Climate change remains a pressing challenge for our society, undermining hard-won battles for a sustainable future. By 2099, Africa faces a predicted 34-degree increase in average annual temperature, with up to 250 million people grappling with water shortages due to reduced rainfall, as warned by the World Bank and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In this challenging scenario, the poorest seem destined to bear the brunt. Despite Africa’s minor contribution to climate change, the continent stands at a crossroads. Addressing climate change and its economic effects requires bold solutions and tough questions.
Amid these challenges, the need to harness the African economy becomes imperative. This not only promotes environmental sustainability but also empowers communities with basic needs, reducing inadvertent harm to the environment. Take, for instance, the innocent practices of using firewood for cooking, a prevalent practice that, if understood better, could contribute to a more sustainable future.
Blame doesn’t lie with individuals like my grandmother in Kenya, but rather, African governments must step up to provide solutions. Even as new technologies replace age-old practices, some communities, like my grandmother’s, continue burning firewood. However, challenges extend beyond individual actions, with issues like flooding intensifying due to increased heavy rainfall.
Africa’s climate niche, the temperature range suitable for human biology, is under threat. As temperatures rise, urban settlements face risks from the urban heat island effect, impacting health and food security.
Yet, amidst these challenges, Africa showcases resilience. Scientific data indicates human activity’s central role in climate change, necessitating immediate actions to adapt to a rapidly changing climate. Despite setbacks caused by climate change effects such as ocean acidification, extreme weather, and prolonged droughts, resilience becomes paramount.
Morocco sets an inspiring example, spearheading climate resilience through the empowerment of women in the fishing industry. Approximately ten thousand women contribute to climate resilience efforts, addressing mitigation, adaptation, and sustainable development. UN Women plays a pivotal role in this initiative, emphasizing the importance of gender perspectives in climate-related work.
The initiatives not only protect ecosystems but also empower women economically. Fisherwomen receive hygienic, eco-friendly tools, and neoprene fishing suits to navigate climate challenges. COP 22’s gender-focused work program further solidifies the commitment to gender parity in climate-related efforts.
Looking ahead, these efforts indicate a positive trajectory for Africa’s future, emphasising the importance of resilience in the face of climate change challenges. However, it is known that the impact of climate change on Africa is undeserved.