,  spent Earth Day cleaning the Hennops river. Sean organised a successful event with more than 100 Pretoria residents participating in the clean-up campaign in celebration of Earth Day. The campaign, aimed at restoring the polluted Hennops river, saw residents, various government departments, non-profit organisations (NPOs) and businesses joining project leaders of the Hennops Revival non-profit organisation to remove toxic waste along a stretch of the river.

Eastern Africa

Hassan Mowlid Yasin

Hassan Mowlid, a Climate Reality Leader and a  member of the Somali Greenpeace Association, partnered up with other organizations like the African Youth Initiative in Climate Change, Pan African Justice Alliance, African Network Youth Leadership for Peace and Sustainable Development,and Youth for Our Planet. These organisations planted 34 trees in Wadajir district in Mogadishu, Somalia.  Community members and some authorities of the Wadjar district participated in the tree planting event. All of this was done to showcase how important it is to restore Mother Earth.

David Sempala

David Sempala, Climate Reality Leader and our Regional Coordinator for the Eastern Africa region, spoke at an Earth Day conference.

A team of Climate Reality Leaders came together to attend an awareness campaign at Teete Prim Primary school in Uganda.

And lastly, Climate Reality Leader, Linda Sambwa, also took action on Earth Day by leading a tree planting event at Michuki park in Nairobi Kenya. 

Did you take the #LeadOnClimate this Earth Day? Let us know at [email protected]!