A sip from a spring of certified fresh water whose taste is unrivaled splashes a smile on my face as it gives me yet another reason to be proud of my native mother-land. Heritage passed down to me from a string of generations before me. They conserved, nurtured and treasured nature’s gift to them as a true mark of civilization. Am I justified to break this age-old noble duty?
My home is located in a serene rural setting at Nyamira County in Kenya. I am a proud villager content with the badge of honour handed over to me by my kinsmen. How do I describe the intricate pattern of green tinged hills proudly displaying plantations of tea, tens of trees to acreage of bananas to name just a few? The majestic flow of rowing rivers downstream slowly first, then fast and furious as they gather momentum to form River Gucha heading to Lake Victoria. As the media and newspapers splash headlines of emaciated cattle here and children there ravaged by droughts that remain a mystery here. Food is in fact surplus with a buffet for one to select from. My old grandfather even jokes to me in his usual demeanor that the Lord placed us beneath his bathroom, blessing us abundantly essentially. I wish not that this age-old jewel may be snatched from me.
I occasionally visit Nairobi, The commercial hub of East & Central Africa. I am also a prospective student of its trademark institution – The University of Nairobi. The grandiose terms and allure of this city makes my village seem as a speck of sand in the vast Sahara. However, my heart cringes as this complex megalopolis lost its flare as a green city. Being a millennial, I wasn’t around in its glory days as the revered City under the Sun. Only pictures and videos serve to remind us of what was a perfect blend of a modern city and Mother Nature. Today, where botanical gardens stood are piles of concrete, floors of majestic skyscrapers and exclusive penthouses streaming enviable revenues to the new breed of ‘Private developers’. A subtle term to environmental terrorists who have little regards for the sustainable development conversation. (Most fall in the bracket of well educated technocrats, yet the SDGs seems Greek to them). No wonder when it rains in Nairobi, the street turns into small pools of filth and sewer, stinking to the high heavens.
The consequences of a mutilated ecosystem are dire and will affect us all. Everyone thus needs to be roped in this conversation. Contamination of water sources, poisoning the air we breathe not mentioning the disruption of normal food supply are to be expected. We cannot sit pretty on this time ticking bomb as we await the consequences of pricking Mother Nature’s patience. Governments need to aid the passing and implementation of environment protection laws. Businesses especially the manufacturing enterprises should adopt resilient methods of production. Households should be enlightened on the importance of adopting environmentally friendly culture and practices. These include proper disposal and management of waste, tree-planting and Eco-friendly cooking. Farmers should also be enlightened on Eco-friendly farming. The youth and marginalized groups can be enlightened on enterprises that arise from the Eco-friendly conversation. The opportunities in this segment that can support livelihoods are enormous. This will create a win-win situation for both the citizens and the delicate ecosystems they reside in.
The battle is not yet lost, but we have a long stretch of the journey to cover. We have made few but meaningful strides to this cause. The 2015 Paris agreement set the benchmark on carbon emissions, signifying the commitment of world leaders towards building an environmentally resilient society. Locally the government has passed numerous bills, kick started the building of multi-billion dams e.g. Thwarke, Itare and Bonyunyu dams. The mutual peaceful co-existence of local communities near game parks and reserves is also to be lauded. Locals in water-catchment areas e.g. Mau have also been enlightened on resilient ecosystems protection practices. Locals should be involved on every level of decision making as they are the critical focal point which determines the success or failures of this programmes.
I stand to be counted in Bonn, Germany as a fierce environmentalist who fought menacingly to protect the gem given to me by my kinsmen. From its airs immense purity, etch taste of its water, picturesque villages dotted in undulating rolling hills punctuated with rowed plantations of tea, bunch of bananas and others. My heart wishes not to be parted with the love of his life-Magical Eco-treasure, Nyamira County.