Kenyan climate activist and head of the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Mithika Mwenda, has received the prestigious Earth Care Award by the Sierra Club at a colourful ceremony held on Saturday, September 14, 2019 in Oakland, California, USA.
The award comes just a few months after Apolitical, a global network for governments, announced Mwenda among the 100 most influential persons especially on climate policy, nominated by hundreds of public servants from around the world, including experts at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Harvard University, Oxford University, Bloomberg Philanthropies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The awards night in California was attended by climate enthusiasts from around the world.
While accepting the award, Mr Mwenda said he was humbled to have been nominated and finally awarded the prestigious recognition, and sought to share the win with his PACJA team and partners who had in one way or another helped him and the organisation achieved the few dreams that were being recognized by international organisations beyond Africa.
“This Award testifies that our cause is just. It reassures me that our efforts are not in vain. Its shows that despite the ups and downs, there is still strong yearning for climate action that is just and fair, particularly to the most vulnerable among us,” he said.
According to Sierra Club, the International Earth Care Award “honours an individual, organisation, or agency distinguished by making a unique contribution to international environmental protection and conservation.”
Recipients of the awards are nominated by independent international teams.
Mwenda said it was not yet time to celebrate and that the award was more of a motivation for him to continue pushing for climate justice, as those who suffered as a result of the climate crisis were the least contributors to greenhouse gas emission.
He admonished US President Donarld Trump and other world leaders that have not purposed to enhance climate action, saying they had turned a blind ear to the reality of the climate crisis and even made a mockery of the achievements so far, but warned that sooner or later Mother Nature would revenge.
Mwenda is one of the founders of the organisation that is present in 45 African countries. He was earlier this year named one of the 100 Most influential People in Climate Policy by Apolitical.
From September 20 to 27, 2019, Mwenda and his organisation will join others in Kenya and around the world in the global climate strike that is aimed at condemning and “demanding an end to the age of fossil fuels”.
Mwenda has been steadfast in the fight for climate justice from the country level in Africa, to the international conferences through PACJA.
The alliance is a consortium of over 1,000 organisations from 48 African countries, and brings together a diverse membership drawn from faith-based organisations, community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, trusts, foundations, indigenous communities, farmers and pastoralist groups with a shared vision to advance a people-centred, right-based, equitable, just and inclusive approach to climate change response.
PACJA is implementing a variety of projects that traverse direct programming, policy and advocacy, sub-granting and capacity building, mainly focusing on the most vulnerable groups that are “unreachable” in traditional development paradigms.
The Alliance plays a central role in key African processes spearheaded by African Union, UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and African Development Bank (AfDB), among them, the flagship Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev) Programme. It is a Partner in Adaptation of African Agriculture on Climate Change Initiative (AAA), whose main goal it to build resilience for the mainly smallholder agriculture from climate shocks.