Youth for Eco-Justice: Suwi Siwila

Name: Suwi Siwila
Age: 22
Function: Geography and Environmental Management (Hon’s)
Country of origin: Zambia
Church of origin: St Margret’s Methodist Church of Zambia

What is really important for your life?

The most important thing to me is the youth, as a youth myself I feel we hold the key to the future not only with concerns relating to climate change but also relating to our faith. As society is an ever changing, dynamic entity the youth have and will continue to play an integral role in shaping society. For this very reason I strongly feel youth driven initiatives are a huge investment into the future of this planet as we are the biggest consumers of social media, information and hold the key to any action orientated plans. The best way to do this is by passing knowledge onto the youth and educating them of the social and environmental issues facing the globe today can be a means of initiating interest and change for the youth.

What are your wishes for the negotiations on Climate Change in Durban?

My prayer is that the negotiations in Durban yield transparency and justice in climate change. With scientific evidence in hand i hope leaders are not blinded by financial gain to neglect environmental concerns raised by experts from various fields. I would also like a positive reaction to measures that reduce the risk of increasing climate change, by taking immediate action. Let development not become an escape goat for irreversible damage of the environment. The most important thing is that at the end of COP 17 a reasonable conclusion should be reached especially from the global power houses which are contributing a lot more too environmental damage and risk on a global scale. Environmental justice summarises what I hope is achieved in Durban with emphasis on encouraging public participation in development projects that may threaten the well being of people and the environment.

What would you like to do so that your church/country becomes more environmentally just?

I would like firstly to equip myself with as much knowledge as I can on issues relating to environmental justice and climate change on both a community based scale and on a regional scale. I would like to expand on a programme I am currently involved in which runs awareness campaigns targeting schools within my community on issues and matters concerning climate change and ecological foot print. I would also like to bring up or incorporate issues of environmental justice and the role the church should play in insuring eco-justice to the people it is preaching the gospel too. This can be achieved  by practicing environmentally friendly measures at church and then extending onto church  homes. Lastly i would suggest that the church look into establishing a stance on environmental justice not only in practice but in theory as well.

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