GEO Summit focuses on youth’s fight against climate change

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The Department of Science and Innovation in partnership with the global Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is hosting a five-day summit in Cape Town that focuses on young people to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change.

Young people will be at the forefront of the fight against climate change at the summit, which aims to improve the availability of Earth observation for sustainable development and sound environmental management.

The summit also includes a ministerial summit that will share earth observation data on ways to tackle climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

The primary goal of the GEO global network is to improve the availability and use of information, knowledge and observations about the Earth. This is to ensure a sustainable future for our planet and the people who depend on it.

Authorities from the network say tackling the growing impact of climate change and loss of biodiversity worldwide is a pressing issue and that young people should be on the frontline of developing solutions to this problem.

GEO Summit in Cape Town: 

Director of GEO Secretariat, Yana Gevorgyan says, “Many of them are already driving change. Actually tonight we will be recognising some inspiring new young leaders in our field who are innovators, and activists and I like to see the young leaders speaking across communities. Scientists speaking to entrepreneurs. It really takes a dialogue between these different experts in the future to catalyze meaningful transformative change.”

Youth involvement is at the core of this year’s summit.

At the end of the week, the youth will be handing over a declaration setting out their perspectives on the climate change challenge.

Dr Thobeka Zondi, a researcher at the Human Science Research Council, says getting the youth involved in decision-making is a step toward seeing a better future.

“I’m very excited about this GEO declaration mainly because it’s very important to use as the youth. Because it’s going to be amplifying the voice of the youth. This is a platform whereby we raise our concerns and we raise our demands because we know what our challenges are and we have solutions to those challenges. It’s just that we were not included and we were sidetracked but now for the very first time we are given an opportunity whereby we can be able to talk about our challenges.”

Developing and inventing technologies that will help with the climate crisis is vital in ensuring the sustainability of the Earth.

One of the exhibitors at the summit has designed technology that collects data to help with some of the issues faced in the agricultural sector.

Co-director of SCS- Agrisense, Sias Mostert says, “This nano-satellite weighs only 12 kg and the satellite is designed to collect data for agricultural purposes, in fact, the satellite can also collect data  for environmental purposes but we focus on agriculture because we need governments to be able to the calculations, how they going to afford the budget to invest into the programme, because the government wants a space programme but they also need to get pass treasury to tell them how they contribute to the economy and if you improve the agriculture of a country by one percent, it’s a big number.”

The Ministerial Summit will commence on Friday.

Reporting by Amahle Du Toit