Join us this week as we chat with Sarah Voska, Director of ClimAcademy at Care About Climate. We will delve into climate action in the US, Sarah’s experience in empowering and educating young people about climate change, and also discuss how the pandemic has impacted the ability to advocate for climate change and policies in the States.
One on One with Manal Bidar
Join Robert and Maria Horne as we interview Ms. Manal Bidar, a young Moroccan climate activist and advisor to the Moroccan Youth Government. We will catch up on what inspires Miss Manal and her thoughts on climate action and economic growth in her country.
One on One with Yugratna Srivastava
Yugratna Srivastava is the current Global South focal point for UNEP Major Group for Children and Youth UNEP MGCY, the official youth constituency to the UN Environment. She is also a strong advocate for youth engagement at the policy level in both climate and environment.
I sit down with her to discuss some pertinent issues in the youth advocacy space and also glean some wisdom from her years of lobbying within the United Nations.
For a Peaceful, Just and Equal World 🕊
Hi! I had the lovely opportunity of being invited to speak at the WPIMUN 2020 summit (virtually of course) on the topic of racism. I would like to share with you my speech, if just to give some hope to a few people. Enjoy!
As the world faces a global pandemic, we are also dealing with the intricacies of social and civil injustices. Today I would like to address one of the fore-front egregious issues – racism.
21st Century Racism
The recent death of George Floyd has woken up a long and often silenced discussion amongst the black and white community. Namely that – is everyone deserving of equal treatment? The absolute answer to that is a resounding Yes. Yes, everyone of every color, ethnicity and background deserves equal and fair treatment free of discrimination and segration. Yes a young black man should not be afraid to envision the same bright future that a young white man dreams of today. Gone are the days when coloreds were considered debase, and stuck in holes as punishment for their disobedience to their Masters. Gone are the days when young women knotted their hair to hide information from their Masters (mass’ers) in hopes of communicating songs of freedom to their brothers and sisters. Gone are the days when white folk unleashed rabid dogs onto black populations to tear them apart and the KKK was alive and kicking.
COVID-19, Adaptation and the New Norm
It’s been a whirlwind of events, emotions and just life! 2019 was incredible, magical, unexpected, rewarding. And I planned to continue this trait as the sun began to rise on 2020. Shoring up plans, reading up on policy documents, signing up for events, and ramping up our fundraising efforts. Best laid plans right?
In reflection I have learned so much about how we as humans adapt to the unknown, and I have been able to dig deeper into my life purpose, both personal and professional. I guess I could say the lines blurred a little too much the past year, and I did lose sight of the simple things, got so caught up trying to be the best, and stay ahead that I forgot what truly matters. Love – loving the people that love you, loving yourself, and loving life.
A UNEA Affair
The Fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly took place between 11th – 15th March 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. But really to witness the informal negotiations, a lot of stakeholders, myself included, arrived a week before the official assembly. Again a first for me, I learned quite a lot about navigating negotiations in a UN environment (pun intended).
Demanding for a Greener Africa – Statement
I had the privilege of attending the Africa Climate Week that took place from the 18th – 22nd March, 2019 in Accra Ghana. Thanks to the cooperation and collaboration of agencies and organizations like the UNFCCC, GCF and PACJA, youth engagement was meaningful and a success. Below is the a copy of the Climate March Statement written for YOUNGO during the March on 21st March, 2019. I am humbled to have helped pen this down.
Everyday, youth around the world are gearing up to demand for climate justice and climate action. The growing movement is now in Africa, with young people taking to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to place pressure on their governments to increase ambition.
But, it is not just about increasing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), or sitting in boardrooms in front of policymakers to talk about our continental Adaptation Plans. It is about securing our future, protecting our livelihoods and saving the one planet that we call home.
We walk on the streets to demand for change. We walk on the streets to put a face to this terror. Climate Change is no longer a myth. It is that dark monster knocking at our doorsteps in broad daylight telling us that maybe tomorrow the homes of our brothers and sisters in small island developing states may get washed away by rising sea levels.
Hot on Heels at COP 24
I start this blog post with that provocative title because this was literally my experience at my very first COP 24 session in Katowice, Poland. For those who may not understand some of the abbreviations allow me to give a quick intro:
COP – Conference of Parties
UNFCCC – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
YOUNGO – Youth NGOs also the official youth constituency to the UNFCCC
PAWP – Paris Agreement Work Program
I got into the whole COP negotiations coffee-crazed, sleep deprived, life changing session because of a thing my organization did with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. That is another story for another day. So this thing, allowed me to earn the privilege of participating in the GSCSY (sorry another acronym) short for Global South Climate Scholarship for Youth, where I met amazing youth advocates from all over the world, literally. I am talking three continents from the global south with a rich diversity in culture and the way we all view how climate change affects us.
Demistifying AI… and LIFE
What is the meaning of life? What is life? Why are we put on this planet, in this galaxy? Why do we have to die? I was having a discussion with my better half last night about this. These are big questions. With no answers? I don’t believe that in the 8 billion people on this earth, no-one has the answer. Someone has got to know why we are living. Otherwise what is the point of living?
Are we living just because we can, or is there some sort of purpose as to why everyone of us is here at this time? Are some of us more intelligent and others mediocre? Or do we all have the same capacity and capability to achieve greatness? And if we do, then what? Why does one person work so hard to have the best lifestyle money can buy if in the end he returns to ashes? What is the point of all this? Are we meant to be extinct?
Is there life after death? Or do we reincarnate into someone else, a new being? Why do we have to die? If we have to die, why can’t we find a way to preserve our grey matter… you know that knowledge embedded in our skull, why does that have to die with us? How does the generation after us profit if we die with our intelligence?
Speaking of intelligence… isn’t it highly possible that we aren’t the only intelligent beings in our galaxy? Why should we be so vain into believing that we are the only ones? And if they exist, why haven’t we made contact with any of them yet? And what about Artificial Intelligence? Is that our future? Is it safe to say that 100 years from now human life will have morphed into AI? The dawn of Robots! Is this our saving grace? Our way of saving ourselves from ourselves and immortalizing our existence on earth?
The Wings of Nigeria – a rude awakening
Disclaimer: For purposes of true authenticity I will not mince words and will simply call my experience as it was.
I spent a part of early October flying across the continent, nearly 5000 kilometres from my home country, from Entebbe via Ethiopia through to Lagos. I must say travelling there was nothing like I imagined it to be. I was a little disappointed with myself for having set such high standards for the country because not five minutes into international ground and I was already marvelling at the economic bareness of the country. Please understand that I am an investor myself and one of the most dangerous things to do as an investor is to see an investment through rose coloured glasses and refusing to accept what is right in front of your very eyes. This is one sure-fire way of losing all your money.
First off always travel with USD or GBP currency to avoid being a victim of devalued currency. I certainly learned this the hard way. Imagine my horror when my very precious Ugandan Shillings got devalued right in front of my eyes. The explanation to this was a smooth talk about how difficult it is to find visitors travelling to Uganda, etc. etc. I didn’t believe a word of it but I also needed the cash quite urgently and settled for what I could get at the time. I usually travel with credit cards and converted cash, but for this particular trip I neglected to do the latter and paid expensively for it.