Climate change: What can we do?


By Landry Ninteretse

March and April normally corresponds to rainy months in most tropical countries. In some areas, rainfalls are too heavy, resulting in floods that destroy crops and infrastructures, displace people and cause even death. The massive landslide tragedy in Eastern Uganda on March 1st that killed more than one hundred people and more than three hundred completely missing is still in our mind. In Kirundo, lack of rain in January has negatively affected production of maize and bean and is forcing thousands of people to seek exile in neighbouring Rwanda.

Some may say that climate has become stubborn. Others may think that we are approaching the last days according to the Holy Scriptures. However, the true reality is that irresponsible behavior towards natural resources and bad practices developed these last decades in industrialized nations and developing countries have strongly affected patterns of climate, causing perturbation of seasons and climate.

We all know that human activities, particularly industrialization since 1800’s have produced greenhouse gases leading to global warming that cause climate changes. We also know that climate change is the biggest crisis the world has ever faced. Our poorest communities, who are least to blame for the crisis are however being hit first and severely.

We all know that the Copenhagen summit last December falls short of what was expected be achieved: a new, ambitious, legally binding treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions and secure enough funding for long-term adaptation and mitigation programmes, especially for developing countries.

But, can we a moment put aside politics and international negotiations and look at individual and community levels and see what we can do to prevent the catastrophe and make a difference? Did you know that every person has a role to play to help reducing pollution and greenhouse gases?

Each generation has its own challenge. At a certain time, war and tension between Western and Easter society was a big problem. Humanity had to face petrol crisis in 1970’s. Then, AIDS, terrorism and economic crisis came recently. But, above all those challenges, climate change is currently the biggest challenge the entire planet is facing that is likely to compromise all expected economic growth and plans and severely undermine development of less advanced societies.

Now that the challenge has been clearly identified, can we stand up as a single man and focus attention and resources to actions that can make difference? Yes, it’s possible. Every person can plant a tree, every person can choose to walk instead of using old polluting car. Every person can carry a hand-crafted shopping bag instead of plastic bag and remember to switch off electronic appliances while not using them. Each of us can decide to use energy saving stoves and bulbs, etc

Always remember that it’s the little thing that counts. I strongly believe that if we were all making such effort and taking such good and firm decision at a daily basis, we will surely experience a difference soon. John Kennedy once said: “Since our problems are man-made, therefore they must be solved by man”. Climate change is a man-mad invention and threat; it must be addressed by you and me, at community, national and international levels.

All those efforts are made not only for us to enjoy a safe and clean planet, but more important for future generations. Because, they fairly deserve to live under normal temperature, to breathe pure air, to access water, swim in clean rivers and lakes and to see wild species currently under threat.

Whether you believe in climate change or not, making one or more of efforts described above doesn’t cost you anything. Instead, by acting accordingly, you prove that you are concerned about your life and the future. It also shows you have decided to provoke the needed change and instead of being a passive spectator!

As we celebrate Earth day this week, let’s all go green and better protect our dear mother Earth!

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One response to “Climate change: What can we do?

  1. Annonciate NDAYISHIMIYE

    thank you landry for this initiative you’ve made
    to remind us what we are calling to do about climate change. Nowadays even now when I’m writting this, people are living a catastrophy sun ,temperature is going up you can’t imagine .In burundi, the environment services try to convice burundians so as they can engaged their force in plainting trees unfortunetly their hobbies are elseways .As the government is engaged in campain of elections ,it will be also good to mobilize people to plaint trees as it is doing in campain of elections.

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