The universe and the environment are some of the biggest worries the world has. But one thing that is for sure the biggest problem with the human race is that we are full of ourselves. Like one politician in Museveni‘s banana republic would say, we suffer from exaggerated self-importance. We like to be in charge. We like to feel we are in control. It‘s an ego. It‘s a lie, though.
We have destroyed the world. We have wasted the universe. And to avoid the consequences that have come because of our actions, we say we need to save the universe. And how do we do that? We must plant trees. We must stop draining swamps. We must mind the gas emissions into the atmosphere. All of a sudden, the environment is crucial. We must save the world.
Paulo Coelho in his The Winner Stands Alone expresses our predicament this way, ―How can we be so arrogant? The planet is, was and always will be stronger than us. We can‘t destroy it: if we overstep the mark, the planet will simply erase us from its surface and carry on existing. Why don‘t we start talking about not letting the planet destroy us? Because saving the planet‘ gives a sense of power, action and nobility. Whereas not letting the planet destroy us‘ might lead to feelings of despair and impotence, and to a realisation of just how limited our capabilities are”
What does the law say? The law is there and it prohibits all these things that cause negative climate change. We have environment monitoring and management offices established by law in almost every country in the world but the climate is only getting worse. What are we not doing well? Should we start #NEMAmustgo?
The cold weather has swept through East Africa like a plague. On social media, my friends from Kampala and Kigali are say- ing the cold is unprecedented. I cannot explain to you how it‘s not only difficult to wake up in the morning because of the cold; it is completely unpleasant to be at work. It‘s too cold. It‘s freezing cold. Today, the sun did not even show its face. I took to drinking hot water. The warmth the water provided was short lived. And you know what is disheartening; scientists say that the cold weather will even last longer. For those who are in Nairobi, you may have noticed that the cold season came upon us earlier, this time.
Worse things are yet to happen. Glaciers are shrinking, ice on the high seas is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges are shifting and trees are flowering sooner. There is loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves. Global temperatures were at their highest in many years before this cold kicked in largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities.
And by the way, it‘s very worrying that this negative Change will continue through this century and beyond, Temperatures will continue to rise, we shall see more of heat waves and earth cracking droughts, hurricanes will become stronger and more intense and sea levels will rise by approximately 1-4 feet by 2100 and the most scary of all, the arctic is likely to become ice-free.
Now, we need to start talking of saving ourselves. The right to life is inherent and we cannot claim it from any one yet we are on the course of depriving it from ourselves. Do something to save you today. Plant a tree. Discourage deforestation. Go to the streets when the government wants to give our natural re- sources to investors. Demand for results from our national environment management and monitoring bodies. Refuse to pay that garbage collector in your estate if despite your monthly payments, your neighbourhood is littered. Scorn all those who have no sense of a clean environment and poorly dispose of their garbage. Shun every politician who does not talk of the need to save ourselves from these environmental effects in his manifesto.
Let us not let the universe destroy us!
BY SASHA MUSIGI
This article appears in our digital law newsletter, The Deuteronomy Vol 7, Issue 4 of July 28th, 2017
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