Climate change is damaging my football dream

Young UNICEF Climate Action Advocate Jaeden, 10, explains how he and his fellow students are feeling the impact of drought

Jaeden Davis
Photograph of UNICEF Jamaica Climate Action Advocate Jaeden Davis, 10, a student at Hope Valley Experimental, St Andrew, and his teacher Keston Edwards.
UNICEF Jamaica Climate Action Advocate Jaeden Davis, 10, a student at Hope Valley Experimental, St Andrew, and his teacher Keston Edwards.
21 April 2023

Jaeden is one of UNICEF Jamaica’s recently formed group of young Climate Action Advocates who are committed to protecting our planet. Let’s hear his story of how climate change has affected his dream.

I am a future footballer living in Jamaica. Today, I would like to say that climate change is severely affecting my dream in football.

I play football all the time. I am playing football after school, and when I am back home, I even play for longer hours. But due to climate change, we are experiencing a severe drought which means there is not enough water to use.

Drought restrictions affecting my school

The government has put tighter water restrictions so we should save water for drinking or washing clothes. We don’t have enough water to water the fields.

The field we used to play in was full of grass, and we had to cut it at least every month. But now, the field is just dry, dusty, and full of stones. This often makes us sick and sometimes we get injured during training or playing games.

Reducing climate change impact at home

In our school, we have a water harvesting system. We set up a water tunnel, so when the rain falls, the water goes into the pipe stretching from the roof and is saved in the water tank. We can transfer the rain to the tank, preserve, and use it for irrigation in the school farm.

I think we can apply this system to our households, as many people in Jamaica live with the same roof design – it’s a zinc roof, the same roof we have in our schools. So, this is one strategy that the government can use, to help every household to set up water tunnels and water tanks.

Clean energy and reforestation

Also, install solar panels on the rooftops. Jamaica gets sunlight all year round. If we use solar panels, it will convert solar energy into electric energy for daily use. This will limit the use of burning fossil fuels, as it is one of the main factors causing climate change.

Lastly, practice reforestation which is planting more trees. Trees are important because they produce oxygen in exchange for carbon dioxide. More trees, more oxygen in the atmosphere which means safer air for us to breathe in.

My fellow Jamaicans, let us try our absolute best to reduce climate change as much as possible. Let us come together as a nation, to help and preserve our beautiful country.

What’s UNICEF doing?

Our Climate action and resilience programme aims to address the environmental and socioeconomic drivers of vulnerability for children by strengthening the capacities of:

  • Government and communities to support the development, financing, implementation and monitoring of child-sensitive, gender-responsive climate policies and programmes; and
  • National stakeholders on risk-informed programming to better protect children and adolescents from the impact of natural disasters and climate change.

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