A green Kenya is more urgent than The Hague

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If we expended as much energy on environmental issues as we do politics, future generations in Kenya would have little worry about the effects of climate change. 

But the manner in which we are gripped by The Hague; ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, and debate about setting up a Special Tribunal at the expense of all else should give every Kenyan a reason to be bothered.

When for instance will the Cabinet convene crisis talks to discuss the ever growing effects of climate change on Kenya?

Why do such discussions become a priority just because the status quo of those in power is threatened?

Why was the ‘acclaimed’ Budget read by Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta devoid of funding and policy statements to mitigate climate change?

In the recent past, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has for instance said his government was relaxing planning rules to enable the building of more wind farms.  This will ensure the UK meets its target of 15 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020 and lead to the creation of 400,000 jobs in the environmental sector in five years.

Why is recycling of garbage not a priority for civic authorities in Kenya?  In other cities, you MUST separate plastics, paper and bottles when disposing of garbage or face the wrath of environmental officers.

When will supermarkets in Kenya make it difficult for shoppers to carry plastic bags?  In London, local councils had threatened to have shoppers charged for carrying plastic bags, but only lifted the warning after the supermarkets managed to cut the bags they hand out by half. (The city’s seven major supermarket chains handed out 718 million plastic bags in May 2006, but last year, the figure dropped to 372 million).

Reports in the British media say Asda, Co-op, Somerfield, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose achieved the cuts by forcing customers to ask for non-plastic bags, and offering rewards for re-using them.

We should be more concerned about the effects of climate change than cities like London.  Before you ask what about The Hague? Please read on…

No one is resistant to the effects of climate change but the stark reality is that that there will be a lopsided effect on the lives of people living in developing countries.

According to UK charity Oxfam, 94 percent of the world’s 568 major natural disasters, and more than 97 percent of all natural disaster-related deaths between 1990 and 1998 were in developing countries.

Poverty, Oxfam says, increases people’s exposure, and climate change increases the risks giving the government (and all of us) the more reason to act.  And the time to act is now.  Not in the year 2012.

For your information;

–   There are five trillion plastic bags made worldwide every year
–    Such a carrier bag is used for an average of five minutes, yet takes 500 years to decompose
–    Millions of plastic bags that end up in oceans cause deaths to thousands of whales, dolphins, turtles and seals.

Take the time to reflect on these statistics and play your own small part in reducing the effects of climate change.  I agree it is time to devolve the administrative structure in Kenya so that local authorities (in tandem with other cities) become more accountable to the people – especially when we start electing mayors directly.

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  • Andy Jacobsen

    I hear you on this one. Even though I’m not Kenyan, I share in the frustration of your generation. It is a pity that politics can stand in the way of youthful people ascending into high office. I have advice for you and Mr Miller. It’s now NEVER. If he let’s this one go, we get stuck in the same rut. Please insist on this one. PLEASE. You will do many of your generation a huge favour. It is time to rid this country of political patronage.

  • Young Turk

    Miller should not give it up that easy. He and those who are pushing for his appointment should fight it out to the very end. For how long will we just give way for the Kaparo’s,Raila’s and the rest of the wazees. They should go home and look after cattle as Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi once advised former President Moi.

  • Amina Hassan

    Fight to the bitter end Mr Miller. Kenya needs fresh impetus. Do not fail us on this one!

  • Mutua Ndunda

    I get your point Michael. The youth in this country need to go back to the drawing board. We have been beaten on this one but there is a chance to make a difference. Lets get more young people in Parliament. That way, there will be no wazees to fight nominations like that of Mr Miller. Are you prepared to take up the mantle Michael and Co?

  • A.T

    He should let it go. He can fight another day. This is because by the time politicians are through with him, he wont have a name. and as a lawyer, he needs his name to attract clients.

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