Kenyan Activist Stands Up to World Leaders With Heartfelt Letter, Receives Global Attention – Kenyans.co.ke
Kenyan Environmental Activist Elizabeth Wathuti has continued to grab the world’s attention by standing up to leaders over the worsening climate situation.
On Sunday, November 6, the activist thanked more than 100,000 people who signed a petition relating to a letter she penned to world leaders demanding action over the Horn of Africa drought that has affected over 2 million people.
Addressing the letter to Egypt Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry who was appointed the COP27 President Designate and the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference Alok Sharma, Wathuti argued that drought victims in East Africa were paying the ultimate price yet contributing very little to climate change.
She argued that loss and damage already being experienced by communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis is being cruelly compounded by the impact of a war and global pandemic.
“You are jointly responsible for guiding the UN climate change negotiations at what is a watershed moment in human history.
“I urge you to meet this challenge with compassion and courageous leadership, which is what will be needed to keep the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement alive,” she opened her fiery letter.
Wathuti, who was named among 2022 Time 100 Next Leaders, expressed her heartbreak after visiting areas of Wajir which is one of the regions affected severely by the drought.
“What I witnessed there was a deeply shocking example of the suffering that the interconnected climate, nature and food crises are bringing to bear right now across the African continent. Four consecutive failed rain seasons have led to terrifying levels of food and water insecurity across the region.
“I saw with my own eyes the terrible suffering that the community in Wajir is experiencing and the stories that local people had to share will never leave me. Most people in Wajir depend on livestock for their livelihood, but thousands of their animals are now dropping dead of thirst and starvation,” she added.
So far, 134,500 people already signed the letter out of her target of 140,000 individuals.
In her letter, Wathuti demanded the global leaders to develop a financial kitty that will help the drought victims deal with the worsening droughts.
“Which is why it is critical that the COP27 climate change talks, to be held in Egypt later this year, deliver a dedicated finance facility to help frontline communities deal with the loss and damage they are already experiencing – and which we know will only get worse.
“This is not just about money – because money can never replace what the people I met in Wajir have already lost,” she demanded.
This came after she protested the expansion of a coal mine in Germany that was to replace a field previously used to generate clean wind energy.
She argued that the expansion of Garzweiler coal among other effects on the climate affected individuals living on the African Continent.
“I’ve been very overwhelmed to see what is happening right behind me. Because for me, this is what is killing people in my continent. This is what is devastating lives and livelihoods of frontline communities that are most affected by the climate crisis,” she lamented.
The Horn of Africa region touching on Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia is experiencing severe drought after rains failed for the fourth season in a row.