Global warming may sometimes feel like a far off concept. The information that the snow at the arctic has been melting and receding may seem like its not our problem. You may wonder why this is big news, after all we are in a hot equatorial country. Think again.
According to scientists, temperatures in the arctic have been the warmest in the last 400 years. The National Academy of sciences, discloses that Earth’s surface temperature has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past century, and with accelerated warning during the past two decades.
There is evidence that most of the global warning within the last 50 years is attributable to human activities. These activities have altered the chemical composition of the atmosphere through buildup of methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide. These has lead to changes on earth like change in rain patterns, rise in sea levels, heat waves and other climatic conditions like melting glaciers. Effects of this affect the ecosystem which includes humans and animals. It leads to dying rivers, new deserts and affects crop production.
In Kenya according to research compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 7 of the 18 glaciers present atop Mount Kenya in 1900 had disappeared by 1986 and the remaining eleven glaciers had lost between 60% and 92% of their area. The report further added that the total area covered by glaciers was only 0.4 sq km in 2000 compared to 1.6 sq km in 1900 – representing a 75% loss since the turn of the century. (Information from http://www.africapoint.com/savemountkenya.php/ an article called Join us to help save Mt. Kenya.)
The Kenyan metrological department seems to give forecasts which our government doesn’t seem to take seriously. We are always experiencing drought or famines which seem to take government by “surprise”. Our government should take a leaf out of the story of Joseph in the bible and make sure we have strategic grain reserves. The government is always asking for million or billions in donations to feed staving Kenyans in some parts of the country. I wonder whether it is the responsibility of foreign donors and governments to feed our country. What is the job of Ministry of Planning and the Ministry of Agriculture I wonder?
You may ask what does the melting arctic or Mt. Kenya have to do with us but it has everything to do with us. We have mistreated our environment until it is fed up.
It is our responsibility, to ensure that we take care of the environment so that it does not stop being productive.
So what can we do?
We can plant trees. This is cliché, but it is very important. We need trees to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and it also creates an atmosphere for rain formation.
We can use recyclable plastic bio-degradable bags or bags from natural fiber. If you have ever traveled by bus along the major highways you may have seen what an environmental sore the plastic bags can be. Also, because they have to be burnt to be destroyed they mess with the ozone layer because they release dangerous gases that destroy this layer.
We can also lobby our MP’s in parliament to pass better environmental laws and to ensure that these laws are put into effect.
We can also use ozone friendly deodorants and insect sprays etc. these are not harmful to the environment. Next time you go to the supermarket to buy something in a spray bottle think twice about what you buy. Usually ozone friendly sprays have a notice on the side.
We can also educate our people about the effects of burning charcoal. There are now alternatives to using charcoal to light jikos and we should use this.
Avoid littering and be your brother’s keeper.
If you must use plastic, please recycle it for other uses like using magazine containers as lunch boxes and cooking fat containers to hold plants or store grains or flour.
Join environmental clubs or organizations that advocate for protection for earth’s resources and good use of resources to be used.
The future of the planet is our hands and the future is now. They say the more developed you are, the more you trash, but I believe that to trash is not to advance. Take care of the earth and it will take care of you.
Some information for this article was taken from the internet. I wrote this article for EnvJournal, Daystar involvement Newspaper in October 26, 2005. It has been updated and obsolete information removed.