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By Ntalasha Chisha, Youth Facilitator.
The Fifth Zambian Children’s Climate Conference (ZCCC5) kicks off Today Monday 10th December,2012.The curtains will close down on the 14th. The opening ceremonies takes place tommorow on the 11th and District Commisioners are expected to grace the occassion. The perfomances for the opening ceremonies will be spiced by the Delegates under the guidance of the barefeet Team.
The conference will attract 125 Child Delegates from 5 districts of Zambia. This time around the set up of the conference has been decentralized and the conferences will take place in the 5 districts simultaneously.
The five districts are MANSA in Luapula province, MONGU in western Province, SOLWEZI in North Western province, KABWE in Central Province, and KITWE in the Copperbelt. Copperbelt province branch Education officer (Mr. Chikanya Fidelis) for Wildlife Conservation Society of Zambia echoed on how good the conference is to the child delegates. In an Interview with ZCCC times Child Journalist he said the conference serves as a platform on which foundations to fight climate change are built. Look at this, every house needs a foundation before it is built. This conference is building future leaders.
A child delegate who arrived at Mansa Lodge for the training as early as 07:30 hrs looking in a high mood said she can’t wait to get started, this is a dream come true.
The conference which was first held in April 2010 seeks to raise awareness on not only Climate Change but also HIV and AIDS. It falls under the Unite4Climate programme and has trained over 600 child climate ambassadors to date from around Zambia.
A POEM BY REUBEN NYAMBE, 14 yrs Old. Livingstone
I walk in the streets,
They are bare and lifeless,
I see that, The heat is unbearable,
The dust is chocking,
The plants are dry,
I see no children running around playing,
I see only a world that looks like a desert,
And that is how I see my community in the future,
Because nothing is being done to stop the damage,
But I can change all that by simply re-using,
Reducing and recycling,
I can make a difference if I educate my community,
I can change the future of my community,
And when I do…
I see flowers blooming,
I see children at play with smiles,
I see ants happily marching to the hills,
I see a beautiful world with colour,
I see change in my future,
Because I educate my community
13 year old Lukwesa Mulenga of Mazabuka Girls High School(Southern Province) speaks her mind at the Conference in this moving piece of writing.
Deforestation, which is the cutting down of trees, is a major environmental problem. It alters local and global climate because when trees are cleared, they are burnt or left to rot. Carbon dioxide is then released into the atmosphere and this causes the greenhouse effect.
The water cycle has also been affected by climate change. Some of eh water in eh ecosystem is stored in plants. When trees are cut down, the amount of water is reduced hence leading to drier climate.
Soil erosion is the loss of top soil due to wind or water. The removal of this soil degrades farmlands and renders them useless for agriculture; catchment areas are also adversely affected.
Forest clearance has threatened the existence of species which depend on forests for food and shelter. As a result of forest clearance, many animals have lost their natural habitats and have gone extinct.
Deforestation effects can be minimized by sensitizing people on the importance of trees and also by using environmentally friendly methods such as mulching.
VOTE OF THANKS
BY KATONGO KAMPAMBA, 14yrs, Grade 9, St. Raphael’s Secondary School, Livingstone
The Deputy Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.
The UNICEF Representative, Dr. Uhaa.
The organizers of the training
Fellow delegates and chaperones
Ladies and gentlemen.
I am sincerely grateful and humbled to have this rare opportunity to address you.
Firstly, I would like to thank the government and UNICEF for organizing this very important training on climate change and HIV prevention. This training will be of great help to us ambassadors, our schools and our communities at large, we will be helped to see how we can do things differently in order to protect our environment. We will do this by raising awareness in our community so that we can achieve social economic development and a quality environment.
I would like to urge my fellow delegates to take to heart the things we shall learn from this training and to demonstrate in our community that we are climate change ambassadors.
I would like to ask the government of Zambia and UNICEF to support the efforts by the ambassadors and the community to implement the various things we shall learn in order to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We as children can make a difference and our time is now.
In conclusion, I would like to say thank you very much and we hope to have another opportunity to learn more about climate change.
“As a Climate ambassador, It is my duty to make sure that I advocate for the Environment and urge people to avoid activities that prove harmful to our environment” – DAVID HAMAKAU, SOUTHERN PROVINCE.
“In the short period I have been here, I have learnt that Zambia was the second most deforested country world wide in the years 2010-2011. This is sad, really sad. we all need to sensitize our communities. Am very lucky to be aware. Am happy to be a climate ambassador” – LAWRENCE KANYANDA, MAZABUKA.
“We have changed our climate , We are responsible for this, We have to mend that which we have broken.We have to do the right thing and fix our environment. We have to sensitize the people to stop breaking our Environment” – LUKWESA MULENGA, MAZABUKA