Endeavours to promote youth readiness for climate change adaptation

Endeavours pi

Deforestation and burning of forests contribute greatly to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, alters the capacity of ecosystem to absorb and excess carbon dioxide from the air, and interferes with...

Tuesday June 08 2021

Deforestation and burning of forests contribute greatly to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, alters the capacity of ecosystem to absorb and excess carbon dioxide from the air, and interferes with the carbon storage (sequestration) process.

The impact of increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere and other greenhouse gases lead to increase in temperatures which is therefore related to ongoing drought and flooding conditions in some parts of the country, melting ice on the top of our heritage Mt. Kilimanjaro, threatening some islands such as Mnemba (Zanzibar), Maizwe Pangani, irregularity in rainfall in many parts of the world including Tanzania.

Other effects include hurricane sand changes in wind pattern over the earth surface.

Humankind around the globe already suffers from the varying levels of impacts caused by climate change. As we face these changes and associated catastrophes, we need to scale up measures for adaptation and mitigation initiatives where possible.

We also understand that measures for reversing the trends of increasing carbon dioxide are not that easy or cheap and even if we start acting now to reverse the production of excess carbon dioxide we will still need hundreds of years to the world back to its recommended levels.

Science proves to us that the ocean has been suffering the effects of our greenhouse emissions both by absorbing carbon dioxide directly and storing heat. Existing deep diving sensors continue to reveal that oceans are absorbing 0.85 watts per m² more than is radiated back to space.

This absorption slows global warming, but also means that even if we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions today, it will again take century to dissipate that stored heat. We now know that higher levels of carbon dioxide being absorbed are the cause of acid rain and acidifying the oceans and could have adverse effects on sea life. Among biotic organisms, molluscs and corals for example are the organisms said to have difficult times to generate calcium carbonate shells and skeletons at lower PH.

The impacts are alarming as biologists are reporting how global climate changes have impacts on the animal breeding too. These impacts causes animals to breed earlier or extend their range into new territories as the climate continues to change. Plants also have been studied moving from old to new territories. Given enough time and a route for migration, many species may adapt to new conditions, but we are now forcing them to move much faster than has been in the past. 

For the last 30 years since it was established, Jane Goodall`s Roots & Shoots Tanzania (R&S) has been promoting understanding among the youth community on the level of severity and identified key climate drivers through promoting education, sensitization and awareness campaigns. Our communication strategy is about resilience, adaptation, mitigations, and we support doable actions towards adaptation to effects of climate change in different parts of Tanzania.

By taking part in local, national, and global discussions about climate change impacts, adaptation and resilience Roots & Shoots Tanzania creates a platform for youths to be part of the global discussion on climate change and engage in implementing climate focused projects and campaigns. There are over 500,000 Roots & Shoots members participating in education and activities that focus on environment and climate changes. 

Jane Goodall`s Roots & Shoots campaign for one million tree planting a year is one of the climate change adaptation strategy implemented by Roots & Shoots in Tanzania each year. By planting trees, we create forests that are an important part of global carbon cycle because trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, removing greenhouse gas from the air.

Forests function as terrestrial carbon sinks, meaning they store large amounts of carbon. At any time, forests account for as much as double the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.  Climatological data shows evidence that forests remove around three billion tons of carbon every year. This amounts to about 30 percent of anthropogenic all carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, an increase in the overall forest cover around the world can surely mitigate global warming. Tanzania`s Roots & Shoots tree planting campaign started since 1991 when this powerful, a youth-driven network which fosters an environment where young people and adults alike come together to share ideas, inspiration, and implement successful hands-on projects.

For 30 years now, Roots & Shoots Tanzania has planted seven million trees by involving 584,000 Roots & Shoots members in Tanzania, an average for which each member has taken part to plant 12 trees which all together helped Roots & Shoots increased vegetation cover to 4,600 hectares in Tanzania.

Roots & Shoots is goal is influencing positive change to happen for people, animals and the environment. We envision a world where individuals worldwide embrace their role in helping people, animals, and the environment. Our mission is to empower young people to make positive change in their communities. The programme helps build a generation of change agents who are committed to building a better future for all living things.

Each year Roots & Shoots has continued to provide guidelines to school clubs on hundreds and millions of indigenous species and those naturalized for raising, planting, and transplanting to increase understanding of young people on what species to plant, where is appropriate sites for what species to plant, when is best season for tree planting, how to plant, and why do people plant trees for.

Presentations, outdoor lectures, study tours to conserved forests, and hands demonstrations have helped young people in schools and communities to understand conservation values of plants beyond climate changes. It is this effort that many young Roots & Shoots are motivated to become involved in tree planting to raise timber trees, firewood species, charcoal trees, fruit trees, medicinal trees, share, recreation, and other purposes.

As we celebrate our 30th anniversary it reminds us of the milestones achieved by our youth club members which include restoration of 266 hectares of natural forests among them being Kigamboni Mangroves forests (45 hectares), Pugu Kazimzumbwi Nature Reserve (10 hectares), regeneration of hills in 10 villages in Kigoma (100 hectares) and Chukwani Mangroves Forests Reserve in Zanzibar. Jane Goodall`s Roots & Shoots natural regeneration philosophy is embedded in improving ecosystem services. These forests are made up of communities of species that build a biomass of dead organic matters into soils over time to improve soil nutrients, organic matter functions and food web balances.

Over the years, our movement has contributed not only to biodiversity conservation but also meeting other sustainable development goals. Jane Goodall`s Roots & Shoots has been on a fore front in learning and promoting alternative energy since it does not come from fossil fuels and helps to produces little to no greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

The energy produced from alternative sources is believed not to have contributed to the greenhouse effect  which causes climate change. Jane Goodall`s Roots & Shoots promotes fuel efficient stoves in 260 schools in Tanzania, promotes the use of charcoal briquettes made of local grasses and Boma yard manures, promotes solar lamps to enlightens the off-grid communities in Tanzania, especially boarding schools that are located far in wilderness where electricity is limited or is not present.

Our Roots & Shoots youth are not only the future – they are the present– and are changing the world. The programme provides resources to encourage and motivate young people to act on issues that matter to them.

In Tanzania for example, the tools and support offered through the Jane Goodall Institute, Tanzania (JGI) have enabled over 500,000 members all over Tanzania to take active roles in national tree planting campaigns, plastic recycling technologies, habitat restoration, promotion of solar lamps, production of clay made fuel efficiency stoves, production of charcoal briquettes, school gardening, vegetable gardens, and plants nurseries along with raising voices across the country to promote awareness about conservation and climate change mitigation, adaptations and resilience.