Feature: Botswana Woman keeps Climate Conversation alive in Africa amid COVID-19

Sustaining Climate Action amid COVID-19

Despite the fact that Africa accounts for the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions, climate change continues to be an increasing threat to the continent’s human rights.

The endless droughts, reduced food productivity, floods, and questionable water security have prevailed even in the face of COVID-19 and are challenges that drove Pato Kelesitse to commence dialogue and engagement in climate change and sustainability issues for the sake of Africa’s socio-economic development.

To this end, her Sustain267 Podcast prides itself with being the home to African environmental voices. To date, the podcast which aims to increase African voices, especially those of women, in the environmental movement has attracted participants from 17 African countries such as Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, and The Gambia.

“We try to communicate climate change through the voices and experiences of Africans. To date, people from over 70 countries, 31 of which are African have listened to the podcast,” said Kelesitse.

Topics she has tackled and published on Amazon has raised awareness regarding sustainable fashion, trust in scientists, political will, the Mauritius oil spill, the Lake Chad Region Crisis and #SaveTheOkavangoDelta, among others.

“The more people who are aware, the more people who are acting and demanding action, not only from our political leaders but from banks, investors and developers. This will translate to environmentally sustainable activities, from the individual to national level,” she said.

To ensure that the conversations are accessible to a wide audience, Kelesitse made the dialogues available on most podcast applications such as Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, RadioCasts, and Google Podcasts.

Post COVID-19, Kelesitse would love to travel and meet more people and conduct more interviews away from cities in order to promote the platform and diversify represented voices.

“For now we have had to record all our interviews online, this has restricted us to people who have access to electronic devices and can access apps like Zoom,” she noted.

Other than podcasts, the Sustain267 project has a monthly litter picking activity and a tree planting initiative. The clean-up campaign aims to make living spaces cleaner, encourage environmental responsibility among citizens, and positively change the attitude of Batswana (Botswana people) towards littering and maintaining a litter-free living environment, while the tree planting initiative encourages and supports tree planting activities by organizations and schools.

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