Let’s support future generations to prepare for challenges of survival in a fragile world

Dr Sheila Ochugboju

June 6, 2024

Is it really a Happy World Environment Day? Is it OK to be a little anxious even as we remember and revel in all that is wonderful about Planet Earth?

If we view the situation through the lens of science alone, it’s hard to ignore the stark reality that our planet is in a critical state. The UN Climate Chief, Steven Steill, recently issued a sobering warning: we have a mere ‘two years left to save the world.’

Destructive tendencies and malevolent gaze must be stopped

Last year was officially the hottest year on record, and when we hear of more extreme weather events, such as the floods in UAE,… it all becomes genuinely overwhelming.

Yet, our love for planet Earth reached a high point last month as we watched the Total Solar Eclipse and suddenly gained a sense of perspective of what small players we are in a universe that follows its laws and seeks no permission from us to thrive and prosper. We are small players on a small planet in an infinite universe. And yet, our destructive tendencies and malevolent gaze must be stopped.

So today, on World Environment Day, let’s focus on how we’re supporting future generations to prepare for the challenges of survival in an increasingly fragile world.

Help them understand the challenge

The Alliance for Science is incubating the Africa Youth Environment Network (AYEN) precisely because our youth will be at the forefront of ensuring our future survival. Africa is the youngest continent, with an average age of 19.7 years, and by 2050, it will be the fastest-growing continent, with opposition of one-third of the global total. We must help them understand the challenge and create jobs and opportunities to show us that another world is possible.

At the inaugural meeting, we signed an MoU with the Homeboyz Foundation, who have generously donated acres of land for our young people to experiment and learn. Homeboyz Foundation was started by the incredible Myke Rabar, a driving force in the Kenyan entertainment industry for decades. Homeboyz TV helped us publicize our Climate Action Zone events in Nairobi last year. The largest, most inclusive side event of the Africa Climate Summit, which welcomed over 6000 participants over four days.

Deep passion for ecosystem restoration

Our young leader of AYEN, Jote Cika, gives me hope for a true return on investment opportunities in climate action. A dedicated environmentalist himself, his sober yet deep passion for ecosystem restoration made this first group meeting possible. Our future is in the hands of these youth. We invite you to join our movement and rest in confidence tonight as the sun sets on yet another Environment Day.

AfS-UNEP MoU signing.
From left: Africa Young Environmentalists Network Founding Coordinator Jote  Cika, AfS Deputy Executive Director Michael Onyango, and AfS Executive Director Dr Sheila Ochugboju. [Manyara Kinoti]


Dr Sheila Ochugboju is the Executive Director of the Alliance for Science.