Time to Fight the elephant in the room :Global warming!!

Kila siku si ijumaa’ (not every day is Friday —a lucky day)  There is time for everything, he says. Time for Argentina to emerge 2nd runners up in a World Cup and time for it to lose 3-0 to Croatia ,being at the nib  of exiting the word cup way before finals! Pardon me if I bruise your soft spots ,that was so sorry !! And just before I frown with rage and dissapointment allow me to  hop to more solemn a business.. This one woos no luck..it is as serious as it comes ..Global warming!! As much as am not an environmentalist, my eyes are wide open to this  nightmare threatening our existence..a subject of weightier importance ,demanding to be addressed with immediacy. Yes, this is the point where we stop smiling at danger that lurks in our own doings which could soon be our undoing! 

     Global warming isn’t new a term to most of us but just for a recap, it is the gradual  increase in the overall temperatures of the  earth’s  atmosphere.The temperature of the earth is rising at nearly twice the rate it was 50 years ago. Not caused by natural cycles alone but also greenhouse gases  such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide which are emmited by humans in their various activities.. 

   Normally when sunlight reaches the earth’s surface, it can either be reflected back to space or absorbed by the earth. Once absorbed, the earth then releases some of the energy back to the atmosphere as heat. The greenhouse gases I mentioned above ie Carbon dioxide absorbes this energy, preventing the loss of this heat to space and therefore making earth warmer than it would otherwise be!

 

     I don’t know if you see it from my perspective, her point of view.I read the fear from her words, handshook the reason in her caution. Rising temperatures are warming ocean waters which expand as temperature increases since the shrinking of land ice or glaciers have accelerated. Imagine waking up one day to submerged tourist attraction destinations around the coastal areas.. What will Kenya do without  Diani beach, Shimoni coastal views  etc if they all dissapear under water and are swallowed up by the Indian Ocean due to rising sea levels? Time will tell you nothing but ‘I told you so’ when one day the whole coastal province is wiped out by water.. And what will happen to the little children who play with the sand? Who have grown around these waters and have even developed a connection with the ocean and all that Liveth in it. What will happen to their siblings, and their parents ,and their schools ,and their houses?  What about their hope that mustn’t be killed? Bet ,then it will be time for this country to cry.. Oh cry the beloved country!  We’ll  say it like Paton. 

     These wild fires we see ..in Canada, California, Mount Kenya forest etc are as a result of global warming. Higher temperatures during spring and summer result to forests that are hotter and drier for longer periods of time thus priming conditions for wildfires to ignite and spread! Also drought experienced in various parts of this country  and the world are caused by global warming since rising temperatures have increased the preverlence and duration of droughts.. It isn’t fair that more children in Turkana succumb to hunger in future when there is something that can be done now to change this fate all round the world..Yes,  we need not to lose any more life to hurricanes and floods.

  Our personal vehicles to begin with are a major cause of global warming. Cars and trucks emit a lot of carbon and other green house gases. Extraction of unconventional oils such as tar is rising oil related emissions. But what if we avoid these unnecessary emissions by using fuel efficient vehicles which will use less gas to cover distances?  Burning less fuels will generate less emissions and hence lower global warming. Cleaner fuels can also be a solution since they will produce fewer emissions when burnt compared to gasoline. .ie  fuels made from cellulosic biofuels.

    For those of us lucky enough to have the planes that rush us in comfort to various destinations around the world.. Know you are the biggest contributors to global warming.. Planes produce more carbon dioxide than any form of public transport. It’s time developed countries started thinking of the people in developing countries who have  to deal with problems they cause through constant flights. For instance an environmentalist Beatrice shell observed that one person flying in an aeroplane for one hour  is responsible for the same greenhouse emission as a typical Bangladesh in a whole year! And that in every year, jet aircrafts generates almost as much carbon as the entire continent of Africa produces! 

     As much as the obvious way of preventing carbon emission from plane is avoiding flights travels, it’s hard to talk people out of it. There is a way however, of offsetting the carborn we produce when we travel by plane. A way to relieve guilty consciences of air travellers; that is planting trees that can balance your share of the carbon produced by every single flight you take as we await the arrival of commercial aircraft’s powered by solar panel batteries, biofuels and hydrogen  which cannot be expected any soon. 

 Finally, don’t cut down that tree! This is one of the things we just don’t do, just like like talking with food in your mouth!  It could be the tree of LIFE. Trees play an important role in regulating the climate. They absorb carbon dioxide in the air and release oxygen .When we clear forests, when we burn vegetation, the stored carbon goes back to the atmosphere leading to global warming. Deforestation has to stop. The population that lies in coastal countries vulnerable places like Ivory Coast and Pacific Islands have to live.. 

Article by Wachira florence .

For Pam.


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