Mitigating Climate Change starts with an idea, an inspiration that would lead to opening new doors and, all it takes to make progress in the fight against this apocalyptic change is to think outside the box. We have to be bolder, more determent and, able to take the initiative. Climate Change is affecting every aspect in our lives and if we do not step outside our limited space, we will lose it all. Therefore, immediate actions are needed. Taking actions is not only the job of our governments but it is also our job as citizens of the world, especially young people who are the future generations, and the changes caused by this global phenomenon will mostly affect their lives.
Climate Change will mostly affect the life of those who are living in the poorest and most vulnerable areas in the world. Unfortunately, my country Tunisia (A North African country) is one of them. The impacts of Climate Change on our agricultural and economic system as well as our daily life are tremendous. With a low precipitation rates during the few last years and the high temperatures, we are struggling to maintain a stable and normal life. Despite that, Tunisia only produces 0.07% of the global gas emissions; the country is bearing the burden of the impacts of Climate Change. However, not producing large amounts of gas emissions does not mean that we are not producing enough to pollute our local environment. From burning plastic waste in the streets to toxic factories’ smoke, the country is suffering from air pollution, and its impact on the local environment. Thus, this is what inspired four young high school girls to come up with an amazing idea to help their society put an end to air pollution and, to protect their local environment.
The four girls, aged sixteen years old, decided to be active in their local community and try to preserve the beauty of their environment. One unhealthy habit led them to create a brilliant environmentally friendly application. Nour Belayech, Ameni Cherni, Ranya Msadaa and Nour Essayeh are four girls from the province of El Kef. The idea of the application started with a daily walk to their high school, Nour Belayech told me.
“Our high school is located next to a public market, and the idea of creating the application came up from there,” Nour Belayech stated.
In Tunisia, there are many public markets; the sellers usually display their products on public space, and by the end of the day the space would be a home of garbage. Therefore, the market located next to the girls’ high school is no exception. The girls were not comfortable by the situation, especially with the fact that some of the second hand clothes sellers end up with burning their products, resulting on air pollution, which would affect not only the trees and the soil but also people health.
“When it rains [and the clothes are ruined with rain] or when the sellers want to dispose the clothes, they tend to burn them, which would lead to polluting the area around,” said Nour.
Therefore, the girls decided to take initiative and, find a solution to this disturbing problem. They set their goals, divided the work and created “Click & Re-Fripe” application. The gist of the application is not only to preserve their local environment, but also to help those second hand clothes sellers.
Clothes market in Tunisia
“With this [application] we are not only looking after our local environment, but we are also thinking about those poor sellers who would lose these clothes when it rains. We are helping them find new ways to sell their product elsewhere and make money, the same time as we are protecting our nature,” Nour explained.
The importance of “Click & Re-Fripe” lays on being a double-edged application; first, it helps with the preservation of the local environment and with the protection of the climate. Second, it helps the sellers of the second hand clothes to maintain their livelihood. The application is a link between those who wants to buy second hand clothes/fabrics and, the sellers.
“Through the application we want to connect those who want to buy the products with the sellers. All they have to do is to use the application and, enter the details of their product [including the price] and put them for sale. And, if someone is interested; all they have to do is to login to the application and, look for what suits them best,” Ms. Belayech explained.
“This way we are keeping our environment clean and, at the same time we are helping these hard working people, she added.”
The girls participated in “Technovation challenge 2017” competition, which was held by Technovation organization, under the name of “Creativity Crew”. Ms. Belayech told me that Ms. Ihsen Charfi supervised them during the whole process of the competition. Their application was qualified to the finals, and despite not winning the competition, Nour told me that the whole crew was enthusiastic, and optimistic. “We were happy to be in the finals. We did our best and, will keep doing so!” She stated, “The application will be soon available for everyone to use, but before that we are making some reformation in the design.”
Young minds are the key to mitigating Climate Change. Despite the fact that some world leaders are denying the mere existence of Climate Change and, others are excluding young people from the dialogue of Climate mitigation, young people will keep fighting for their future and, for their right to have a clean and healthy environment. The solutions are in our hands, and if we do not act now in order to save what is left, we will lose everything we have now. Our future generations need us, our earth needs us, and we need ourselves to be the generation that Climate Change ends with. Do not hold back and create! Do not step back and move forward! You are young and, your opinion matters! You matter! Our planet matters!