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Nearly 1,000 Young People March in Kampala to Protest Land, Forest and Wetland Degradation

Statistics from Uganda's forest authority show that between 1990 and 2015, the country's forest cover dropped by half

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People, March, Kampala
Young people gather to protest land, forest and wetland degradation, in Kampala, Uganda, Sept. 20, 2019. (H. Athumani/VOA) VOA

Nearly 1,000 young people marched Friday in Kampala to protest land, forest and wetland degradation around the country.

Statistics from Uganda’s forest authority show that between 1990 and 2015, the country’s forest cover dropped by half — from 24 percent to 12.4 percent.

In addition, a 2015 report by the U.N. Development Program indicated that Uganda loses about 2 percent of its wetlands annually.

The protesting youth, accompanied by a matching band, carried placards that read, “Act Now for Climate Justice,” “Stop Pollution” and “Stop Land Degradation and Deforestation.”

People, March, Kampala
FILE – Dirt is cleared and dumped, destroying a wetland in Entebbe, Uganda, July 8, 2013. VOA

Noah Osbert, a student of Kyambogo University, said world leaders need to listen to young people on issues that affect their future.

“It is incumbent upon them and upon us to show that we have that spirit of compassion to plant trees, to conserve nature for the future generation,” Osbert said. “For example, we are looking up to having industrialization, how are we counter measuring for industrialization? Because it comes along with the negative side of it.”

Research from Makerere University School of Public Health in May 2019 indicated 31,600 people die in Uganda from air pollution-related illnesses linked to dust and industrialization.

In addition, the researchers say Kampala’s annual mean pollution levels are five times above the level recommended by the World Health Organization.

Also Read- Worldwide Protests against Climate Change to Draw More than One Million Participants

“I am going to get lung complications, just because the atmosphere is not safe,” said Akello Harriet Hope, program manager for Climate Action Network Uganda. “Am going to go to the water sources, I consume water that is already contaminated. Because waste management is zero. We are getting health issues related to emissions from the preconditioned cars. So, we need justice now.”

Exporting coal

In February 2018, Kenya imposed a logging ban. In November, the government extended the logging ban for a year, to enforce reforms aimed at restoring forest cover. However, Uganda immediately became a source of charcoal in Kenya, leading to more logging in the country.

Working with the government, activist group Youth Go Green says it intends to plant 10 million trees in the next five years.

 

People, March, Kampala
FILE – Dirt is cleared and dumped, destroying a wetland in Entebbe, Uganda, July 8, 2013. Pixabay

“Charcoal is being exported to Kenya, to Tanzania and other East African countries,” said Edwin Muhumuza, the group’s leader. “But, I think, we are going to put it before government to see that trade is stopped.”

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The protest march comes just a day before the first youth Climate Summit in New York, which  will provide a platform for young leaders to showcase their solutions and engage with decision-makers. (VOA)

Next Story

Here’s how People Themselves Become the Source of Misinformation

People can self-generate their own misinformation

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Misinformation
Sometimes, you yourself can become the source of misinformation. Pixabay

Do not blame partisan news outlets and political blogs for feeding you fake news as there’s another surprising source of misinformation on controversial topics — it is you.

A new study has found that people, given accurate statistics on a controversial issue, tended to misremember those numbers to fit commonly held beliefs.

For example, when people are shown that the number of Mexican immigrants in the US declined recently – which is true but goes against many people’s beliefs – they tend to remember the opposite.

And when people pass along this misinformation they created, the numbers can get further and further from the truth.

“People can self-generate their own misinformation. It doesn’t all come from external sources,” said Jason Coronel, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at The Ohio State University.

“They may not be doing it purposely, but their own biases can lead them astray. And the problem becomes larger when they share their self-generated misinformation with others”.

The researchers conducted two studies to confirm this.In the first study, they presented 110 participants with short written descriptions of four societal issues that involved numerical information.

Fake news
People generate fake news in order to fit commonly held beliefs. Pixabay

The researchers found that people usually got the numerical relationship right on the issues for which the stats were consistent with how many people viewed the world.

In the second study, the researchers investigated how these memory distortions could spread and grow more distorted in everyday life. Coronel said the study did have limitations.

For example, it is possible that the participants would have been less likely to misremember if they were given explanations as to why the numbers didn’t fit expectations.

The researchers didn’t measure each person’s biases going in – they used the biases that had been identified by pre-tests they conducted.

But the results did suggest that we shouldn’t worry only about the misinformation that we run into in the outside world, Poulsen said in a paper published in the journal Human Communication Research.

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“We need to realize that internal sources of misinformation can possibly be as significant as or more significant than external sources,” she said.

“We live with our biases all day, but we only come into contact with false information occasionally”. (IANS)