We should all do our bit if we are to reduce climate change

An aerial view of the rising water levels from Lake Baringo. 

Photo credit: File | Robert Gichira | Nation Media Group

Climate change is an issue of critical emergency across the world today. Action needs to be done now! If not, future generations will suffer from the mistakes that we have made. The crisis of global warming must be brought to the fore if we are to mitigate this problem.

Climate change was first noticed in the 19th century when the environmental changes were first noticed. Global warming is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide in large amounts.

Greenhouse gases can be emitted from industries, vehicles and even from livestock. Trees help with absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but the percentage of forest cover has been declining in recent years.

In Kenya, the forest cover f declined by 25 percent from 1990 to 2015, which is approximately 824,115 hectares. This is 33,000 hectares of forest cover lost every year. Scientists have discovered that nearly one in three outbreaks of new and emerging diseases are linked to deforestation.

Novel viruses

Animals are being forced out of their homes by humans. This leads to further exposure to novel viruses. According to the UN, only 6.1 percent of Kenya is forested. The UN recommends that a minimum of 10 percent of a country should be forested. This is alarming and needs to be addressed.

Droughts and recent infestation of locusts are as a result of climate change. Global temperatures are expected to reach between 4.1 degrees and 4.8 degrees Celsius.

In 2019, a study projected that in low emission scenario, sea levels will rise 30 centimetres by 2050 and 69 centimetres by 2100.

Cities are expected to be submerged in the ocean because of the rise of sea levels, including; Shanghai, Miami, New York, and Lagos.

The question is; what can we Kenyans do? We should try as much as possible to reduce our carbon footprint by looking for options to mitigate climate change. We should educate ourselves and others.

We should opt for environmental safe options such as using reusable packaging instead of plastic bottles. These are called swap outs. A swap out is the exchange of one item for another less harmful one to the environment. Examples include; a wooden toothbrush instead of a plastic toothbrush. Instead of having to buy bottled water, we could carry our own in a reuseable and washable bottle.

Climate change

If each individual was to educate themselves and inform others, I think the world would be a better, cleaner and safer place for everyone, animals and plants included.

We should all follow the example of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg who brought awareness about climate change. She has influenced many people around the world to put an end to climate change.

Companies such as Sanergy in Kenya have put in efforts to bring sanitation in the country especially in less developed areas. The Momo pencils company are reusing newspapers to make pencils for students. Instead of having to import wooden pencils that increase deforestation.

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