By Joseph Masembe
On Wednesday April 22nd 2020, we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the World Earth Day at a time when the whole World is grappling with the Corona Pandemic that has seen in excess of 2 million deaths worldwide without a cure or vaccine in sight.
Before this COVID 19 Pandemic hit us, Human civilization had been put on notice by the fundamental issue of our time which is the climate crisis. This climate emergency integrates so many of our present day concerns with issues of economic sustainability , wildlife and nature conservation, depletion of the world’s natural resources and energy production. we are literally at a crossroads called upon to pause and reflect upon our systems of social-economic, and political organization of our communities. How do we respond to the enormous problems paused buy this Climate crisis?
Our solutions cannot only be limited to a single solution. It is going to require all hands on deck. It will take the rigor of scholarly input, sober analysis of environmental bodies, but most important of all, a massive resounding and civic awakening in response to this monumental challenge.
As the voices of global environmentalists develop a consensus on our energy resourcefulness, countries like Uganda , Kenya and Tanzania in the East African region are just getting excited about the discovery of oil as an economic savior. Therefore, a variation of solutions needs to be tabled on how to effectively respond, how to transform our organizational setup, how to drive our advocacy recognizing the need for new eco-cultural collaborations, recognizing interspecies codependency, and frankly, a spiritual awakening to the dire fate of our “Common home.”
Specific to Africa and indeed the world at large, among the many solutions, and in response to this crisis, is the awakening of not only the youth, but children as spirited activists in this effort. A lot more needs to be done to bolster the civic imperative of non- government actors in the pursuit of a better, cleaner, and sustainable environment.
Because of the Corona pandemic that has forced us into Lockdown, Social distancing and largely limited human activity the world over, the planet is now breathing better ironically. Poaching of wildlife is at its lowest, pollution of the Air and Water bodies is also at its lowest. Deforestation too is seemingly at a stand still . Images of animals and birds that hitherto would be a rare sight on our streets and backyards are now common sightings.
The People of Benin have a saying, that you must attend to your business with the market vendor and not to the noise in the market. We should not lose sight of the Climate Crisis challenge upon us in the midst of this Corona Pandemic. Should it take a pandemic of this magnitude to put to check man’s disastrous effects on the Climate? Should environmentalists the world over be happy that the planet is breathing yet our relatives and friends are dying? Can we not better co-exist ?
There is a great African Proverb that says “We desire to bequeath two things to our children. The first is roots and the second is wings” As we celebrate world earth day 2020 in the midst of this Corona Pandemic, let us remember that the generations that will come after us will only have a planet to inherit if we act now . We need to not only empower children to become the custodians of their planet but also to lead by example by reducing our negative human activity on the planet.
Joseph Masembe is the founder and chief executive of Little Hands Go Green.
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