Climate change has become a reality in the last few decades all over the world. It occurs when there is variation in the long-term weather patterns, therefore, different parts of the world start experiencing changes from the usual weather conditions to extremes that are unfavourable to our ecosystem.
One of the major effects of climate change is global warming, which is caused by human activities that accumulate greenhouse gases in the atmosphere such as burning of fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas. Deforestation releases carbon into the air while livestock production leads to methane emissions.
All these activities make our forests and oceans overwhelmed in terms of absorption of these greenhouse gases.
As the atmosphere heats up, we experience changing weather patterns causing dry areas to be drier leading to droughts, heatwaves and world fires. Wet areas receive more rains leading to the frequent floods that we are seeing these days.
Last year, our country not only faced serious floods but also mudslides even in least expected places like West Pokot.
Our weather pattern is becoming unpredictable that our farmers are now getting confused on the planting season. I hope meteorologists will help them in this difficult times.
Recently, we have also been battling with swarms of desert locust and scientists have said it could be linked to the hot temperatures as it is an ideal environment for them. Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned that rising numbers of desert locusts will present an extremely alarming threat to food security and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa.
Rising sea levels as a result of ice sheets in the arctic melting into the sea threatens coastal ecosystems and some big coastal cities and Island nations that are currently residing at sea level are at risk.
The oceans are getting warmer and industrial pollution is causing them to be more acidic.
The world needs to fight this crisis head-on and face the truth that we are excessively consuming the world resources beyond sustainability. Governments need to make tough decisions even if there are immediate, short-term economic and political implications. It’s time to invest heavily in technologies that promote energy-efficient machines which have less emissions starting with the crowded transport and industrial sector. An example is electric engine, which provides a very good alternative to combustion engines.
For the sake of our future generations we have to do something now, it’s not too late. As individuals what part can we play?
Let’s start by growing trees in our homes and neighbourhoods, use more of renewable items, cut home energy consumption and use the alternative environment-friendly sources of energy like solar power. Cutting out on meat and dairy consumption especially beef and lambs will reduce methane emission.
Let’s also fully consume our prepared foods and avoid unnecessary wastage and pollution of our environment. More importantly let’s develop a low-carbon mindset and speak the same gospel to our families, friends, workmates, our neighbours and the entire world will start to change.
The late environment activist and Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai said: “Mother Nature is very generous but very unforgiving.”
Renson Kitur, Nairobi