Various human activities including use of several energy sources that pollute nature such as fossil fuels biomass (such as wood that destroys trees that absorb carbon from atmosphere) has largely affected the climate and damaged the environment and has many consequences that impact heavily on living.
Agriculture sector is not spared nor is our health getting any better as a result. According to the World Health organisation (WHO), diverse climate change consequences such increased flooding, heat waves, storms and drought are evidence of the woes inflicted by human beings on the environment.
So far, most regions in Kenya have experienced below normal rainfall hence decreased food production and reduced water levels even in normally wetter areas.
Water scarcity is increasing and viable agriculture, even for subsistence, is becoming more difficult. Increase in population will inevitably lead to increased demand for food, water and energy and which will mean more challenges to deal with as a country and on a global scale as well.
Climate change is an ever lurking danger.
When temperatures increase, the soil moisture changes and hurts agricultural yield.
Increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere accelerates the rate of photosynthesis, causing fruits to grow with more sugar and less calcium, protein, zinc and important vitamins. This increases health challenges and pushes people into poor diet.
Health is certainly one key challenge with dangers posed by climate change. For instance, it has been reported that extreme heat that is becoming more common and growing in intensity globally causes mental illness, including stress and anxiety.
Some respiratory diseases and eye problems are caused by air pollution that kills about seven million people per year, according to the WHO.
Pollution and climate change are tied together and with this growing problem, especially with dirty fuels usage and poor waste disposal methods, the phenomenon can only get worse.
There is a need to start educating people on ways of protecting the environment by encouraging them to switch to cleaner sources of energy, use of eco-friendly mode of transport, discouraging deforestation and reduction or prevention of emission of harmful factory gases to the environment.
If we don’t take care of our natural resources we risk losing our wildlife, thereby hurting key sectors like tourism that earned Kenya Sh157 billion last year.
Young people should be educated on the importance of environmental conservation so they grow up aware of the dangers of climate change.
But climate change has been made worse by the corporate world and the capitalists’ indiscipline. This does not mean the communists or socialists would have provided a better solution, if any. It would have even been worse.
The challenge is practising capitalism with human face.
Lifestyles and cultures that create a scarcity mentality are partly to blame and so is greed and discriminatory practices that bar the society from seeing the lurking dangers.
The problem is the weak advocacy we are providing against climate change will come to haunt us sooner, not later and the consequences will affect generations on a global scale in the future.
The challenge is, those who can see the dangers are probably not powerful enough to be heard or the wealthy dictate global politics.
Indeed, the current political changes in some of the powerful nations in the world are telling that solutions to this global phenomenon will not be easy to come by.
Nonetheless, we have no choice but to advocate for a shift lest we destroy the world or bequeath future generations immense problems.
We have an opportunity to act now. There are many hurdles but it takes courage and determination to overcome.
Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda,Nairobi.
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