The youth are seeking government support for sustainable use of natural resources to curb effects of climate change.
Bonita Murungi Arinaitwe, a student from Nabisunsa High School said that there is need to reduce natural resource exploitation by recycling, conserving energy and planting trees.
Arinaitwe was speaking at the national conference on climate change, disaster risk reduction, SDGs and youth participation under the theme; “Youth propelling climate action and SDGs to fulfilment” at the Office of the Prime Minister Conference Hall, Thursday, 22 November 2018.
“What we do now will determine or affect the children and future generation. On 11 October, 17 people died due to mudslides in Bududa district all because of climate change,” she said adding that, “we see lot of sand storms in South Sudan arising from high temperatures which affect a lot of settlements and gardens”.
Arinaitwe said that children are more likely to be affected by the consequences of climate change, “so we need to do something about this by engaging in nature conservation and rehabilitation like planting trees”.
Dr. Mary Goretti Kitutu, the Minister of State for Environment said that government and the youth need to re-echo the principle of sustainable development.
“I encourage the youth to demand for sustainable use of their resources from which we the adults borrow because they are going to live on earth to witness the adverse effects of climate change if nothing is done,” she said.
Dr. Kitutu said that the government has so far depleted 400 hectares of forests and 1.7 million hectares have been destroyed by ordinary people since the 1980s.
“As children, make the old people around you accountable by reminding them to be mindful of the future generations; stop your father from cutting down that tree if you have to,” she said.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, said there is need to make tree planting a way of life.
”Do it at your birthday, graduation, marriage and all the other milestones in your life, ” she said.
Kadaga noted that Ethiopia declared a decade of planting 12 million trees per year; and Costa Rica had a rich ecosystem, which they destroyed and the tourism industry collapsed because of that.
“In Rwanda and Abuja, which is partially a desert, they took tree planting seriously and now they have rain every day. Soroti District Council came up with a by-law for each resident to plant 60 trees yet presenters on Radio One were absurdly disparaging the district council for their effort,” she said.
Kadaga encouraged everyone to draw up a personal programme to plant as many trees as possible and compare notes whenever they meet at such occasions.