On June 8, 2023, aspiring researchers from the Holistic Climate Change research group participated in the Climate Action Youth Seminar 2023. The event was organized by Ranyaka Community Transformation, a national non-profit organization (NPO), in collaboration with the Nedbank Proud of my Town program and the City of Tshwane.
Climate change is a pressing global concern that affects everyone, regardless of location. Its wide-ranging impact on the environment, economy, and society necessitates urgent action. The Climate Action Youth Seminar aimed to raise awareness about climate change issues and inspire young people to become actively engaged citizens.
Humbelani Thenga, a candidate researcher from the Holistic Climate Change research group, expressed enthusiasm about the event, stating, “I found the seminar to be highly stimulating and valuable. It was inspiring to hear various organizations educate the youth about their efforts to address climate change issues. One particular highlight was witnessing the youth critically analyze the potential trade-offs associated with presented climate solutions. They questioned the overall environmental impact of electric vehicles during manufacturing and raised concerns about the strain on our electrical grid as we grapple with power shortages. This demonstrates that the youth refuse to accept solutions without scrutinizing them; they seek a balanced approach to climate action.”
Interestingly, private organizations and NPOs seemed to offer more tangible, real-world applications that resonated with the youth compared to research initiatives. Nevertheless, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) effectively raised awareness about the contributions of research, such as carbon dioxide monitoring and climate scenario information, including early warnings for heatwaves, floods, and rainfall.
“The event was highly informative. I am confident that the young participants gathered substantial knowledge on tackling climate change, as well as discovered funding and training opportunities through the panel discussions I was part of,” shared Mavhungu Muthige, a candidate researcher within the CSIR Holistic Climate research group.
The seminar yielded several outcomes, including heightened mobilization of social solidarity on climate change issues, the establishment of national, provincial, and local climate change campaigns, and the initiation or support of projects combating climate change in Mamelodi.
It is crucial for young people to recognize that they are not just victims of climate change but also valuable contributors to climate action. They possess the potential to be agents of change, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Through education, science, and technology, young individuals are amplifying their efforts and utilizing their skills to accelerate climate action.