Droughts, floods, heatwaves — as extreme weather events become more common, governments, individuals, organizations and companies are increasingly talking about how to fight back against climate change.
Many innovative and smart people have taken the initiative to create platforms to raise awareness, share ideas, promote discussions and, ultimately, find solutions to the problems we face as a result of climate change.
It's important to acknowledge those making a positive contribution, so I have compiled a list of my favorite environment blogs from Africa. These blogs and bloggers write about the important environmental issues facing our planet.
Environment.co.za has been covering environmental issues from all over Africa, as well as worldwide, for well over a decade now. In that time it's moved from a forum to a blog format and has become one of the most popular sources for environmental news in South Africa.
Members — who include ordinary citizens, NGOs, government entities and entrepreneurs — can sign up to write posts about anything from mining and pollution to green living and wildlife conservation. The submissions are reviewed before publishing to keep spam content out.
My choice of environment.co.za is down to its uniqueness. It says it is not a commercial blog but the publishers have generously said they will donate earnings to local charities and organizations in South Africa should they reach the target of covering the costs.
I also highly regard the blog as an influential source of environmental news serving South Africa, Africa and the world. It has a growing list of guest writers who contribute high quality articles to this site.
2. Green Africa Youth
Founded in 2014 in Ghana, Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) is an advocacy group focusing on environmental sustainability and public health. On its blog and social media platforms, the youth-led group promotes the development of "human interest to observe basic natural laws" and "living in harmony with nature."
For GAYO, that means creating a balanced relationship between humans and natural systems. As such, their work over the years includes raising awareness of climate change, disaster risk reduction, and supporting sustainable agriculture, among other things.
Joshua Amponsem, a young Ghanaian passionate about environmental issues, founded GAYO. An activist and blogger, Amponsem aims to mobilize young people, social entrepreneurs and others with his writing and on social media.
He has also been encouraging people to take part in "world climate simulations" to inspire action on climate change. A World Climate Ambassador, Amponsem says one of his ultimate goals is to build the capacity of new climate leaders in Ghana.
I chose to highlight GAYO not only because the group educates the Ghanaian people about the environment through engagement on and offline, but also because they organize sustainable projects for communities. Uniquely, this environment blog is coordinated by young people and targeted mostly at youths.
3. Friends of the Environment
Friends of the Environment (FOTE) was set up in Nigeria in 1993. As a non-profit, it educates people on environmental issues and aims to raise environmental awareness in the country through the media, seminars and workshops.
On its blog, the group addresses the importance of access to information technology and the Internet for the environment — especially among young people, who can improve their knowledge of climate change and other issues.
The Internet bridges the gap between the privileged and less privileged that is prevalent in developing countries and allows users to learn about modern techniques to conserve and help the environment.
What really stands out about this blog is its unique way of bringing to light the uncontrolled and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, such as the rapid depletion of forestry, which has led to environmental deterioration. FOTE's blog engages in humanitarian empowerment and shows how we can positively affect the environment.
4. Green Africa Directory
The Green Africa Directory is a network that spans Africa with the aim of bringing together groups and individuals working to make the continent greener. It's also a hub for environmental news, information and green jobs — and anyone can go there to learn more about sustainability and to get inspired to act for the planet.
The directory works by connecting Africa's wealth of green organizations and initiatives, so they can swap expertise, support each other and find out about green solutions that could be replicated and scaled up.
I chose Green Africa Directory as one of my favorite blogs not just because it is Africa's sustainability and green hub but also because it has a French version for those who don't speak English, further connecting the continent. The sizeable numbers of followers on its social media platforms is also worthy of commendation.
5. Green Habitat Initiative
Green Habitat Initiative (GHI) is a non-profit based in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, that promotes environmental sustainability and conservation the country. Its main focus is supporting sustainability in cities and communities, which is number 11 on the list of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
GHI also runs a blog on environmental sustainability.
Sadah Haruna is GHI's IT strategist and a contributor to the blog. He is a PhD student at the department of Environmental Engineering at Canada's University of Ottawa. An ardent advocate for the environment, his current research focuses on safe disposal of toxic mine waste.
Waste from crude mining activities in Nigeria's northern states, including Zamfara and Plateau, expose farms and rivers to toxic chemicals such as lead, sulfur, arsenic, mercury and cyanide. But Sadah blogs about a variety of environmental topics.