Malawi, Miriam Naphazi

“We are having a living nightmare here in Thyolo, Malawi”

by Miriam Naphazi

During my primary days, my friends and I used to enjoy life in so many interesting and cheap ways. Water wasn’t a problem and our river at my village was generous, giver and predictable. We would swim at it, drink from it, and nourishing ourselves and our fields from it. I remember that we used to swim in it, and from there we could come home with fruits like Guavas, Mango, Peaches and wild fruits like Matowo just to mention a few. Life was simple like that and water was not a problem, and it was the dream life. Gradually things started to change, population increased and people had to burn bushes and cut down trees for settlement. Little did we know how harmful this would end up into. Things started becoming scarce, talk of mere firewood which we used to collect from our nearby bush was no where to be found, talk of water, the River became polluted and it was not safe for drinking nor even swimming anymore.

  • A few years down the line, came heavily floods in 2015, which destroyed homes, talk of water quality it was unbearable, this was a new experience and it shocked everyone in our village. The next year something more strange happened, the River dried up as in there was completely no water and people had to walk on sand when crossing to the next village. More like a nightmare, this brought a very big problem of water as in we had to dig in the sand to get water and there were queues of more people waiting for the same water. Until date, during hot seasons people have to walk longer distances to get quality water and also wake up at 1 or 2am to boreholes to get water which is a big threat to lives of women and a girl child. Life in village is not interesting anymore as it used to be, what I’m trying to say is, climate change generally is influenced by human acts and worse still people in villages have no knowledge about the bad acts they just see it as a bad omen or some witchcraft happening.

We used to have normal rainfalls, but as of last year there were dry spells which led to declining of agricultural yields. Health impacts in cities due to heat and flooding and erosion in coastal areas are additional concerns. Talk of Corona Virus, this pandemic has destroyed the patterns of everything especially Education calendar. I was supposed to be graduating this year but the coming of the fourth wave have resulted into the postponement of my graduation. The long alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns in a place is known as Climate Change. The planet is warming, from North Pole to South Pole. Ice is melting each passing day, much of this melting ice is contributing to sea level rise hence more floods. And the impacts of rising temperature aren’t waiting for some far-flung future- the effects of global warming are appearing right now.

We can therefore come together, join hands and bring to an end of all human acts that are resulting into Climate Change. We can bring initiatives of tree planting like some are already doing, bringing in more awareness campaigns amongst youths and also bringing forth fines to industries that are much contributing to Climate Change. Our minds can be renewed, if we can discard negative sentiments, even the kinds of books we read determine whether we’re are feeble or robust in mind, we can come up with a lot of climate change booklets as well as magazines to help youngsters to be more active in the activities of bringing to an end the bad acts that results into Climate Change. Therefore everyone has to be on watch on one another because five years coming we can make this world a better place to be.

Miriam Naphazi

Miriam Naphazi is a determined young girl who studied Agro Food Processing at University of Lilongwe, Malawi. She is a proud member of MCCN and Green Girls Platform. She carries strong interest in subjects related to Agriculture and Environment.

Indonesia, Anindha W. Hapsari

Climate Change Killing Komodo: On the verge of Extinction, Indonesia

by Anindha W. Hapsari

On a dirt path into Komodo National Park in Indonesia, Resting some gigantic lizards known as Komodo Dragon. Theses dragons are now at risk of extinction because of Climate Change. As Climate Change is doing what millions of years could not have done for them; Pushing them for extinction in their dominant habitats. Climate change is not a new story; it is a long-term crisis that has affected most aspects of our lives and our planet, with the majority of the negative consequences referring to negative progression not only for the world, but also for our daily lives in our livelihood, whether in big cities, small towns, or even villages. As we all know, the impacts of climate change are felt in every country across the globe, including Indonesia. Then, for Indonesia, climate change has become a long-term crisis, beginning with a heat wave that can cause forest fires to floods that can hit big cities such as Jakarta, as well as rising sea levels that affect not only the land but also endangered animals such as the Komodo dragon.

  • On only four islands wide world live Komodo dragons. These four islands which located in Indonesia are Komodo, Gila Motang, Rinca, and Flores. In 1980, the national park was founded to be a nature reserves in order to protect the Komodo dragon. And later was declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Despite that, Komodo dragons have gone from “vulnerable” to “endangered” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. Climate Change has negative affect on these giant lizards and their natural and only habitats. It’s estimated that rising global temperatures and rising sea levels will reduce the Komodo dragon habitat by at least 30% over the next 45 years.

As we can see, the impact has been quite severe because it has also affected Komodo National Park in Komodo Island and its surroundings, including the Komodo dragon, and there are even many unspoken plans to move the Komodo dragon to another island, which may reduce the range of Komodo dragon habitats and potentially lead to the extinction of this species. Then, when I see that the fact shows that the Komodo dragon is on the verge of extinction, I am saddened and concerned, because conserving endangered animals is one of my personal concerns, and the Komodo dragon is one of Indonesia’s endangered animals. Furthermore, Komodo dragons play an important role in the ecosystem by maintaining the balance in the animal food chain, and the animal food chain is just as important as the human food chain. However, this is a matter for everyone, not just Indonesians, because we have a responsibility to protect our planet, including animals, especially endangered animals like the Komodo dragon from extinction that are playing a huge role on balancing our ecosystem. If these reasons aren’t convincing enough to persuade another human being about climate change and its impact on endangered animals like the Komodo dragon, we need to see how the chaos exists when we see the ecosystem, the imbalance at the animal food chain, and the number of damage itself on the Komodo dragon.

Aside from that, we humans have a commitment to uphold and ensure the sustainability of our environment, not only for humans but also for animals, particularly endangered species like the Komodo dragon. So, we have no right to dismiss our responsibilities if we are already aware of the upheaval and the dire state of the Komodo dragon as a result of climate change. Then, because of the state of our planet is deteriorating due to the increasing number of negative effects from climate change that are affecting not only our environment but also endangered animals such as the Komodo dragon in this case, we must step up and take action, even if it is on the smallest scale of solution implementation, to prevent further damage from occurring as events in the climate change impacts chains continue. Aside from that, who will go one step further to stop the destruction and prevent further damage in this crisis if not us? Last but not least, you should understand that when you have a voice and the ability to take action for a solution or to solve a long-term crisis such as climate change, we need to step up and use our voice as well as our ability to begin the crisis-solving process not only for the temporary and the privileged, but also for a long time period and for all because we have had enough pain and damage
from this crisis.

Aninda W. Hapsari

Aninda W. Hapsari is holding B.S in International Relations. She is a proud Indonesian who wants to make a meaningful and Impactful contribution for a better, brighter world for all living beings. She is an active program officer at AAYFO.

Cameroon, Noumbou V. E. Priscille.​

“An African Dilemma” : Climate Change story of Yaoundé, Cameroon​

by Noumbou V. E. Priscille.​

I remember years ago we were taught in elementary school that the climate in the central region of Cameroon had four seasons, a long and short dry season and a long and short rainy season. I remember that we generally cultivated twice a year from March 15, the date marking the beginning of the short rainy season and from August 15, the date corresponding to the beginning of the long rainy season. I remember that around the middle of October the markets were flooded with foodstuffs such as corn, beans, vegetables and tubers. I remember that the field that my mother and I cultivated every year produced corn in very large quantities to the point where a large part was left to dry in the field.

I remember my cocoa farmer neighbor boasting that he had harvested more than five tons of cocoa in his field. I remember those farmers who were happy to have a very good harvest. I remember that in my neighborhood there was a stream in which we bathed as children and where several households got water for their various household tasks. I remember that there were almost no water cuts. I remember that we could enjoy the sunshine while benefiting from vitamin D. For more than a decade, a bitter observation has been made in the entire central region and in all other regions of the country. We can no longer say with certainty that the climate of the central region has 4 seasons. We have noticed a general disruption of the rainfall, the rains are becoming increasingly rare and even when they fall, we are witnessing a real deluge associated with violent winds with spectacular floods. This results in crop failure due to drought and or destruction of crops by strong winds or hail.

The neighboring cocoa farmer who initially counted his harvest in terms of tons has only few bags left. Our maize production decreased over the years until he had nothing left to harvest. The absence of food on the market leads to inflation of the prices of agricultural products. Water shortages have become commonplace. This is due to the drying up of the rivers and the decrease in their flow. In addition, we are witnessing increasingly high heat spikes in the region. The sun is so aggressive that it burns your skin and makes you sick. All this is due to climate change and global warming. But why are we suffering so much from the effects of climate change when the entire African continent emits less than 4% of the world’s greenhouse gases?

Despite this almost insignificant contribution, we are the most vulnerable.  Many people still believe that climate change does not exist here, that it is a Western story. Others who have already become aware of the existence of climate change say that since Africa’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is insignificant, then we have no responsibility to fight it, it is the fault of the West, so it is up to them to take measures to stop it.  Except that while we are here looking for someone to blame, global warming continues to do damage. It is true that Africa contributes almost nothing to climate change, but we are nevertheless the most vulnerable to its effects. That is why, instead of looking for someone to blame, we must take a number of measures to deal with it. It all starts with awareness that leads us to change our behavior. We must focus on environmental education of the youngest by instilling in them values that respect the environment. We must set up measures to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change. For example, by reforesting, by reducing our waste production as much as possible because in Cameroon, poor waste management is one of the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions after agriculture and land conversion. Climate change is a reality in Yaoundé as it is everywhere else. We live it daily. We feel its effects every day, so everyone should do their part to fight it by adopting an eco-responsible lifestyle. Together we can slow down climate change and its devastating effects, so I am doing my part at my level. The more people who take action to fight climate change, the greater the impact will be.

Noumbou V. E. Priscille​

Ms. Noumbou V. E. Priscille is an Engineer, Social Facilitator and an environmental warrior. She is the Founding President of Veh-Hope association for promoting environmental education for the youngest. In her quest, she uses the 9th art (Comics) as away to educate on environmental protection and ultimately change habits to save the planet.

India, Priyanka Rampal

"We were stuck … It was a hailstorm in Delhi, India"

By Priyanka Rampal​

As students, we were first taught about climate in the 7th standard and about the climate change conditions in the 9th standard along with the reasons and long-term impacts of climate change on the life present on Earth. This means that kids at age of 10 are aware how climate change is affecting their future and yet, many of the adults refuse to believe that climate change is serious or even real … you would think they know better. To make sure we are on the same page, let me first tell what climate change is in brief. It is an effect on the local temperature and weather conditions of a place or region because of the changes occurring for a long time. This means that climate change doesn’t happen overnight or even in a year. As a matter of fact, it is the change in weather conditions over a period of 30 years.

Being the capital of India and the centre of convenience, many people from around the country come to Delhi and become a part of the busy and crowded state. This has made it a multicultural home for many people. However, the impact of this can be seen on the increasing industrialization and development which made Delhi a full-packed state.

Delhi is considered to be one of the greenest metropolitan states in India and yet, it ranks as one of the top states when it comes to the most polluted states in India. The cause remains emission of dangerous greenhouse gases as well as the increasing deforestation in and around Delhi. When I was in school, we studied about the holes in the Ozone layer which cause greenhouse effect, but maybe, this is the reason why no one ever took it seriously because it is not possible for the human eye to see the ozone layer with their bare eyes.

As someone who has been born and brought up in Delhi, over the several years of time I have noticed many changes in the patterns of seasons and weather conditions in the capital. Though the ones unaware of climate change can consider it an exception or a pleasant weather at times, it is very much the impact of climate change.

In 2019 February, Delhi NCR witnessed a heavy hailstorm. For the people inside their houses, it may be an asterisking moment to see so much ice on their terraces but for the people coming home from their offices or for the people outside, it became a situation they couldn’t avoid. The flights were diverted and many were rescheduled. It was highly unexpected as February is usually the end of winters in Delhi. Leave alone hailstorms, it is often an unusual event to have rain washing the roads during the late winners in Delhi, much less snow.

Just like the other Delhiites, it was my first time that I witnessed a hailstorm which didn’t just last for over an hour but also covered a distance of about 15 km at a time. I remember calling my friends who were stuck in the subways just like I was and couldn’t even take the rickshaws or e-rickshaws as the rain and hailstorm both made it difficult to commute via those.

Few days after that evening, most of the Delhiites forgot about the incident and the pictures became memes showing how Delhi had a whitewash and how the roads looked like roads from hilly terrains covered with their first snowfall.

It was neither the first time, nor the last that Delhi has witnessed such random changes in the weather. The monsoon delays and winters striking the capital early are some of the changes which have been noticed in the past years. Still the construction, deforestation, and industrialization do not seem to step back.

In 2020, the government passed an order to cut down 1000 trees in order to build the new parliament in Delhi along with the increasing pollution in the state. Moreover, the nearby states also suffered through deforestation for construction purposes and the forest fires made it worse for the environment. Checking the air quality and having an air purifier has become a common task for the people living in Delhi including me. 

Deforestation may not be the first cause of environmental changes taking place in Delhi but it is definitely a leading cause in worsening the conditions.  Although it is small amounts if you look at them separately, if I look at my early age, my Delhi has changed a lot. With the changing climate and weather, I have grown to learn more about the changes in my environment through which I managed to bring some facts and some experiences for my climate story.

Ms. Priyanka Rampal, Co-founder of 2 Solo Souls – Travel Channel. Hails from New Delhi, the capital of India. Being a student of literature, She’s not an environment enthusiast but share a common love for nature and would definitely love it more if she can make even the slightest change in the way others see it…

Malawi, Ayina Mwamadi

“2°C is suicide to us” : Climate Change Impact in Lilongwe, Malawi

by Ayina Mwamadi

Summer blooms its way in. I am happy to see the warmth it brings in my cold veins. The sun shines so bright, it continues to shine only to feel my heart now burning inside. I must say, I wish I could rewind my days back, wishing for a little snow fall, to cool the heat my body is burning from. I live in a small house where directly the heat is absorbed in my small space. The temperature is so high that it’s really hard to breath, I move outside all I see is a bare ground, I cannot find any shelter cause in my area the trees were cut. What can I do? I have nowhere to run to, I’m running out of breath.

Breathing fresh air was something I experienced long before. As I remember there was a lot of trees around me. I found it’s normal that I never complained about how the weather was out. I was living normally. In the months of November and December was the rainy season, by then I would see maize growing healthy, it’s green beautifying our environment, giving us food to eat. Today as I walk I see none, we are sitting down praying for the rains to come, it’s December but the rains are not falling, we have an extreme heat wave out here, while the growth of crops remains unpredictable.

Malawi's Water Woes

These days making a living is hard and living itself is hard. My food at home prepared with love, kept for the evening is heated, so much that it becomes spoiled before I would feed on it.  I am working in my home, I have things to read and write but see what I’m more concerned with. I’m being heated up, that it’s draining my strength. I sit there the next minute I found myself in another planet, sleep catches me quick these days. But as I sleep, the heat wave in the room is just too much. In the night, as I sleep the windows are left open to let some air in, only to let in mosquitoes, so my health is still compromised.

We are men and women, children and adults experiencing climate change effects. The water at home is not running as it should, we experience the shortage, and now we have to buy more water. Just early November the water prices have been raised. With the economy I’m living in its a burden, for me, for all of us. They said the lakes and river water levels are low. Water boards are having difficulties to pump enough water for all. When the water stops the grain of sand and mud comes along in our running water. So sad that we are prone to water borne diseases, and sometimes we are misusing water in waiting for it to start coming out more cleaner. You know, sometimes I stay waiting the whole day until the next day, but still the water comes out in the brownish colour. I can’t wait any longer, I’m forced to take it in. Little by little we are depleting man’s good health and wellbeing. We have NOWHERE to run to.

 2°C is suicide to us. I urge that we stand together and reconceive our vegetation to reach to 1.5°C.

Ayina Mwamadi

Ayina Mwamadi is a youth for climate justice from Malawi. She believes that when people are able to understand better, they would be able to tackle climate change issues more effectively. She's a member of Green Girls platform, a female-led initiative that works to achieve women’s participation in the environment. She's is the holder of a bachelor’s degree in Human Science and Community Services from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Ayina is passionate about women empowerment. She is enthusiastic about seeing young girls and women stand out as creators of change.

#MyMunakhStory

Climate change is the most pressing issue faced by the global community at present. However, collective action is yet to be mobilized adequately, and global attitudes towards the issue still lack a sense of urgency. Given that global warming is expected to reach almost 1.5 º C between 2030 – 2052, there is a need to prioritize climate change and make it central to global policy making.

As primary stakeholders of the future, the voice of the youth carries great weight within the discourse on climate change. Therefore, as global citizens and agents of change, the youth is responsible for raising awareness about sustainable practices and providing smarter solutions.  

#MyMunakhStory is an AAYFO initiative heralded by conscious youth from Asia and Africa to engender greater community engagement with the issue of climate change through personal narratives. These stories showcase lived and observed impacts of climate change, and are meant to create awareness and inspire action geared towards sustainability.