By Phanice Anindo
Global warming has been a global crisis, and it is projected that the situation will worsen in the future due to the increase in population and industrialization. Kenya’s, just like any other country’s population, is rapidly escalating. Consequently, people are clearing forest covers to create room for settlement, farming, and infrastructural development. For instance, the standard gauge railway is traversing through at least 130 km of 487km of Tsavo East National Park. Moreover, encroachments around Nairobi National Park have cost the park some of its migratory corridors such as Isinya. Besides, many industries have been built, in turn, increasing the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Consequently, there is a need for immediate action to be taken to conserve the environment and lessen the effects of global warming. A disturbing trend recorded by the WWF indicated that between 1990 and 2015, there was a decline in forest cover in the country by 25%. This worrying trend is like a time bomb as we know the potential effects of loss of forest cover. In the past few months, we have all witnessed the change in weather patterns. Nairobi has been experiencing erratic weather patterns, and the water levels in some of the Rift Valley lakes have escalated. These changes have been attributed to climate variability and change due to the loss of forest cover. Therefore, Kenya must go green to ease the impacts of global warming.
Going green implies adopting lifestyles that allow preserving our natural resources and recycling items to ensure little harm is done to the environment. Green spaces refer to the land area that is partially or wholly covered with trees or other forms of vegetation. These spaces act as lungs in our environment as they help it to “breath.” They offer various ecological, social and environmental functions. Some of these include carbon sequestration that helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, thus reducing global warming. These spaces contribute to economic development as they act as habitats for various species, attracting tourists. Also, biodiversity found in these spaces helps to balance the environment. Currently, the country’s forest cover is estimated at 7%; for us to attain the sustainable development goal of achieving 10% forest cover, we need to plant trees where there was none and restore where there existed before.
Echoing the late Hon Michuki’s words, “A nation that ignores its environment has no future.” We need to take responsibility for caring for these green spaces to harness the environmental, ecological and economic benefits that they offer.