LETTERS: Teaching climate change in schools right step

Dried up Lake Kenyatta in Mpeketoni Lamu. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Dried up Lake Kenyatta in Mpeketoni Lamu. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Introduction of climate change in the new school curriculum is timely and should be welcomed by all. The move comes after a declaration at the 20th Commonwealth Conference of Education Ministers in Nadi, Fiji.

In recent years, climate change has continued to span devastating marine and terrestrial effects, adversely affecting the environment.

A range of serious social-economic effects among emerging economies has also been reported yet these countries’ overall contribution in emissivity of the greenhouse gases that are responsible for the increasing temperatures is only negligible.

Research has shown that after the industrial age, man’s ways of making ends meet have greatly changed, often to the detriment of environmental goods. The increase of the sea-surface temperatures dictates interactions of animal and plant species, marine and terrestrial in their natural ecosystems.

Often than not, species that fail to adapt their ever-changing environment have been compelled to migrate causing conflicts or congestion in their new habitats, making such ecosystems unsustainable.

For instance, scramble for resources between animals and man, lead to their overexploitation or depletion. As a result, some species end up being wiped out, despite their role in balancing the ecosystem.

As climate change continues to manifest, disease-causing micro-organisms mutate, casing and spreading more complex diseases that are life-threatening and expensive to cure.

Plasmodium falciparum and a range of mosquito species that were hitherto deemed as harmless are spreading chronic diseases such as Zika virus, dengue fever, chikungunya virus and malaria.

As climate change intensifies, waterborne diseases are becoming more prevalent than before. Typhoid, cholera, dysentery and diarrhoea are affecting more people because clean drinking water has increasingly become scarce.

Because of the vulnerability of the general population, many resolves for the over-the-counter prescription without examination.

Guessing cures for diseases people ail from complicates health problems and can lead to death. In Nigeria, fears of Lassa virus getting out of hand are growing mainly because water contaminated with urine or faeces of infected rats spreads the disease.

Understanding climate change through training in schools as resolved in the Nadi, Fiji accord is a bold step towards finding a lasting solution to the problem.

Since the majority of African countries rely on weather-sensitive sectors for their growth and development, it is imperative directing synergies towards the strengthening of climate-smart agriculture.

Financial capabilities of rural farmers can be strengthened through provision of credit. Use of drones and application of science and technology in improving yields and establishing markets should also be supported.

More than 60 per cent of the African population derives their livelihoods directly or indirectly from agriculture, which is viewed to be a reliable yet threatened the source of income, food and employment.

This vast population is subject to incurring immense losses, especially, if farmers do adapt to technology but continue to use traditional farming techniques.

While it is feared through climate projections that the adverse weather of the African Sahara will continue to extend, greater fears have to do with the solutions needed to address the persistent human-animal conflicts for food and water resources and tension among pastoralist communities for water and pasture.

In confronting the climate change menace, Uganda introduced climate change in its school curriculum to increase awareness and encourage innovative interventions needed to address the problem.

In readiness to rolling out this initiative, the government should work so as to strengthen the capacity of teachers through training. Since climate change affects us all, we should be ready in accommodating this new subject.

Obed Nyangena, Nairobi.