The Guyo family, with their 5 children, lives in a village in Northern Kenya, close to the Ethiopian border. The family’s main source of income is goat herding. During the daytime, all children except the youngest child go to school (which is about 1.5 km away from their home) and they help with herding and tending to the livestock in the afternoons.
The family is mostly worried about the health and life of their children under more frequent and extreme heatwaves. During the hot periods, where temperatures have risen to 40°C, the children have already experienced heat rashes on their skin, frequent occurrence of headaches and disturbed sleep at night. On the days when the children walk to school, they get dizzy spells. During the hot season in 2017, the children could not walk and attend school because the heat was unbearable.
According to scientists, the rising temperatures in Kenya are attributable to climate change. Research shows that the mean annual temperature has increased by 0.34°C per decade over the past 30 years, and this observed temperature rise cannot be explained by natural forces. If climate change is not limited to 1.5°C, extreme heatwaves will become the new normal in East African countries by the 2040s.
The father of the Kenyan plaintiff family, Roba Guyo, makes the message of science clearer for us: “We face more and more extreme heat in our region. This threatens our lives on several levels. Water is missing for herding and drinking – most importantly, my children’s health is in danger. They suffer because of these extreme heatwaves that we have been facing for some years now. If the situation doesn’t improve and we continue like this, we are hopeless.”
The People’s Climate Case is the first case to argue that the EU’s Fundamental Rights should also protect citizens who live outside the European Union if they are suffering because of EU activities. Through this case, they remind the EU of its international responsibilities. They underline that a higher climate target in the EU would send a strong signal to other states to increase their efforts and that the increased ambition is crucial for their survival.
Please contact CAN Europe to reach out to the family.