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Posted By Humphrey Bwayo Posted On

What Is Kenya’s Next Big Environmental Move Ahead of COP26 Conference In Glasgow?

In two weeks, world leaders will meet at Glasgow, for the most anticipated conference of the decade, The COP26 Climate Change Conference. In Kenya, there’s a different kind of heatwave brewing, it has nothing to do with the surging global temperatures, but a lot to do with governance. As far-fetched as it may seem, the next regime will determine Kenya’s course towards climate action.

Kenya is already facing its own setbacks when it comes to environmental conservation. In my opinion, the government needs to immediately set up a campaign to educate its civilians at the lurking danger if we don’t immediately step up and follow the rest of the world and close the emissions gap.

The COP26 conference will host 200 countries, that will showcase their plans to cut emissions by 2030, in accordance with the Paris agreement. The conference will run in Glasgow, Scotland from 31st October to 12 November. Could lead to major changes to our everyday lives.

Not Everyone Understands Climate Action, It’s Importance Or Underlying Effects

You don’t need to read a newspaper or visit a library to understand that the masses are not aware of the looming climate crisis. In August, I took a trip to Malindi, Kenya, and witnessed a group of locals playing a cat and mouse game with local law enforcement officials, ferrying wood from forest reserves.

I have seen the same thing in Elgeyo Marakwet, locals struggling to smuggle precious charcoal, despite the county government’s efforts to set up roadblocks on the busy road. You’ll spot scattered smoke billowing on the landscape driving down to Kapleach, an incriminating sign of charcoal burning. Remember, Elgeyo Marakwet is Kenya’s core water tower.

If you’ve been on that beautiful road, all the way to Marigat, you’ll notice, most of the plant life is indigenous with a mixture of shrubs and herbs. Perhaps the reason, why honey from that region is amazingly sweet, and sort-after due to beliefs about its healing capabilities.

On the Elgeyo Marakwet/Baringo County border, a Lake, that was once the second most biodiverse water body in Africa exists, Lake Kamnarok. The lake is an ancient corridor and is one of the largest remaining elephants ranges in Kenya, covering Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, and Turkana counties. Once upon a time, Lake Kamnarok boasted of diverse plants, and wildlife, from hippos, crocodiles, elephants, hundreds of bird species, and fish. That reality has slowly faded into a memory.

Lake Kamnarok is also fighting its own environmental wars, despite being the core watering hole for refuge elephants in the region, it is under threat from degradation, and human encroachment. Its ecological beauty once visible from the Iten View Point, today, only a dark shadow of its once beautiful glory exists covered by a thick layer of hyacinth— further worsening the condition.

National Environmental Campaign On Protection of Natural Resources

These are just but a few observations. There are thousands of small examples of environmental indiscretions scattered throughout the country, in every county. Summing up all these indiscretions can explain the recent erratic weather patterns, floods, drought, and food security issues the country is facing in 2021.

The government is not unaware of the underlying issues. There are several successful programs ongoing to conserve the environment in the regions I have mentioned including the REDD+ project. However, it might be time to educate the masses about the current global environmental crisis and the effects of global warming.

Implementing a national environmental campaign on environmental conservation will go a long way in instilling a culture of protecting and caring for nature as opposed to segregating that information to locals in affected areas. The government, influential Kenyas, School Curriculum implementers, Authors, Media, Religious leaders, and Politicians need to work together to implement climate action.

A big shout out to individuals who’ve taken it upon themselves to educate the masses on environmental conservation and wildlife protection. Take some time and watch Wildlife Warriors, and if you have young children, get a copy of the children’s story and coloring book, Saving the Beautiful Forest and Other Stories.

Image: Twitter_Kenyafacts

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