Change our Story: Be the Solution not the Pollution

The World Environment Day was marked in pomp and color globally on 5 June 2018. This year’s theme, Beat Plastic Pollution, was a global advocacy call on greening the blue and getting rid of plastics from our seas and oceans.

In Kenya, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), in partnership with the County Government of Nairobi, USAID, Standard Chartered bank and other stakeholders held the commemorative event at the Kikuyu Springs, Nairobi’s biggest aquifer, a source of water for the whole of Nairobi city. Build up activities throughout the country revolved around clean up exercises and tree planting in order to reduce pollution. At the event, the Kenyan government was lauded for its efforts to ban use of plastic bags as a way of environmental conservation in order to reduce plastic waste. In his keynote remarks Hon. Larry Wambua, County Executive of Environment lauded the great steps the country has achieved especially the example set by Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta on launching  a national tree planting  exercise to restore the depleted forest cover.

Our national chapters in Mozambique, Nigeria through Climate & Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria organization, Togo held various activities with youth groups, like minded civil society organizations in clean up exercises as well as planting trees and public education and advocacy around responsible use of plastic and ways to dispose this menace that is choking our environment.

According to a report by the UN Environment, SINGLE-USE PLASTICS: A Roadmap for Sustainability, our ability to cope with plastic waste is already overwhelmed. Only nine per cent of the nine billion tonnes of plastic the world has ever produced has been recycled. Most ends up in landfills, dumps or in the environment. If current consumption patterns and waste management practices continue, then by 2050 there will be around 12 billion tonnes of plastic litter in landfills and the environment.

By this time, if the growth in plastic production continues at its current rate, then the plastics industry may account for 20 per cent of the world’s total oil consumption.

With these worrying statistics, we must all master responsible ways of reusing, recycling and reducing use of plastics in all its forms.

Africa Climate Change & Environmental Reporting (ACCER) Awards 2018

This day also marked the official launch of 2018 edition of ACCER Awards. These awards scheme on its fourth edition, acknowledges journalists who dedicate their time and resources chasing stories and highlighting critical environmental issues that help to bring out the plight of the poor and the marginalized in battling various aspects of climate-related impacts, highlight national policy interventions in addressing environmental issues, and showcase best practices and innovative solutions, and lessons learnt in the overall global discourses and interventions.

African journalists are encouraged to participate in this competition and ensure that as the information hub, their stories, photos and publications are tools to educate the public. Issues around climate change and environment have been ignore for the longest time with focus shifting to political reporting.

The call for entries into the ACCER Awards 2018 officially commenced on 5 June 2018 and will is open to African journalists in print, radio, television, photojournalism and online (multi-media). Speaking at the event, Mithika Mwenda, Secretary General of PACJA appeal to the fourth estate to take up environmental reporting seriously as it affects us all directly. “When the environment is not safe, all of us are not safe. We should find creative ways of packaging solutions to these menace of climate change. I urge you all to submit your entries soonest since this marks the official launch of the competition until 5 August 2018.”

Potential awardees will present direct entries with brief citations demonstrating how their journalism may have practically enhanced access to information delivery in a specified area. An independent panel of judges carefully selected will review the entries and make a decision on the winners and runners-up for each Award category.

The 2018 Award Categories

This year’s award categories are more focused on innovative ways to solve climate and environmental issues, we are moving from the problem to tested interventions that will help reduce environmental degradation. Below are the categories:

Climate Smart Agriculture & Agroforestry Award

This award will recognize a journalist whose in-depth reporting demonstrates how rural communities or individuals in part of Africa are using smart agriculture techniques or agroforestry to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change, while at the same time improving their food sufficiency and livelihoods

Climate Policy, Governance & Transparency Award

This category will recognize journalistic work that brings out the aspect of climate governance, policy development and implementation, or one that exposes corruption deals and curtails related to climate change

Innovative Solutions for the Environment Awards

Entries in this category should be articles demonstrating how innovative solutions are being used to overcome environmental challenges. Innovative solutions can be in all sectors related to the environment such as agriculture, forestry, waste management, energy, water management, climate change, transport, green job…etc.

Climate Finance Award

This award rewards excellence in journalism that reflects on finances channeled by national, regional and international entities for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects and programs. The story may demonstrate how communities/companies/NGO are accessing and/or using these finances, what the impact is in terms of climate adaptation and mitigation, and how this is impacting on livelihoods.

Environment Protection & Conservation Award

This award specifically recognizes the work of a journalist who reports on environment protection and conservation, not limited to protection and conservation of forests, water and biodiversity

The overall prize winner will bag a Cash reward of USD 1000, full sponsorship (including return air ticket, accommodation and other living expenses) for UN Climate Change Conference of Parties on 3 – 4 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland, totaling US$5,000; Fellowship to participate in high-level climate change & Environmental reporting training courtesy of ACCER Awards Partnership.

All entries will be submitted by email to accerawards@pacja.org.

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