Climate Change, GBV and Child Marriage!
December 10, 2017
Planting trees is one of the easiest and most sustainable ways to positively affect the environment. The planting of new trees is integral in reducing global warming as trees play an important role of removing carbon dioxide CO2 in the atmosphere via the process of photosynthesis. Therefore trees are important in combating climate change as they create a sustainable carbon sink to mitigate the effects of climate change.
In commemoration of the National Tree Planting Day, ROOTS in partnership with Mazowe Rural District Council and Forestry Commission under the program CultureACTIONS commemorated the Tree Planting day on the 2nd of December 2017 at Kundai High School in Mazowe District. The event was supported by the Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Province Martin Dinha, Provincial Education Director, Provincial Administrator and Forestry Commission Provincial Officer, Ward councillors, Student s and the general community. The commemorations ran under the theme Promoting trees outside the forests and saw the announcing of tree of the year, the Muchechete tree which is an indigenous wild fruit tree which the Forestry commission encouraged community members to grow in their homes.
The devastating effects of climate change have been evidently seen by all as one can note the prolonged dry spells, heat waves, droughts, floods to mention just but a few. The effects of these hazards and disasters have dire consequences to the livelihoods of many households often leading to poverty. The event sought to unravel the link between retrogressive social norms and climate change in line with our program Culture ACTIONs. The emergence of poverty in homesteads due to strained livelihoods caused by climate change leads to various retrogressive social norms such as child marriages and GBV. Child marriages increase as household poverty increases; many girls will not attend school due to the patriarchal value system and would be soon married off at a tender age to wealthier families for food. Domestic rows with regards to food security and distribution of household roles will erupt often ending in sexual, physical, emotional and economic violence. Thus without drastic counter reactionary measures the effects can only get worse.
The guest speaker Honorable Minister Martin Dinha indicated the need to engage local leadership on environmental and climate change awareness training so as to renew commitment within leadership to address environmental concerns in their communities. Communities expressed low knowledge levels on climate change but highlighted their desire to see the establishment of environmental sustainability committees in Mazowe District as a community initiative to address environmental preservation and conservation through planting trees.
The culture of tree planting has numerous paybacks to the communities as trees improve our food security, reduces the effects of climate change, improve the air quality to the community by producing oxygen and storing harmful by products of fossil-fuel burning also moderating the effects of sun and wind as they clean the air by trapping dust, pollen and other pollutants and when planted in the right places trees generate jobs and contribute raw materials for buildings, newspapers, books, etc with products that are renewable, biodegradable and recyclable whilst providing shelter and food for wildlife. Hence tree planting is essential in creating a sustainable community and deserves the support of Government and civil society.