By Tendai Guvamombe
Earth Day 50th Anniversary was on 22nd of April 2020. Unfortunately this year’s commemorations merely shrunk at the back of an outregious pandemic known as COVID-19.
All massive preparations and consented efforts to walk the talk on climate change agenda suffered from a divergence of attention.
A microcosm within a macrocosm is the current scenario as the globe battles a health scourge and at the same time thriving to strike a balance between human and nature.
Amid all these, Earth Day a soul movement on climate change and environment advocacy nevertheless went ahead in positioning worthwhile Anniversary.
This year’s commemorations were inspired by a series of events taking center stage at the 25th Conference of Parties(COP25) held in Madrid Spain last year.
Youth heads from different parts of the globe walk out of the annual convention predetermined to inculcate the acquired knowledge on climate initiatives to fellow youths at home countries.
Among the desirable initiatives pioneered by the youths include Earth Day awareness drive aimed at incorporating every young person to have a better appreciation of climate change and environmental issues.
The impetus journey saw Jean-Betrand Mhandu National Coordinator African Youth Initiative on Climate Change Zimbabwe, awarded an influential post as one of the African 9 Regional Directors for Earth Day Network last year in September 2019.
Mhandu is set to play a crucial role on what will determine the fate of African Youth Climate prospects.
A man of few words and environmental enthusiast have so far gathered momentum in convincing fellow young persons in the continent.
In an exclusive interview with this News Crew, Mhandu said has managed to reach out to different stakeholders within a short space of time conscientizing the general public on Earth Day.
“Since last year in September with AYICC Zimbabwe we have successfully engaged several partners and youth to mobilize throughout the country individuals, youths, youth groups, Artists, organizations, cooperate partners, Tv and Radio broadcasters, government departments, local authorities embassies, UN Agencies and Government Ministries for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day 2020.”
The campaigns vehemently cascaded down to lead the African coordinations and mobilization on more specific actions.
This saw Acts of Green championing the incorporation of volunteers and partners to build momentum in scaling up preparations of Earth Day Anniversary.
This ignited a series of environmental activities aimed at transforming youths perspectives across the globe.
6th African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development held in the Victoria Falls marked a turning point for young persons in the continent. in the midst of proceedings youth participants went into the Majestic town embarking on a clean up campaign.
The Forum saw Earth Day enhancing a panel discussion which successfully captured young people’s attention on climate change urgency.
The later days saw massive campaigns both on radio and television reaching out to millions across societies.
Earth Day coordinators resorted to launch online campaigns upon realizing the inevitable Lockdown period which Governments of the world intensified to contain spread of COVID-19.
This was an ideal option though far from matching a concert that had been scheduled for Earth Day 50th Anniversary.
Leveraging on information communication technology the organizers held online campaigns such as online quiz, Earthtainment Facebook live sessions, webinar meetings which has become an ideal platform to connect people during lockdown period.
All these had a reach audiance of thousands and thousands of people daily across continents.
By the 22nd April Earth Day online platforms had several traffic globally and most participants were eager to embrace the initiatives by conducting several activities to mobilize others.
Sentiments echoed by Mangaliso Ndlohvu Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry on one of Earth Day’s digital platforms captured attention of a wider audience.
“Earth Day event unites millions across the globe drawing attention into huge challenges facing our planet as it offers an opportunity for the world to reflect upon its relationship with planet. 2020 is the year of biodiversity which presence a super year of environment and emphasis is on the nexus between nature, climate and sustainable development.”
Up to date Earth Day has partnered a considerable number of organizations in Zimbabwe. These include Ministries of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Higher and Tertiary Education ,Embassies, Local Authorities, schools and youth groups.
Environment Management Agency (EMA) Spokesperson Amkella Sidanke reiterated on the importance of Earth Day Movement and its relevance inline with SDGs.
“The day was set aside to remind the global village on environmental protection premised on advocating for adoption of best practices globally.Best practises by understanding it a an embodiment of sustainability and can ensure there is perpetual environmental quality that transcends across generations in fulfillment of the sustainable development tranjectory under the hushtag save tomorrow today.”
A plethora of challenges affecting various parts of the environment calls for a paradigm shift were everyone assumes collective responsibility to save mother planet and its natural environment from perishing.
Laurreta Marembo a young climate activist and Executive Director with Young Volunteers for the Environment (YVE) propagated the need to strike a balance between human and nature as a possible way to save the entire planet.
“Earth day is a symbol that Mother Earth will not be at peace with itself if human beings were never part of it. It’s entire existence lies in the fact that earth and humans are intricably woven and there can only be a balance if both parties strikes a balance.”
Earth Day’s awareness drive across the world will be a gamechanger in enhancing human’s need to consider saving his/her natural environment. Overcoming climate catastrophes ensures a sustainable future.