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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Caravan of Hope

Air Date: Week of

Musicians of all kinds are traveling are joining in. (Photo: James Akena/PACJA)

More than 25 bands from 11 different African nations are traveling across the continent to raise awareness about climate change. Living on Earth’s Bobby Bascomb reports that the musicians are hoping to raise awareness as international climate talks begin in Durban, South Africa.


CURWOOD: We come back now to the beginnings of the UN Climate Negotiations in Durban, South Africa, with a musical call for action and message of hope from performing artists in Africa, including Angela Katatumba from Uganda.

[MUSIC: KATATUBMA: “Yo this is a message to everybody. Let's get together and save Mother Nature.” Angella Katatumba: “Let’s Go Green” from A web video

CURWOOD: East Africa is in its worst drought 60 years. It’s seen as a sign of things to come.

[MUSIC: KATATUMBA: “Let's go green, let’s go green. Keep it clean.”]

CURWOOD: Living on Earth’s Bobby Bascomb caught up with Angela Katatumba as the musicians were making their way to the climate meeting in Durban.

KATATUMBA: We use our voices to get people fired up and educate people about climate change in Africa. Uganda usually has an amazing climate. It’s usually warm and just perfect. These days, when it’s hot it’s way too hot. When it’s cold it’s way too cold. When it’s wet it’s storming. We’re seeing things like landslides, which we’ve never had before.

[MUSIC: KATATUMBA: “The seasons have changed. Things don’t happen the way that they did before.”]

BASCOMB: The changing weather has inspired musicians from 11 different African nations - from Tanzania to Rwanda, Zimbabwe to South Africa - to join the caravan. They are all concerned that the unusual weather is having a huge impact on people, especially farmers.

KATATUMBA: Poverty is on the rise because people who’d expect to harvest in the rainy season, now it’s the dry season. There’s a lot of drought. People can’t predict the weather anymore so it’s causing quite a bit of crisis here for sure.

[MUSIC: KATATUMBA: “The time is now. Let’s not wait or we’ll be too late…”]

The Caravan of Hope in Malawi (Photo: Action Aid)

KATATUMBA: You know, climate change is such a boring subject and it’s not easy to get the youth involved and get them fired up. So, that’s why we use artists to get on board, use their voices to create awareness and educate people about climate change in Africa.

[MUSIC: KATATUMBA: “So when did you last show care? And when did you last lend a hand? Let’s plant trees. Stop littering the streets. Let all of the garbage go into recycle bins. I’d like to see a world without global warming. Forget the past mistakes, we’re moving forward. No turning back now that we’ve got forewarning. It’s up to us. I hope you keep you mind open. Let’s go green!”]

KATATUMBA: Oh, the reaction is amazing! Personally the youth that I’ve appealed to and created awareness to have started youth programs at school where they’re recycling. They’re planting trees. So, yeah, it’s pretty much been successful using artists to bring the message to the youth.

A map of part of the Caravan of Hope (Photo: Action Aid)

As much as in the western world is filthy in the sky, we are filthy on the ground. You know, like littering is out of this world. You could walk miles and miles before you see a garbage can. Obviously, we would love to see western governments like America reduce their emissions and China. We also need government to include a climate change program in schools because this is an ever-growing, very serious problem.

[MUSIC BY MAMA AFRICA (INSTRUMENTAL), Ben Mankhamba “mama Africa” from a You Tube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVlvsKhKEUc]

BASCOMB: More than 25 bands are joining Angela on the tour. One of them is Green Malawi, led by Ben Mankhamba.

[MUSIC: MANKHAMBA: “Oh what a beautiful day. Cool greens from the beautiful river. Fresh air from ever-green mountains. Birds in the trees singing sweet, sweet sounds. Green my home, green this town. You’re beautiful (Africa!). You’re wonderful (Africa!). I love you (Africa!)”]

(Photo: Action Aid)

BASCOMB: A lot of people in Africa can see something is strange about the weather, but when the Caravan of Hope came through, they were finally able to put a name to it. And as climate change negotiators meet in Durban, the artists hope their music will inspire governments to take action. For Living On Earth, I’m Bobby Bascomb.



Caravan of Hope Blog

Action Aid


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