A man who belongs to Ethiopia’s chapter of the Global Power Shift youth environmental activism network biked nearly 500 miles in just two months in order to draw attention to the nation’s shrinking forests.
31-year-old Yohannes Gizaw is determined to heal Ethiopia’s forests, and his recent tour through the country could help ensure that he is not alone in this mammoth undertaking.
Ethiopia, which is also embroiled in water rights issues with Egypt in particular, is roughly 435,200 sq miles; that’s a lot of territory to cover in a blanket of trees.
A former lecturer at Sodo University, Mr. Gizaw rode for two months as part of a self-initiated environmental awareness campaign.
In that short time, in addition to chatting with curious bystanders along the way, he helped to put 3,000,000 new seedlings into the ground, and rehabilitate 300 hectares of damaged land at Wolaita Sodo.
He now refers to this formerly ravaged landscape as “his oxygen factory,” according to a post by Yeabsira Bogale on the Global Power Shift blog.
Perhaps you’ll recall a huge gathering, a 500 member strong force to reckon with, that converged in Istanbul this past June – right when major cities throughout Turkey were embroiled in one of the largest social uprisings in recent history.
Spearheaded by 350.org, the umbrella environmental movement co-founded by Bill McKibben, Global Power Shift comprises a growing posse of highly creative, energetic and talented youth who are intent to bring down the world’s most egregious polluters and obstructionist propagandists.
Where rich oil barons throw money and power, these young people throw their personal indignation, and their weapons of choice include knowledge, skills, bonds, and community engagement.
For sure their numbers are larger than the rich guys sitting on top of the money pile, and they’re growing larger still.
Aligned with roughly 44 other small and large environmental and social activism groups across the globe, including the well-respected Arab Digital Expression Foundation (ADEF) – proponents of open-source based Information and Communication Technologies, self-expression and knowledge-sharing.
Since their Turkish gathering, the group has returned to their respective countries in order to organize national and regional climate summits that put their summit strategy-making to work.
And their ultimate goal? “A massive and sustained show of force that disrupts the status quo and captures the public imagination.”
A bit lofty, but it’s better than the alternative, which involves running earth into the ground.
Image via Global Power Shift