This post was written by Winnie Asiti, our friend and organiser from Kenya about her participation in the Climate Impact Day in Garissa on May 5.

On 5th May 2012, Garissa Joined the Global Demonstration to “Connect the Dots” Between Extreme Weather and Climate Change.

In solidarity with hundreds of Events taking place around the world to show evidence that climate change is a clear and present danger youth from Garissa (The Garissa Youth County Forum) held a forum gathering people from all walks of life to discuss ways of combating climate change in the area.

The forum addressed issues of drought, erratic rainfall patterns and floods which have adversely affected them. They also talked about the ‘environmental refugees’ at Dadaab refugee camp, the largest in the world and how their activities have had adverse effects on their community further degrading the environment.

'Climate change is killing me' one of the messages on banners. Photo by Elias Mwangi

Attended by the Garissa Supreme Council of Muslims chairman as well as an aspiring Senator in Kenya’s devolved system of government among others they all urged youth to take a proactive role in solving the climate crisis. They promised to lead efforts in ensuring that adequate laws and policies are enacted to address climate change.

They also urged the developed world to remember that the planet was a shared space and thus high emitters should strive to reduce their emissions so as to safeguard the planet and its people.

What stood out from the forum was the willingness by participants to carry on with the climate debate, at home, in schools, churches, mosques, rallies among other for a so that awareness on the issue is increased and diverse solutions tapped into.

The day itself had been preceded by a grenade scare at the Tana River bridge, the only access route by road into Garissa town from Nairobi. This brought to the fore the fact that the region as the rest of the country is also grappling with insecurity issues months after the Kenya Defense forces entered Somalia to neutralize activities of the Al Shabaab group and restore order. Fears aside the event was as peaceful as can be and everyone was elated about the outcome and future prospects for the forum.

At the end of the forum they stood with banners with messages written on them, calling for urgent action, imploring the world to join hands and make a difference. ‘Climate change is killing me’ read one of the banners! The evidence of extreme weather patterns is there, bare fields, flash floods, severe drought among others… these are the dots!