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Walk the talk and save environment



Walk the talk and save environment

Thursday, February 9th, 2023 00:01 | By

Image used for illustration. PHOTO/Courtesy

Kenyan Nobel Prize Winner, the late Prof Wangari Maathai, who was also The Green Belt Movement founder, once during her work as an environment activist shared a picture of dry parched land, and warned Kenyans, especially the political class, of how their inaction and actions would one time result to such becoming our reality as a country.

She warned how cutting down trees recklessly and destruction of forests would not only result in a land that consumes its own  people, but also its flora and fauna. This at the time seemed a far-fetched reality… probably likely to happen a century from then. And how wrong were we!

The reality is here with us. What with the prolonged three-year drought the country has been experiencing, the worst in 40 years. The crisis has resulted in water shortage, as witnessed in the drying up of rivers that had year-long flow, food shortage and pasture resulting to conflict among pastoralists and between humans and wild animals.

All that which Wangai predicted is happening now. And this is not only affecting humans, but also wildlife, a lifeline for the country’s tourism.

Kenya earned Sh167.1 billion from tourism in the first eight months of 2022, which was double what the country made in 2021.

These revenues are shored and often driven by tourist visits to experience our wildlife. This key foreign currency earner is under  threat, as the number of wild animals dying owing to the severe drought rises by the day.

For instance, Samburu county, which hosts a sizeable number of wild animals has not had rains for the last four years, resulting  in such a high numbers of wildlife deaths. A number of other species have been affected and these numbers could be higher despite efforts by government and conservancies to supply water, feed and salt licks to the animals.  What is our way out, you may ask? It is time government and experts actualise all plans it has in place to help mitigate climate change. Restoring natural environments or ecosystem restoration should be first priority, as other supportive measure run in tandem. President William  Ruto’s government has a plan to plant three billion trees and increase forest cover by 30 per cent by 2030. How shall this be executed is something Kenyans need to know, so they could play their role appropriately.