THE CLIMATE CHANGE FIGHT: YOUTHS AND NGOs GET INVOLVE
Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty – The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases which are inevitable.
According to the Earth Day Network, the US nation elections focus on the issue while public awareness about the perils of climate change is growing everyday, Earth Day 2008 was viewed as one of the largest and most important. Quoting Al Gore, former US Vice President - “We are in a planetary emergency, an 'emergency' that demands bold and courageous action”.
Earth Day Network had a bold plan for the month of April and Earth day 2008. Over a billion people worldwide convened at events in communities, schools, parks and churches from Beijing, China to Tokyo Japan, Sao Paulo, Brazil to the National Mall in Washington DC to let their local and national governments know they can no longer wait for action on global warming.
The UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Yvo De Boer mentioned during the 2007 Climate Change Conference, Bali – Indonesia, that “This is a real breakthrough, a real opportunity for international communities to successfully fight climate change”.
“Parties have recognized the urgency of action on climate change and have now provided the political response to what Scientists have been telling us is needed.”
Al Gore in Bali 2007 calling for a Visionary Treaty stated that” The worlds election leaders must take steps necessary to solve global warming, it's not too late, we have the opportunity now to improve the earths future for our children and their children. If we don't act, we will have ourselves to blame.
Mr Achime Steiner the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment program (UNEP), expressed concern over the e-waste problem during the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention on the Trans boundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal in December 2006.
In Rhode Island America, Alex Lin and his friends – Nanci Flore- Chettiar, Kelsey Clough, Jeffrey Brodie and Bobby Laudone with Jason Lin as Coach from research discovered that information technology has become the fastest growing industry in the world. The rapid updating of hi -tech equipments has generated about 50 million tons of electronic waste annually.
Electronic waste or 'E-WASTE' consist of discarded consumer electronics which contain hazardous heavy metals and chemicals. 85% of discarded television and computers or other electronics when dumped in to landfills or improperly disposed of, the chemicals inside like Lead, Mercury and Cadmium, will leak into the air and water thereby devastate the environment causing irreversible effects on human life.
The Westerly Innovation Network (WIN) as the team is known was founded in 2003. They have established an Electronic Waste Management System and have recycled over 40 tons or 80,000 pounds of e-waste.
According to the Basel Action Network (BAN), 75% of used computers exported to Africa are junk and creating serious health treat and environmental contamination. Thus, the WIN came up with a step by step approach on efficiently reuse electronics to bridge the digital divide without impacting the environment.
WIN has given more than 300 refurbished computers, installed with educational software to students in need since 2004. Countries out of the US that have benefited from their benevolence are Sri Lanka, Mexico and Cameroon. Alex testified before the Rhode Island Senate convincing then to pass an e-waste law in July 2006.
WIN has received numerous national and international awards and have participated in Environmental conferences especially the United Nations Environmental Programs for Youths. The most recent award is 'The Brick Awards 2007, DORITOS recognized those who do something'.
To re-enforce their mission globally, WIN is establishing a WIN TEAM NETWORK with the help of local NGO'S. The NGO WIN has already worked with is - Association Femme Soliel D'Haiti/ Cameroun (AFASDACAM) . The WIN Team invited Enie Cecile - Coordinator/Branch Representative of AFASDACAM to Rhode Island in December 2007.
By Enie Ndoh Cecile