On Tuesday night, Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate and Christine Figueres, who was the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010 to 2016, delivered the 10th annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture. Both Figueres and Nakate addressed the subject: Climate Justice Globally, Now and for the Future. Here is the speech that Nakate delivered:
Greetings to you all. My name is Vanessa Nakate and I am a climate activist from Uganda. I am happy to be speaking with all of you today at this 10th International Peace lecture. I would like to wish a Happy birthday to Archbishop Emeritus Tutu on his 89th Birthday.
I started doing activism in the first week of January 2019 after seeing and researching about how much climate change affected the people in my country. I went on to read more about how it specifically affects the African continent. I realised that the climate crisis is the greatest threat facing humanity.
Africa is the lowest emitter of CO2 emissions of all continents, but it is among the most affected by the climate crisis. Climate change greatly affects and threatens water resources, food security, infrastructure, ecosystems and the people.
We have seen devastating impacts of the climate crisis in Africa for example floods and droughts. With the increasing global temperatures, we are seeing the weather patterns being disrupted, causing shorter and heavier rainy seasons and longer and hotter dry seasons. The heavy rainfall has led to floods in different parts of Africa leading to much devastation and leaving many people’s livelihoods destroyed. Many people have lost their lives while many more have lost their homes, farms and businesses.
Cyclone Idai was one of the worst cyclones to affect the African continent, leaving a lot of damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. The heavy rainfall and strong winds left more than 1 300 people dead and many more were recorded as missing. Everything was reduced to rubble. All that was left was an economic crisis.
This year, we witnessed the water levels of Lake Victoria rise as a result of heavy rainfall in East Africa. The water flooded homes of people, displaced people, washed away farms, submerged toilets and led to a water and food crisis.
We also saw an invasion of locusts in East Africa and these were linked to the heavy rainfall experienced and the warm temperatures as a result of global rise in temperatures. The locusts led to massive destruction of crops as they ate everything that was grown. This threatened the availability of food for the people in the region. And in September, we saw massive flooding in Sudan that has killed nearly 100 people and made thousands homeless.
The Nile regularly bursts its banks and farmers rely on the floodwaters to create fertile land, but people who live along the Nile…