Here is a good article that outlines the effectiveness of Family Planning and, sadly, the consequences of cutting its funding. Population is the issue that international and domestic environmentalists are forced to ignore for political reasons but it is absolutely the most pressing issue (environmentally as well as politically) facing Kenya.
Two of our hardest to see animals are pictured here, a Bush Duiker and a male Bushbuck. While common in other parts of Kenya they are infrequent in our area and we see them only occasionally. Both of these animals have been spending quite a bit of time near our camp on the river recently and it has been nice to have them around.
Before saying anything i would like to state that i’m not a global warming sceptic. People have to do this these days so that they are not accused of being a Nazi empathizer or in the pocket of the oil industry. Human beings follow trends and one that has been quite long lasting has been a total focus on carbon emmissions. While there is surely some merit to these concerns I find that the carbon debate too often supersedes all other issues that could possibly also be influencing our weather. A principal and most basic example is deforestation. Kenya like much of the world has been deforested over a great majority of its arable area. If you take away the trees the rivers stop, the surface temperatures rise and weather patterns change. And yet despite these obvious repurcussions the international press remains confident that Africa’s problems are imposed utterly by greedy westerners watching their flat screen TVs. Does the western world use too much of the world’s resources? YES, again – obvious, but this is to me not the sole issue at play when it comes to droughts like the one that we are experiencing in Kenya now. If you remove a massive percent of a countries trees, there will be repurcusions. This is what i beleive is happening here in Kenya. And yet, there was this article in BBC yesterday about how many African Leaders are meeting in Addis to conspire how best to squeeze “Climate Change Cash” from the first world.
How many of these leaders have made forest conservation a priority during their time in office? How many of these leaders have safeguarded their own forest and water resources for the wellbeing of their people? “Climate Change Cash” is one of those sickening ideas that will spell nothing for the average African suffering from drought. “Climate Change Cash” is one of those ideas that will only improve the lives of the leaders who can grab it as well as their friends in the climate-NGO world who will broker the deal and drive all over Nairobi in their gas guzzling Toyota VXs.
One of the principal reasons that global warming is so resonant around the world is that so many people actually feel that their world is warmer than it was when they were kids. While this may be true, the majority of these people are from suburbs of large cities (nobody listens to people from the country). These suburbs are far less treed than they were when these people were young. Less trees, more concrete and tarmack parking lots and…. I think you know where I’m going. It may actually be that global warming would not be discernible to many world citizens if it had not been for localized deforestation during the course of their lives. Not surprising also, is that many of the temperature recording stations worldwide are located in these same suburban, degraded habitats and so have confirmed these suspicions by showing increases in localized temperatures since they began recording.
With all this said it does seem that global average ocean temperature (a much more improtant indicator) has been increasing but to all the members of the Global Footprint Army, I ask, How do you distinguish the influences of carbon from the influences of deforestation? Is the world all going to be saved if we all drive a Prius? What about the trees kids?