These interviews helped me immensely as it made my research process easier and it was nice to have that one-on-one interaction with other students on a topic that needs more coverage and attention. But that was only related to one part of my blog, the other was to find out what they are doing.
The first thing that we realised when we started looking for students to interview is that there was a positive response, many were interested in the topic and wanted to share their thoughts. And yet, I was a little disappointed that we had to convince some to share and many said no, as it was on camera. The students made one thing very clear: more awareness needs to be made on the topic. I used to agree with that sentiment but you will be surprised to realise that there are those who are reporting on the issue, but maybe not effectively. While doing the interviews, one thing really stood out for me and that was when one of the millennials said that we need to make climate change more attractive to the youths. Thus this is our challenge: how do we, the youth, make climate change and it’s causes/effects attractive to other youths?
One way to address this is to find out what the youths who are knowledgeable on the topic are doing to combat it, and find a way to use this to motivate others.
This brings me to my little bonus to you: Being Namibia’s own Leonardo DiCaprio*
You don’t have to look far to find Namibian millennials creating their own ways to fight this global issue, we can start with the official bodies such as the Africa Adaptation Programme Namibia which has an outreach strategy, the climate change Youth Action Programme and has thus founded the Namibian Youth Coalition on Climate Change (NYCCC), which aims to engage more young Namibians to take climate action. There is also the Young Achievers Empowerment Project who last year held The Namibian Youth Conference on Climate Change at the Habitat Research and Development Centre. These last two really stood out for me as they are youths themselves trying to make a difference when it comes to climate change and they need more support. You can also find interviews with two other organisations doing great work in terms of this on this website.
There are also individuals who are making a change on their own, millennials like Wapale Kalla, a young entrepreneur who runs a renewable energy consultancy business called Orujaveze Solar. He is a great example as he recognised that renewable energy is the future and that the (renewable) energy sector in Namibia has great potential in terms of financial gain as well as job opportunities. And last year, Marita van Rooyen and MJ of SunCycles, were winners of the second prize (sponsored by FNB Business SME Division) in the annual Business Plan competition run by the Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII). More information on these two great businesses is reported in the media and you can read up more on them for yourselves and get inspired.
As you read above, there are Namibian millennials who are doing a lot to combat the causes and effects of climate change and as the youth community we need to follow in their footsteps. Do this personally, or try joining one of the already established groups, like I have said before, it does not matter how you take action, as long as you do it. I, for example, have a great excuse that I like to (jokingly) give when people ask why I don’t drive yet: I don’t want to add to the causes of climate change. But seriously, I have compiled a very short and straightforward list of little and big things that you can do to make a change:
- REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE!!!
- Change your lightbulbs to energy efficient ones such as OSRAM energy saver bulbs;
- Change to renewable energy; invest in and install that solar geyser, it really does end up being cheaper in the long run;
- Grow your own food (edible landscaping);
- Fly less;
- Educate yourself on how you can decrease your carbon footprint;
- Get a bicycle instead of a car or even walk where you can so you ‘kill two birds with one stone’ by becoming both fit and green.
- Even if you do just one of those to start off with, that would make a difference.
To conclude, I just want to remind you that I am just one voice but I hope that one of you can use my blog to start a conversation and hopefully this can lead to major progress in climate change action. This is our fight as a young nation and we need to be the ones to speak up and take action. We can’t keep waiting on politicians to make these big decisions, we need to make them do it. I am hopeful, as the response that I have received from people who have read my blog tells me that we are getting there; we just need to keep pushing and not keep quiet about climate change. My fellow Namibian millennials, it is up to us to start and continue the change. And keep my hashtag in my mind #namibianyouthforclimatejustice.
*Leo is a well-known award winning actor but what really makes him a star in my eyes is his passion for the environment. He established his Foundation (Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation) in 1998 and through it he has been focusing on combating environmental issues that involve oceans, forests, wildlife and the climate.
About the author
EMMY-PIRKKO (EMMY) MWANDINGI is a 22 year old student, studying at UNAM, focusing on Public Relations and Media. Reading has been a long-time hobby of hers and she has just recently added writing to the list.