Naimah’s Climate Story
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
How are you sensing climate change?
My mother is as strong as she is smart, as beautiful as she is dedicated. She does not have any health issue, we live in the same home and share the same space, but unlike most kids, I can say that I only got to know her when I turned 15. Only because a global pandemic hit the planet unexpectedly. Only because she was forced to stop working.
My mother is an environmentalist and a climate activist. She has spent most of her life dedicated to the cause of the planet, she has invested every part of herself in defending the environment by creating her own company. In traveling to different countries in Africa (Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroun, Djibouti…) she has devoted her time in cleaning up polluted areas, in advising policy makers, and in working with industries to reduce their waste. Although she started small, her company quickly grew, and in no time, she became so busy that she had to travel all the time. At times, months would go by, and I would not catch a glimpse of her. As the years went by, she became increasingly overworked and preoccupied with the state of the world. And as the climate crisis grew, she became gradually more called upon. I could see the crease on her forehead deepening, and the worry in her eyes growing. I used to watch her, overwhelmed with a sense of anguish and concern.
I will never blame my mother for her absence, for I know she was only doing what was right: investing herself in saving the planet as we all should. She cared so much about the planet because she cared about her family and the world in which her children and grandchildren would grow up. But I do blame climate change, I do blame fossil fuels and I do blame humans for not caring enough. Because this increasing climate crisis has robbed me of my mother for most of my childhood.
Although this situation has planted the seeds of anger and loneliness in my heart, it has also allowed me to grow and see the bigger picture, as my mother did. I feel inspired and empowered to follow her footsteps and make my own efforts into finally making a real change. My mother and her investment in her work not only gave me motivation; it gave me hope.
How do these changes make you feel?
Although this situation has made me feel angry and anxious and above all extremely worried, it has inspired me to do better.
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