AU shares notes on its service and dedication to environmental activism at the UMC Creation Care Summit 2019, Nashville- Tennessee, USA

Africa University represented by Environmental Sciences Department Head Dr. Zanele Furusa, delivered a presentation on the environmental challenges facing Africa and our ongoing environmental activism as a University in Zimbabwe and the continent at the UMC Care Creation Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, USA that ran from the 11th to the 14th of July 2019. The summit provided invaluable insight into the various innovative means through which other environmental custodians are embedding topical issues affecting the climate into education and learning initiatives across the United States.

Dr. Zanele Furusa presenting on global climate disruptions and how
to reduce our carbon footprint for sustainability and a reduced
“climate and ecological emergency.”

In attendance were different environmental groups among them United Methodist Women Caretakers of the Earth, Earth Keepers, Air-Force Moms, Inter-faith Groups and various educators drawn from a variety of backgrounds and cultural contexts to add new dimensions and perspectives to the environmental debate.

One of the key topics under discussion was the impact of climate change especially as it affects socio- economic sustainability. Climate change is a change in the statistical properties of the climate system that persists for several decades or longer- usually 30 years. These statistical properties include averages, variability and extremes. Climate change may be due to natural processes, such as changes in the Sun’s radiation, volcanoes or internal variability in the climate system, or due to human influences such as changes in the composition of the atmosphere or land use (Australian Academy of Science). The anthropological causes of Climate Change were under the spotlight with the influence of human activities towards this global phenomenon undeniable as vast swathes of forested land have been decimated, landscapes irreparably altered and habitats lost, often accelerated by economic growth and the inherent increase in consumption and waste that comes along with it.

With Dr. Enloe sharing on the role of education
in future global environmental sustainability. ”

The summit sought to not only be about discussion but of action as well with Strategic Planning workshops embedded throughout the summit providing an avenue through which the problems highlighted in various communities could be tackled collectively using experiences and knowledge generated from the diverse participants in attendance.

Targets were set with a fulfilment date of 2025 and 2030 regarding the reduction of the carbon and the human ecological footprint. The Summit had a focus on education as a medium of change as well with educators sharing best practices in teaching environmental education collaboration to promote cross-pollination of strategies and technologies that are crucial for climate change adaptation especially in low income countries.

Africa University is the only institution of higher learning in Zimbabwe that has developed a 5-year strategic plan regarding the disposal of waste developed on its campus and has established outreach programmes that emancipate the community to take ownership of their environment. As part of this strategy, workshops, clean- up campaigns, public lectures and various recycling initiatives are part of the university calendar with these efforts spearheaded by the Environment Alert Unit.
The Creation Care Summit is an annual United Methodist event centred on care for the Earth and on environmental justice ( www.tnumc.org ).

Story by
Jeanette Dadzie