Climate Change

Victor Odongo Otieno's picture

Paradigm shift from tree planting to biodiversity regulations' advocacy

The World Environment Day marked on 5th June 2014 in accordance to the global calendar of environment events. This year’s theme as released by UNEP to guide the activities is dubbed, ‘Raise your Voice, Not the sea-level’. In this regard, the UN has declared 2014 as “The international Year of Small Islands States”. The theme calls for increased awareness on the effects of Climate Change and minimizing of carbon emissions to the atmosphere which contribute to global warming and subsequently rise in sea-levels.
The theme focuses on adverse effects of Climate Change due to global warming causing extreme weather events including, increased atmospheric temperatures change and alterations to weather patterns, prolonged droughts, flooding and raising of sea-levels among others.
The increased atmospheric temperatures have resulted to the melting ice in arctic and mountainous regions while prolonged rainy seasons have contributed to raising sea levels. This has serious implications to Small Islands States and low lying coastal cities and zones which risk being submerged thus threatening their survival.
Base on the theme, Ngomeni Primary School and Ngomeni Secondary Schools were selected as the venue for this year’s celebrations by the national Environment Management Authority of Kenya (NEMA). The selection was because over the recent years, the area has experienced abnormal storm surges leading to massive wave erosion causing visible effects of sea-level. For instance the ocean has claimed pert of the Navy Base while a fish landing site is now currently submerged. This necessitated the Coastal Development Authority to construct a wall to protect the Ngomeni Village against further wave action in 2010.
The day was marked by having tree planting, exhibitions, entertainment and public baraza. The participants included members of the public, private sector, civil society organizations, government organizations, leaders and schools.
In preparation for the celebrations, RCE-Greater Pwani and other stakeholders (public and private institutions, primary and secondary schools and the community) organized ESD and tree planting activities at Pwani University on 4th June, 2014. The event started by educational speeches from expertise in climate change and tree planting procedures. During the talks several questions were asked and different answers were given by students. For instance;
1. What is the relationship of tree planting and sea level rise?
Answers given included
a) Trees protect the shores from erosion by sea water (primary school pupil)
b) Tree absorb water (primary school pupil)
c) Trees take up water during growth (community member)
d) Trees utilize carbon dioxide gas as a raw material during the process of photosynthesis (secondary school pupil)
Based on the answers given, one can clearly see that we’ve been planting trees but the majority is not sure of their relationship with climate changes. This is what motivated me to think of a new way to make people understand the relationship. We need a paradigm shift from mere tree planting to empowering the community of the importance of trees through advocacy in biodiversity regulations.
For pupils and students thinking skills strategy is a useful tool which can bring positive results. RCE-Greater Pwani, we want to embark on this by visiting primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and the community learning together with them and giving practical examples and case studies. The Pwani University Botanical Garden will be of great use during the process and will provide educational, research, ethno-botanical, indigenous knowledge and art and recreation. Together we can embark on this journey and make more become change agents for a better now and the future.


Hamisi Mkuzi's picture

Dear Victor, this is in deed awesome. I am preparing a photo timeline of the WED and will post it in due course. We need to set good examples as youth because the future is in our hands as youth. It is therefire required of us to make rather than destructing it (the future). Thank you. HAMISI MKUZI for RCE-Greater Pwani
Victor Odongo Otieno's picture

Dear Ha,misi, thanks
As the saying goes...“Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”. We need to invest in our youths for a better tomorrow
Hamisi Mkuzi's picture

Excellent Victor! In deed youth are an asset the elderly should invest in. I will upload a PDF document containing a timeline of the WED activity RCE-Pwani had.

Thank You, Hamisi for RCE-GREATER PWANI
Hamisi Mkuzi's picture
Mundayur's picture

Dear Victor, Your plans are impressive and looks beyond the immediate gains, though in many areas that too is vital because it is visible before everyone. For example, in Himalayan Eastern India, in states like Arunachal Pradesh, there are large scale destruction of forests, raised meticulously by Govt Forest Depts in 1960s & 70s. The change, as you said rightly will not come by piece-meal tree plantation by small groups, but by interventions by a dedicated enlightened Govt & public leaders. Activists need to find ways and means to make these agencies look at issues seriously and with a long-term vision. "If destruction of forest resources go unchecked for next 10 years, what will happen to my region?" should be the poser before them. I feel in Himalayan India, this is the real challenge before all Env activists and RCEs.

Sathyanarayanan Mundayoor