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For our beloved Fatherland !

Sixty years ago, our elders fought to build an independent nation. Today, thanks to them, we are in a position to determine ourselves and our generation is facing two major challenges: climate change and environmental risks.

Figures, studies and articles on the subject tell us: 500,000 Malagasy households were victims of natural disasters according to INSTAT over the period June/July 2019 and this figure is exponential, in 2018 Tana was the dirtiest city in Africa for Forbes, - 4.2% of GDP within 30 years if we continue to deforest according to WWF, 20% of deaths at the national level are "caused by exposure to pollution" for the United Nations, 100 million damages are caused by climate change every year, etc..
 
At the same time, thousands of young people throughout Madagascar are committed to the environment and intergenerational equity, within networks, associations and clubs. They do it, often with little means, "because we have to start somewhere", "because we have to set an example", because "without an environment, we have no future"*. I'm one of those kids. And I intend to take you with me to build a desirable future. I'll tell you what I propose:
 
"It is the 26th of June, 2060. We are celebrating 100 years of Madagascar's resilient and green independence. Forests no longer burn, restored thanks to work that began 40 years ago, and still shelter our biodiversity, the source of solutions to many ills. Our renewable energy mix is consistent and efficient and allows even the most remote corner to have access to a clean source of energy. Nobody dies from air pollution. The vita gasy, from karenjy to rice to fashion, is widely distributed. Trains run all over the island allowing everyone to move around freely, easily and even free of charge. All EPPs are food self-sufficient, and teach us resilience, to use every nook and cranny of the garden, of the balcony. Every Malagasy has the opportunity to build an ambitious life project for him/her and his/her relatives. Our mascots, the lemurs, as well as turtles, fossa and bats, frolic happily, without fear of poaching. Plastic - the plastic of bottles, single-use bags, and over-packaged products that once rotted in landfills - is a museum relic reminding us of how far we've come. The population is enlightened, notably by bioluminescence and low-tech. Young people are engaged in a wide range of issues to continue to grow us as a nation, because that is our role as well. We have adapted and are able to promise future generations a welcoming, resourceful land in a society of climate and social justice: this Earth is the land of our ancestors, our safeguarded homeland."
 
Yes, another world is radically possible. Our history won't be limited to terrifying statistics. This is what youth movements, and CSOs, are all about. To make this possible, I act personally on 3 levels: individual, collective and professional. And so can you.
Plan 1: reduce products packaged in plastic, voluntarily eat less meat, take more public transport or cycling, use washable sanitary napkins, etc.
Plan 2: get involved in associations, participate in summits and conferences, exchange good practices, and learn new ideas.
Plan 3: Influence local policies, make the fight against climate change a national priority, propose more CSR actions in your companies, create "green jobs", ensure the application of existing laws, develop forms of participatory democracy, demand even more inclusion of young people in decision-making bodies.
Every action for the environment is an act of strong patriotism, to be encouraged and improved. And each individual has a key role to play through his or her circles of influence. Let's act together!
 

Article written by Jay Ralitera, 

Founder of CliMates Madagascar, Coordinator of environment 

and sustainable development programs at the AXIAN Fondation