NAIROBI, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Young environmentalists on Wednesday called on African governments to prioritize the fight against climate change even as they tackle traditional challenges like illiteracy, unemployment and poverty.
The activists noted that many African countries are tackling climate change last, yet it is the one fanning traditional problems that have dogged nations for years.
"Africa is not handling climate change well by putting it on top of its priority list. Africa has put climate change last, tackling poverty first yet droughts and floods are worsening poverty levels," Anita Soina, a Kenyan environmental activist said during an online debate on climate change organized by Climate Story Lab Africa.
She believed that if Africa is going to address food insecurity, unemployment and rural-urban migration, it must handle climate change first.
Shermaine Moloto, a South African climate campaigner, said African governments have gotten it wrong by putting climate change on the sideline.
"We cannot fight poverty without winning the war on climate change. We must respect and protect green spaces. The youth should participate in farming and plant more trees, this is what African governments should promote," she said.
Joshua Weshuli, a Kenyan climate activist, said most African nations and communities have taken a wait-and-see attitude, hoping that climate change will end.
"Climate change is serious, thus we must give it priority. Climate change is an emergency thus must be tackled first," said Weshuli, while calling on African communities to come together and see that there is a crisis unfolding.
Stephen Omukoko, a Kenyan climate change activist, said Africa must realize that tackling climate change can't wait because the challenge now determines all the other aspects of life, including economic growth.