We’re facing the biggest environmental challenge of our time and no matter what we’re passionate about, something we care about will be affected by climate change. It is only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money. Indeed, there is danger in thinking that the environment is less important than development or the economy. Isn’t it evident that mother earth is in tears? but now, who is going to wipe her tears?
Why are we living in this planet as if we have another one to go to once planet earth is messed up? As if the scientists have just discovered that planet Jupiter and Pluto can now support life? Don’t you be misled, if we continue messing up planet earth then we will have no other option but to live in our own mess. “We are the first generation to be able to end poverty, and the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Future generations will judge us harshly if we fail to uphold our moral and historical responsibilities.” I conquer with the united Nations secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on this statement.
At the moment, the greatest risk to Africa’ growth and economy is climate change. Think about the effects of climate change for instance. I will take you all the way to China where the kids of Beijing are forced to wear pollution masks just to go to school all because the air in China is so polluted. Is this what you want for your kids? Your own son or daughter? Your grandchildren? Your great grandchildren? The answer lies in your hands. We must achieve sustainable development Goal number 13 by taking Action against climate change through mitigation and adaptation measures. Other climate change effects include food insecurity, deforestation, droughts, flooding, melting glaciers, species extinction, poverty, skin diseases due to ozone layer depletion among others.
I think we are running the most dangerous experiment in history, which is trying to see how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere can handle before there is an environmental catastrophe. You know, with the increasing number of industries, transport systems leading to congestion of vehicles in towns, clearing forests by cutting down of our carbon sinks (the trees), poor waste disposal methods and particularly burning plastic wastes, too many constructions and development projects at the expense of even the gazetted forests and our wild animals among other activities that are leading to climate change.
Such are the times when we ought to start thinking of engaging in climate mitigation and adaptation practices. This may include; practicing climate smart agriculture, use of energy efficient appliances, planting of trees, use of sustainable innovations and ideas especially from young people. We also ought to major and invest in climate change and gender. I’m a very happy person today because the issue on gender and climate change was well discussed during the conference of parties 21 in Paris, France. Gender happens to be sustainable development goal number 5. Women represent the biggest percentage of the worlds poor, hence, its important to put them on the front line when trying to get solutions to climate change. Women are the most affected in terms of climate change. Maybe someone would ask me why women? Others would wonder if the floods that come as a result of climate change only sweep away settlements that belong to women and leave those that belong to men standing still. Anyway, that’s a joke for another day. Did you know that women produce almost 60% of the food that we eat? and the agriculture sector being the most affected by climate change contributes a huge percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) especially in African countries.
If you are a leader, be a leader with a difference, if you care about the future generations, be different by conserving planet earth in all your movements, actions, dealings and activities. Don’t struggle looking for a shade where you can pack your Mercedes Benz and you know very well deep down in your heart that you are so afraid of getting your hands dirty planting trees. Planet earths needs real people who will love her with true love and not pretense. The earth has got enough resources, but it only has enough to satisfy mans needs but not mans greed.
Time to act on climate change is either now or never and its important to note that the greatest threat in this planet is the believe that someone else will save it. You had better taken up your positions since no one else will save planet earth. We only have one single mission left, to protect and hand on a clean, green and healthy planet to the next generation. My parting short is definitely from my mentor, the late professor Wangari Maathai, “Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and nurture it, you are not doing a thing you are just talking.”