Written by Cyril Nganda Motiti, Earth Charter Young Leader from Cameroon
I come from a region where there are many resources, whether renewable or not. Cameroon is endowed with a magnificent landscape of cultural, social and environmental diversity. But there are also many challenges to overcome in order to preserve them. There is, for example, waste and chemical pollution, the overhunting of our wildlife populations in the rainforests, and armed conflict between separatists and the government, while rampant corruption holds back our economy and our development. For young people of my generation, this can be very discouraging, even if one wants to commit to a better society.
A few years ago, a friend introduced me to the Earth Charter, which not only inspired me with his words, but also motivated me and showed me how and for what I could get involved. So I started going to schools in my city to talk about water pollution and waste management and to introduce them to the Earth Charter as an inspirational document. Then I heard about the “Leadership, Sustainability and Ethics” course, which is especially aimed at young people, and I was able to participate. The course is designed online, and different themes and fields of action are covered over 10 weeks with content and practice units. This was accompanied by joint workshops, for example an introductory conference, in order to get to know each other and to express our passion and our objectives.
During the course, I learned a lot from the reactions and interactions of almost 100 other participants* from all over the world. Over the ten weeks, we learned about different topics such as environmental education, systems thinking, the Earth Charter and its principles, ethics and leadership, and we got an overview of the SDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals). Each theme was accompanied by a small discussion task and an interaction through comments from other participants or facilitators. This course allowed me to broaden my horizons and my thinking skills. I learned incredibly useful things that I had never heard of before, like systems thinking, and I discovered ecological problems in other parts of the world, like desertification. This strongly influenced the way I think about my own challenges and my search for solutions. The course not only gives the tools one needs to help their community become sustainable and live in peace, but it also helps young people who want to make a difference to find their own path as a Young Leader.
Cyril Nganda Motiti, studies geography and environmental sciences at the University of Buea, in southwestern Cameroon. He regularly leads One World Dialogues between groups from Germany and Cameroon.