A few mornings ago on my drive to work, I could not help but notice some upsetting things about the view. The landscape is of course particularly green right now, especially after the recent rains. The beauty of our country is breathtaking across the counties, and we are very blessed to be in this land. But it faces a different problem – we are not adequately taking care of it.
I saw too many garbage piles on the side of the road, discarded waste that would never be put to use again. As a piece of plastic flew across my windshield, it pained me to think that many of our children will grow up accustomed to seeing rubbish fly about and gather in large piles across our fertile earth.
As a deeply religious person, I feel a strong social responsibility to treat the earth well – and to leave it better than I found it. God has given us many natural resources – sun and water, soil and minerals – to help us live our lives. But this gift comes with great responsibility. It is our duty to preserve the land, and to leave it in a better condition than we found it.
From Leviticus 25:23 we learn that, “The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.”
As we navigate the complexities of a growing population, of food insecurity, of an increasing need for power and electricity, let us not forget these ancient words. Sometimes it is very difficult in this modern world to remember that God’s ancient wisdom is as relevant now as it ever was.
But as religious people, we must be socially conscious.
This is the avenue taken by our leadership. The Big Four Agenda item that most resonates with me is achieving 100% food security and nutrition. Global climate change has caused major challenges regarding how to ensure that every Kenyan is properly fed and has the energy he or she needs to work and live his or her life. In particular, we have suffered from drought and flooding, and from insufficient means of energy to farm, manufacture and distribute food.
But in this era of modernity, there are also more solutions than ever before. As President Kenyatta increases his foreign relations efforts to foster public-private partnerships, we are seeing more and more developments in innovative technologies that address our environmental challenges.
One example is British company Futurepump, whose solar pumps are used by small-scale farmers here in Kenya to map underground freshwater reservoirs. The technologically advanced solar pumps are able to collect real-time data about energy usage and pump speed in order to prevent the reservoirs from running dry.
In biblical times, it would have been impossible to calculate data like extraction rates and water levels. But the earth was also far less burdened.
The modern way to fulfill our responsibility for respecting the land is to come up with solutions that enable the earth to provide us with the food we need, without destroying it.
More efficient water management is essential because our aquifers are overburdened. The household, agriculture and industrial need for water is greater than our reservoirs can provide. However, there is still much-untapped potential in Africa – and in Kenya in particular – to develop sustainable groundwater resources.
Companies like Futurepump gather local data that is necessary to create solid environmental policy. This is a mutually beneficial relationship because the company is given the opportunity to develop its data capabilities, while we are able to improve our environmental record and work towards food security.
This would be impossible without Kenyatta’s policy of utilising our good foreign relations to transition into lasting environmentally inclined business partnerships.
As devout people, we already look to the bible to guide our everyday behaviour and interactions with others. Granted, it is sometimes difficult to remember that the bible offers wisdom about navigating every aspect of our lives – including conducting business and running a government.
The next time you are on the road and some discarded rubbish flies by your car, or you go for a walk and see how much waste is on our streets, think about what you can do – small or large scale – to alleviate this problem and improve our earth.
Mr Mugolla comments on topical social and political issues