“I dream for a thriving planet, without these greenhouse gases, deforestation, fires and all sorts of things choking life out of it.” K.J.Kelly is a Zimbabwean young climate and nature leader engaged in community service. She gets involve in Youth for our Planet movement to contribute make things move on in her country. Interview.
My name is Kelly Jeranyama. I am 18 years old, I currently finished a gap year of leadership training at STAR leadership academy going onto advanced level. I live in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Youth for our Planet: Why did you decide to become an environmental activist? What was the trigger?
Kelly Jeranyama: I decided to be an environmental activist because of our communities in Zimbabwe, especially in the high-density areas of Harare. From 2008, we have had two major cholera outbreaks and the trigger has been land and water pollution. It really angers me that people die from some problems which can be solved. Climate change is something that has been spoken of over the last few years and it intrigued me that the cause of hunger and droughts throughout the country is because of something that can be solved. Bottom line, I became an environmental activist because the problems we have can be easily solved.
YFOP: You said problems can be solved?
Yes, on the first hand, some problems can be adressed by populations themselves if they are soundly sensitized. Also, goverment can take steady resolutions to make things change. On the other hand and mainly, problems can be solved by thinking outside of the box, outside of the norm. So when I say outside of the norm, I mean when a person says we can reduce litter by picking it up then what? An example is then to recycle into something valuable so that we have a sustainable development in reducing litter. I actually do have an example of when I helped out my friend to make cardboard and plastic baskets. That's why I decided to act with my classmates.
YFOP: What actions have you taken with your classmates?
KJ: Together with my classmates, we have had clean up campaigns from the beginning of the year. We took time out to visit one of the biggest wetlands in Harare to learn more about it, its threats and how we can help.
We have also participated in tree planting at our campus, at a nearby school and at Capota School of the Blind in Masvingo, a province in Zimbabwe. Afterwards I get involved in Youth for our Planet movement here in Zimbabwe.
YFOP: Why did you decide to be member and mobiliser for Youth for Our Planet?
KJ: I decided to become a mobiliser in July 2019. This was very pramount for me as a young lady living in Africa, to be a part of this inspiring global youth movement that makes my voice count in this critical crusade for environmental action.
YFOP: Is there in Zimbabwe other young people (groups of activists) engaged in nature protection?
KJ: There are many other groups here in Zimbabwe for example Seven Ms, Environmental Management Agency to name but a few.
YFOP: It's sometimes difficult for a girl in Africa to be engaged in such initiative. What difficulties do you encounter?
KJ: One major problem I encounter personally is ignorance. People are really not willing to know about climate change and because of this they continue to do things which harm the environment. Because I am also a girl, people tend to say: “what can you do as a girl, many have tried it before.” But any of these comments can really discourage me.
YFOP: Did you learn about Congo rainforest struggle led by an Ugandan activist? What do you think about this initiative?
KJ: I heard a bit about the issue and I think it is an awesome initiative. Africa is suffering many environnements disasters. It’s abnormal and unfair to minimize its voice.
YFOP: What are you done (or will be doing in the future) to support this African matter?
Awareness is one thing we can do to contribute to such a matter.
YFOP: What's the dream you (and your classmates) has for the future of the planet?
KJ: The dream I have for the planet that one day it will be thriving, without these greenhouse gases, deforestation, fires and all sorts of things choking life out of it.
YFOP: Your last word?
KJ: The future is bright if us young people take a stand and stop all these problems we are facing. All these problems can be solved!