Climate change will turn lives upside-down

Jackson Ole Sapit

The head of the Anglican Church of Kenya Jackson Ole Sapit (left) and students plant tree seedlings at ACK Guest House in Makueni County on October 10, 2022. 

Photo credit: Pius Maundu I Nation Media Group

Even though Kenya contributes less than 0.1 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it has policies and measures to pursue a low-carbon and resilient development pathway to realise its Vision 2030 to transform the country into a newly industrialising, middle-income economy.

Kenya’s economy is largely dependent on tourism and agriculture, both susceptible to climate change and extreme weather conditions. Increasing heat and drought contribute to severe crop and livestock losses, leading to famine and other threats to human health and well-being.

Climate change is increasingly impacting the lives of citizens and the environment. It has led to more extreme weather events like the drought that last longer than usual, irregular and unpredictable rainfall and increasing temperatures. That has worsened challenges such as water scarcity, food insecurity and economic stagnation yet harvests and agricultural production account for 33 per cent of the gross domestic product. 

The government should help to improve farming to curb climate change so that drought and famine do not adversely affect us, hence increasing food production. Forests are crucial in the fight against climate change and protecting them is vital. Yet companies destroy forests to pave the way for animal farming, soya or palm oil plantations. Better laws can stop them.

Every year, environmental factors take the lives of 13 million people since the changing weather patterns are expanding diseases and extreme weather events increase deaths and make it difficult for healthcare systems to keep up.

The burning of imported petrol and diesel causes over 70 per cent of Kenya’s energy-related emissions. The government should switch to a sustainable transport system by capitalising on surplus renewable energy. Petrol and diesel vehicles, aeroplanes and ships use fossil fuels.

Mr Mwendwa is a communication and media technology student at Maseno University. [email protected].