By Shingirai Vambe
Harare- The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) has engaged with the fourth estate to report and shape climate change, mainstreaming, mitigation and adaptation in a way that favour every Zimbabwean citizen.
The realities of changing weather patterns and atmospheric temperatures has resulted in time and resource mobilisation on the subject, climate change, which affects the circle of human life and the ecosystem.
Zimbabwe among other SADC countries has experienced harsh weather condition and disasters that left families displaced, without shelter and in extreme poverty, due to destruction of property, drought, above normal rainfall, whirlwinds and veld fires.
The winter season of the year 2022 saw most farmers losing wheat in the field due to continuous dryness and heavy winds which led to high movement of fire across the country.
Properties, educational and identity documents, lives and crops were lost.
As if this was the first time, the destruction came differently, with most Zimbabweans, Africans and the international community witnessing one of the deadliest cyclones in Southern Africa, Cyclone Idai, which ravaged the eastern part of the country come from Mozambique and Madagascar.
Cyclone Idai left a new environmental status, schools closed and destroyed, children left homeless without parents, clothes and food, little did anyone know or expect such would fall in Zimbabwe. To date some people have not been accountanted for and the Government of Zimbabwe has been advised to declare these people dead.
It is the VMCZ’s view that the subject, Climate Change, has not been covered so well and extensively in a manner that the young and the old, Ndebele and Shona, Tonga and Venda people understand.
The one-day training afforded journalist the opportunity to explore new ways of communication, areas of interest and focus when reporting climate change, with lessons provided by UNDP officer, Jeremiah Mushosho and the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Climate Change Department Officer, Emily Matingo.
Mushosho touched on the epicenter of the subject matter while Matingo highlighted on Mitigation and Adaptation.
“There is need to adapt and mitigate on the drivers of climate change in Zimbabwe, and the only way is to continue shaping the society with positive and sweeter stories on this reality,” said Matingo.
Another expert, Anna Brazier urged the media to focus more on the indigenous knowledge systems when reporting climate change as most (old) common practices were in place to preserve, and save lives of both people and fauna.
Brazier told journalists that the small grain approach is an adaptive measure of regions such as 4,5, and 6 which are mostly dry, isn’t a new phenomenal but an old practice by our forefathers, having foods which are healthier than what people are having in this day and age.
Climate Change, no doubt, poses a great threat, disrupting the economy, and destroying social development. New adaptive and mitigatory measures address the construction, Industry, Farming and Agriculture and other land use, transport sector and energy which are carbon intensive sectors currently looking for more funding to sustainably survive through reduction of green house gases.
VMCZ director, Lofty Dube said his organization in partnership with Friedich Naumann is willing to train journalist, besides being a media complaint desk, it is engaging in investigative stories, climate change to mention just a few which journalists are trained and asked to pitch their stories.