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Nyombi Morris: A Leading Voice for African Youth on Climate Action

Nyombi Morris is a Ugandan climate activist who has become a leading voice for African youth on the issue of climate change. He is the founder of Earth Volunteers, and an Ambassador for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), where he advocates for the rights of climate-affected communities. Nyombi Morris has been recognized for his work on climate change by CNN, LinkedIn Africa, Population Matters, and earth org. He is a fellow of Climate 2025, a youth advocate for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, and a youth council advisor for New Zero World.
In this interview, Nyombi Morris discusses his journey to becoming a climate activist, the challenges facing African youth in the fight against climate change, and what needs to be done to amplify the voices of young people on the global stage.
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Aniebiet: You have become a leading voice in the global climate discourse and the leading voice for African Youths. You have spoken out about the disproportionate impact of climate change on Africa and the need for urgent action. What inspired you to become a climate activist?
Nyombi: Actually, I never imagined myself as a climate activist because it was not my vocation, but as you know, in Africa, it is possible to graduate and spend more than ten years at home without a job. This happened to me in 2019 when I finished my IT and computer science diploma and had no way forward, so I used social media and worked as an affiliate for betting companies until I came across a post by my neighbour Vanessa Nakate, who is now well known as Uganda's leading climate activist. I was surprised since she came from a wealthy family with access to everything; I never anticipated her to take to the streets and protest, so this compelled me to pay close attention.
To some extent, I decided to message her on Facebook and ask if we might meet. Because we were already connected on Facebook, it took her two weeks to respond, but she agreed and invited me to a street clean up in our hometown of Luzira, which is where I first learned about climate change because we shared so much, and since then I've been involved in so many climate action activities. 
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Aniebiet: Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to the climate crisis. We can even say that Africa is the most vulnerable to climate change. The continent is already experiencing the effects of climate change. These effects are having a disproportionate impact on the continent's most vulnerable people, including young people, women, and the poor. What can be done to help Africa adapt and mitigate the effects of the climate crisis?
Nyombi: I agree with you, but you forgot to mention that it is the richest continent of all. To understand why we are so susceptible, we must first agree to disagree that we have had very weak leadership who have shown no compassion for humanity. I say this simply because the greatest challenges we face today, such as starvation, hunger, water scarcity, poverty, floods, droughts, epidemics, and so on, are all linked to the exploitation of our minerals, the destruction of our natural resources, such as forests, which is causing drought in some areas and floods in others. We also need to understand that when these types of events occur, we lose our cultures, history, and biodiversity. 
So, who is responsible for taking steps to adapt and mitigate to this climate? Who was the main cause of these disasters?  The first is our leaders, who do not care about people when investors arrive, even though their investment has a direct impact on people; they simply sanction it because they are looking for money. 
So, in order to get back on track and adapt to the climate crisis, we need committed leaders who are willing to accept green investments. We also need to prepare for the worst by constructing strong infrastructure such as drainage systems, schools, roads, and large walls, because just because we are waking up does not mean that the climate will stop immediately.
We also need to signal to the West what kind of investments we want immediately; the burning of coal, oil, and gas is the major contribution to climate breakdown today; as temperatures increase, so will our suffering. Fossil fuels have no place in our future; renewables have proven that they can be trusted for our survival as long as we spend heavily in them. Africa has a huge opportunity to lead this energy transformation since we can have everything from wind energy to solar energy to geothermal energy.  Our temperatures are beneficial, and we receive sunlight throughout the year, so the possibilities are good that we can right the planet with this clean energy sources rather than rely on fossil fuel expansions, which have serious consequences.
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Aniebiet: As the custodians of tomorrow's world, young people's insights and contributions are indispensable in shaping the policies, decisions, and actions that will determine the trajectory of our society. Their unique perspectives, innovative ideas, and passion for positive change hold the potential to address pressing global challenges, from environmental sustainability to social equality. For example, at the upcoming critical climate negotiations at COP28 in Dubai, the voices of young people will be essential to ensuring that the world takes decisive action to address climate change. However, as we saw last year at COP27, many African youth climate advocates were unable to get their accreditation on time, effectively shutting them out of the negotiations in their own house, an event branded as “the African COP”. In the context of Africa, what strategies and measures can we implement to amplify the influence of young individuals, granting them the authority and tools needed to actively participate on the global stage?
Nyombi: Someone will call me crazy if I say this, but it is our governments that are silencing our voices when it comes to climate negotiations participation. Governments are given accreditations to supply within the people they know who are capable, instead of giving a chance to young people who are actually on the ground implementing actions, they give it to their friends who are interested in free trips, and I am not surprised that sometimes those we send to represent us do not come out with clear statements.What we need to do is ask our governments to share opportunities equally because there is nothing about us without us. We must also begin to raise funding through local initiatives rather than from afar. I am one of those activists who always strives to raise finances to attend climate talks, and when I do, the cash does not come from our local organisations; instead, it comes from abroad, sometimes from individual friends.  I'm not sure who is to blame, but both our government and the UNFCCC need to plan and fund more such events so that young people can apply for them and attend climate talks. There are several local organisations that have finances, but the standards are so stringent that the number of young people who apply and participate is limited.
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  • CHRIS NGATIA

    34 w

    Great job

    2
    • Annett Michuki..

      40 w

      he is doing a good job

      3
      • George Kariuki

        41 w

        His dedication to raising awareness about climate issues and advocating for change is commendable.

        2
        • Patrick Kiash

          41 w

          Thank you @aniebiet for your well phrased questions-:) And am glad #Moris painted a true picture of Africa and the various tough processes true activists pass through. He is a voice to reckon with. And indeed we should ask our governments to share opportunities equally because there is nothing about us without us, and that's enough statement to say Africa is us and Africa is our business as well as our home where we need to protect it from being exploited.

          2
          • bonke reinhard

            42 w

            I salute Nyombi Morris for the good work he has been doiñg about the climate change 🫡

            11
            • Sarah Chabane

              42 w

              Fantastic interview! We should have Nyombi here with us on We Don't Have Time :)

              8
              Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
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