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Letters

LETTERS: New system needed to address climate crisis

climate change
Illustration of climate change. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Today we live with the impacts of climate breakdown. Our communities are devastated by frequent droughts and floods. This is a manifestation of a capitalist system that is built on take-make and dispose. A system that has globalised externalities while privatising the benefits and socialising risks.

The capitalism system has survived on exporting outdated technologies such as coal power plants that continue to add fuel to the fire of climate crisis. The exportation of these outdated technologies continues to cause chaos among segments of societies that are already vulnerable to the challenges presented by the ever increasing ecological and climate crises.

It is the most vulnerable among us- women, children and the elderly- that are affected more. The increasing refugee crisis is something to worry about. It is not surprising that the very authorities that have promoted the capital system and caused the problem are instituting policies that prevent immigrants from seeking refuge in their territories.

The climate crisis has led to loss of livelihoods across Africa. Communities have to endure higher costs of living and live in chaos as a result of increasing extreme weather events. It is no coincidence that recent statistics ranks Kenya as the 36th hungriest country in the world. Droughts, floods and pest invasions have destroyed crops and subjected many citizens to hunger and suffering. Kenyans are very vulnerable, not only because they are often hit by these disasters, but because they lack the resources to cope with the impacts that come with droughts, floods and pests.

Our farmers lack necessary support to withstand the changing climatic conditions. Majority of Kenyans lack adequate income to deal with increasing cost of living caused by these extreme weather events. The cost of food is increasing. Low income earners who form the majority of the Kenyan population are struggling. The socio-economic gap is widening.

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The issue of climate compensation is not discussed extensively in the conference of the parties' climate meetings. Africa has a responsibility. It needs to protect its citizens from the climate crisis. It needs to bargain for redistribution of resources to reduce the widening socio-economic gaps. This has to be top on the agenda in the forthcoming 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU). African Union needs to come up with ways of engaging the global stage in discussions that will fix the broken system and halt the current ecological, climate and socio-economic crises. However, it will be naïve of us to think that the capital system is ready to adopt policies that solve the current crises.

Africa and Kenya in particular is in a state of emergency. There is an urgent need to shift from the current development model based on make and dispose to a sustainable model that is built on resource regeneration and wealth redistribution. There is a growing need to establish proper policies that will incentivise growth of renewable resources. The policies should redistribute wealth to farmers, to fishermen, to women, to our youth and everyone. We need to cultivate ideas that will promote social entrepreneurship and guarantee employment. This new direction that benefit our communities and families and the local economy thus cushioning us from the current climate crisis and enabling us to fight inequalities is the only way. Kenya needs to set a course that avoids climate disasters and showcases Africa’s pathway for a future powered by inclusive low-carbon energy.

Before that, we need to mobilise and organise all progressive voices. There is a growing need for progressive voices such as the climate movement to continue engaging in constructive conversations. However, there is a need to join forces to increase our voices about these issues. There is need to build solidarity. The marginalised, the dispossessed, the exploited, and the excluded need to come together. Citizens need to join the movement to support efforts that will turn around things. To co-create solutions that will help rebuild our communities and reimagine a better world and a better future. There is power in our voices. There is more power in our collective voices and actions. Climate movement offers a tent for all progressive voices to join forces and demand for these reforms.

Amos Wemanya, Greenpeace Africa Campaigner

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