Letters

Leave the earth better than you found it

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Kenya Scout Movement members cleaning a road at Kiandaa in Kibera, Nairobi. PHOTO | BONFACE BOGITA | NMG

Summary

  • It is commendable to achieve great fetes and have such virtues as hard work, grit, honesty and excellence.
  • It is sad that the only renowned champion for the environment is the late Wangari Maathai. Yet this is what society needs in great numbers.

We live in an era where people are applauded for making billions of dollars or as they say “securing the bag”.

There is all manner of lists to ensure that no noble person is left unmentioned from top-thirty-under-thirty to Forbes List. It is commendable to achieve great fetes and have such virtues as hard work, grit, honesty and excellence.

Yet if these virtues are indeed true then they are consistent with everything that this individual and or corporation or business does or aspires to.

I learned this when I was young. Part of it I attribute to what I gleaned from television. I grew up in the era when cartoons were not cheaper versions of still pictures but had life lessons. I remember vividly Warner Brothers’ Batman and Captain Planet. I think these series taught me the importance and nobility of valuing the planet and the people in it.

They may try to re-introduce these to the television to perhaps save whatever is left of the next generation.

In these cartoons, I learnt that sometimes the corporate world especially the industrial and manufacturing world does more harm than good.

Now, I am an adult and feel like an ant in a world full of what was evident in those cartoon narratives. How many of the manufacturing plants keep churning out effluents to the rivers? How many of the industrial plants keep puffing out poisonous, carcinogenic waste into the air we breathe?

Yes, it is true that these businesses are involved in community work. Furthermore, they may even have built a community that revolve around their businesses and employed and empowered residents.

What is appalling is the amount of money such businesses make and yet they seem to be involved in no apparent research and development. They keep on using the same raw materials that are non-biodegradable and they keep on churning out more waste than they can recycle. Yet they keep talking about their resilience despite Covid-19.

I researched the side effects of such pollutants as clinker and realised that within a few years the repercussions of it to the body would make the coronavirus epidemic look like the tip of an iceberg.

I have worked at some of these industrial firms and can attest to the fact that some machinery and some methods are lagging in the pre-colonial times and this would explain the pollution that the continent is and will face in the future if these practices are not called out, challenged and changed.

It is sad that the only renowned champion for the environment is the late Wangari Maathai. Yet this is what society needs in great numbers.

The sad truth is that everyone is looking for the buck.

Noteworthy too is that the countries that seemed to be ahead globally in terms of economic status due to manufacturing seemed to have suffered the most during the pandemic. Could pollution have been a contributing factor?

Africa may not have been as hard-hitting not because of the climate or genetics but it may merely come down to the fact that we are not as exposed to the effects of pollution that change the physiological aspects of the human body.

In fact, the older generation seemed to have been more compromised due to more exposure to pollution than the younger generations.

Ill health

At the end of the day, it is not a matter of how much you make as it is of how you are. If you are ill, no amount of money can compensate for the turmoil that one goes through.

My challenge is to the industrial companies especially those within residential areas to be savvier of how they handle their waste. They should question their processes. They should try and see an alternative to the raw materials they use.

Consumers or citizens at large can also play a role in the environment by minding their waste too. They can burn their waste if they are in a position to do so. They may separate their waste and recycle green waste if they have small plots of farms and they may recycle their non-biodegradable waste. It’s all a matter of discipline and appreciation for the beautiful home we all share, the earth.

It is nobler to aspire to leave the earth better than you found it. Do not cause ruin to the earth, hurting opportunities for the future generation that may include your own progeny.

Daisy Mumia Via E-mail