Prolonged periods of drought and unpredictable rainfalls among others influenced Botswana to join the rest of the world this past Saturday, 30th March, 2019 to observe and commemorate Earth Hour. Residents switched off non essential appliances and lights between 20:30pm to 21:30pm in a call for global action on climate change.
“We are fully aware that this is all about campaigning for the environment and this is in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 13 which is really calling unto us to take action on climate change. Looking at its importance the earth hour is trying to remind us that we are part of the earth. We are saying in regards to climate change, individually our efforts do count because it is about climate action and collectively we make a formidable force,”said Professor Julius Atlhopheng, dean for the Faculty of Science at the University of Botswana.
The Earth Hour movement, this year running under the theme ‘Change the Way We Live’ sought to spark conversations on the loss of nature, the urgent need to protect it and advocate for a change in lifestyle.
“The world is really concerned because it’s like we are the only species which will initiate its own extinction because the way we are living is not sustainable. Protecting our environment is essentially acknowledging that our children have a stake in the future of the planet,” he said.
In Botswana, Atlhopheng says drought has created an element of insecurity and the country’s wealth is facing a decline. These challenges have also resulted in Batswana losing their identity as it was traditionally known that the month of October (Phalane) for instance ushered in the birth of the impala antelope (phala). “Are we still seeing the same pattern? Our indigenous knowledge is now becoming irrelevant. Our ATM used to be our nature but now the stock of natural goods is on a decline and we need to do something,” he said.