Nakabuye Hilda Flavia from Kampala is a 22 year old climate activist and one of the at organisers of Friday’s For Future Uganda. She is currently studying her bachelor’s degree in Procurement and Supply chain management at Kampala International University and has been joining the international School Strike for Climate Change.
We are facing a climate emergency; we need unprecedented global action because we are running out of time. The only way to protect our generations future is by standing up and speaking out. We are the first generation to know what we are doing and the last one to be able to save it.
I started striking in January 2019. I first heard about the school strike for climate on Twitter when I saw Greta Thunberg striking for climate action. After seeing Greta’s bold move to school strike for climate, I also committed myself to missing classes on Friday to demand climate action and in February, I joined Fridays For Future Uganda.
I first learnt about climate change in a Youth for climate dialogue at my University organised by Green Climate Campaign Africa in 2017. Together with other green campaigners we started a chapter at our university to address climate change to fellow students and demand for urgent climate Action.
Uganda is a country based on agriculture but we are facing rising temperatures and very hot weather conditions that are drying up our plantations causing poor harvests, food insecurity and starvation. Animals are dying. Very heavy rainfalls are causing floods and landslides in some parts of the country. Other areas are seeing no rainfall at all causing droughts and outbreak of diseases among others. We recently felt the effects of the cyclone storm which destroyed many people’s properties.
Governments need to declare climate emergencies in their countries just like UK did to create awareness of this climate breakdown and take action. Governments should ensure sustainable development and aim to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement and the IPCC report. We need to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible.
Despite being directly affected by the consequences of climate change, most young people in my country are not aware of the climate breakdown we are facing because climate change is not taught in schools. I engage with youth during my strikes and urge them to join me as we demand for climate action. The government of Uganda should include climate change in the school syllabus to create its awareness right from childhood to all levels of education because it affects us all regardless of age, religion, sex and status.
One of the challenges I face is the slow inaction and response from public, our governments and policy makers in my country towards climate action. Sometimes the community does not support me in my strikes because I disagree with some of their activities such as disposal of waste in lakes and rivers, car washing on lake shores.
Climate strikes are a way for us young people to express what we feel and demand what we need to have which is a safe environment. As the strikes gain momentum they are helping to gain our government’s attention and push them to act. Some people thought the movement was political but due to my community and public engagements with them, they understand the motive of the movement. Social media is helping us create massive awareness and most people give me an audience when I speak during my strikes.
I believe that my actions and attitudes represent other people in Uganda. Fridays For Future Uganda recently tabled our demands to policy makers and will be recognized in Uganda’s climate action plans.
We hope to see change.