by Ruth Aine - 19 November 2013
The I9th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [COP19] is just about to come to an end and soon preparations for COP20 will be underway. The experience that comes with wanting to create new policies concerned with the environment is no mean task. As I read through what transpired during COP19, I realize that it is serious business going down, but I don't see any stern resolutions.
Africa [as usual unfortunately] is asking for 'more funding' for the Green Climate Fund with an injection of about $100 billion by 2020. Canada’s gas stance got slammed and Nadereve Yano a negotiator from the Philippines broke down during one of the sessions. He said that even if no one contributes to the process and conversation of climate change, the people of Philippines will not accept a future where typhoons are a way of life. He talked so emotionally about the experience because he had been there and even while he was at the conference was still not sure about the fate of some of his family members. It was a moving speech. Moving enough I hope for the leaders to be able to make concrete decisions.
The conversations pertaining to Africa had not so good news for example: African Alliance of Rangeland Management and Development said that rising temperatures, droughts and declining precipitation trends are likely to hit pastoral system as well as small scale farmers especially hard, since they depend on rain for their survival. Pastoralism is a way of life for most of Africa. We rare the animals for food and commercial reasons and grow the crops for the same.
Our countries all have environment ministers and national environmental managing bodies. But why don't we have functioning green laws and policies being implemented? Common perception is that green policies or 'pro environment' laws slow down economic growth. We do not look to the long term, that we will reap a better Africa if we start implementing the pro environment laws now, we are saving our future. And so, it is okay to drain wetlands, fill them with soil and then construct huge recreational facilities on there. We find it okay to not think about the effects of oil drilling on wildlife, thus will put oil rigs in the middle of wildlife inhabited national parks without even considering relocation [as is the case in Uganda]. After all we are developing and we need to do that so fast and yes there is collateral damage as we do so: but who cares, we shall sort all that mess once we are developed. Then we can afford everything else that we need. This is what seems to be going on in the minds of our leaders. Thinking for now and hoping that when the future comes, it will fend itself.
We cannot go on like this. A look at what has happened over the years with nature and how people get to suffer after a tsunami or drought has hit is heart wrenching.
But enough of the policies and the policy makers. What are you doing as an individual to help keep the universe a better place, the kind that your children's children would love to be a part of? Does it not pain you that there is a highly likelihood that your grandchildren and the other 9 billion people that will be alive in 2050 may actually not have a 'liveable world'?
Plant a tree and not just one but many!
Walk or ride a bicycle every now and again. Car fumes degrade the environment.
Do not burn your waste. Instead clearly separate it into organic, non-organic, paper etc and opt for proper garbage collection.
Recycle as often as you can.
Paper or plastic? Take something that you can re-use as many times as possible. Maybe a canvas bag?
Give it away: don't just throw away. There is someone that needs it more than you do.
There are so many things that we can do to ensure that we have a better world in the future. Let us be individually responsible and let us give the policy makers a helping hand by showing them how it is done. They need the shove!