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Scouts call for child based approach in climate action

Monday, February 26th, 2024 08:00 | By
Scouts call for child based approach in climate action
The scouts’ theme for this year’s celebrations is environmental sustainability through innovative climate change solutions and plans to plant at least two million trees. PHOTO/KNA

The climate action debate took a centre stage when thousands of scouts gathered in Nyeri County over the weekend during the commemoration of the Scouts Movement’s Founder Baden Powel.

Speakers at the event noted that the over 2.5 million registered members of the scouting movement, a majority of whom are children, could be instrumental in helping the government achieve its climate change agenda of planting up to 15 billion trees by the year 2032.

The World Scout Parliamentary Union Patron who doubles up as the Senate Speaker Amason Kingi, said that there is a great ‘army’ in the movement thus calling for the scouts to play a leading role in climate change mitigations by engaging in community mobilisation. 

“Climate Change has hit Africa with very grave effects. For instance, prolonged droughts have become the order of the day thus incapacitating food production and exposing lots of people and livestock to starvation. This is why the government has urged Kenyans to take part in climate response measures’” he noted.

Climate change

The scouts’ theme for this year’s celebrations is environmental sustainability through innovative climate change solutions and plans to plant at least two million trees across the country by the end of this year.

To this end, the Scouts Movement appointed Alice Wanjiru, a young climate activist, to be the ambassador of the movement’s greening agenda. Wanjiru, 10, has for the last four years been actively engaged in environmental conservation activities, during which over 5000 trees have been planted.

Addressing the scouts, Wanjiru emphasised on the need to involve children in the climate action plan, noting that children stand at the highest risk of the climate change effects.

“According to a research conducted by UNICEF, in the next one decade, up to 175 million children in the world are likely to be affected every year by the kind of natural disasters brought about by climate change. These impacts are diverse ranging from missing education opportunities because of disasters, as well as risk of suffering from waterborne diseases among others,” she said in her speech.

Accordingly, Wanjiru has challenged the government that even as it leads through policy formulation in the climate mitigation action, the plan should not only be focused on adults, environmentalists and scientists but should have a child-centred approach in its design. 

“If the present generation fails to handle the climate change threat as boldly and swiftly as possible, then we will risk the coming generations to a permanent disaster. Let’s accept this harsh reality and work towards preventing it,” she cautions.

Scout movement

Chief Scout and Former Cabinet Minister Prof Jacob Kaimenyi said that the young generation must be empowered if the war on climate change must be won. He says the empowerment will be used to sensitise people on bad behaviour that has caused climate change especially pollution.

“We intend to register more members of the Scout Movement to have up to four million. If each one of these members plants at least four trees in a month for the next eight years, it would mean that the movement will have planted about 1.5 billion trees by 2032. This will definitely have a multiplying effect to the efforts on curbing climate change,” he estimates.

In the spirit of ensuring environmental conservation, Dagoreti South Member of Parliament who was also at the event, called out the Nairobi River Commission, which was formed a year ago to tidy up, the river the riparian areas as well as creating park.

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