African nations are always at the mercy of the developed nations with their manipulative “green discourse”. While the greening-mania appears to have taken the world by storm, nations from this part of the world would also not want to be left out but will want to paint themselves overwhelmingly green as well.
But it is not easy “going green” even when we want to smuggle the green values and force them down the throats of unsuspecting individuals. With the deadly polluted environment the world over, everyone would want to talk green, grow green, eat green, green jobs and live green. In as much as we would want to go green, our apetite for greening always meet chronic poverty and scarcities as stumbling blocks.
According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), green economy is the one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Since 1980, our dear government has always been preaching the gospel of poverty eradication, egalitarianism or is it poverty growing, I wonder. Up to now we are nowhere near sustainability, which rests entirely on getting the economy right yet ours is “stupid” as the Americans would say. As things stand, can we surely talk of green growth against this background of grinding poverty and environmental rot? In this background of wanton destruction of forests and the plunder of minerals, flora and fauna, in the guise of inheritance. Then if we destroy what we have inherited, then what are we leaving for our subjects to inherit.
Zimbabwe now finds itself confronted with enormous energy challenges, electricity being the prime suspect while the rural majority are still stuck in basic forms of energy like paraffin, wood and to certain extent cow dung. Ironically, these people are expected to participate in a global transition to clean and low-carbon energy systems. To complicate matters, fossil fuels, notably coal which this country possesses in large quantities, are being outlawed by the overwhelming green discourse.
If we want to embrace green growth as the new paradigm for national development then we need to be investor friendly as a country. Green growth should be seen to be creating jobs for green technologies and clean energy supplies. These new technologies are going to originate from the developed countries, especially, the western and some few eastern countries. These countries also have a say on how these technologies will be disseminated and to whom for that matter.
As a result some countries will be left out because they are bad-boys or rogue as the imperialists would want to describe them. There is no doubt that Zimbabwe is one of the bad-boys and will be deliberately starved of these new initiatives. That is how Zimbabwe was left out of the programme like aid for carbon and carbon trading through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) pilot project. Good guys like Senegal, Tanzania, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa as the usual suspects benefited.
When the green technologies were mapped out and developed, developing countries where not at the centre of these innovations but were still required to comply, as is always the case. Usually the aim of the green growth is to reduce carbon emissions and pollution which are churned out in the western countries in very large proportions. Now they want us to help them clean the air that they polluted. They do this through language as they seek to manipulate us while at the same time concealing their communicative intentions. The western nations have adopted this art of communication with the aim of not revealing their buried ideologies.
As they do this, the developing countries are often described in terms of what is bad for them. In this case, their failure to manage the environment properly.
They use strategies which appear normal or neutral on the surface but which are largely ideological, seeking to shape the events for their own good.
Sub-Saharan African countries, despite having lots of sunshine throughout the year, they are usually the darkest in terms of lighting. They are usually thirstier in terms of water scarcities and cleanliness.They are also vulnerable to opportunistic infections and diseases. When we talk of the utilisation of green technology products, we expect to have clean water, clean air, less opportunistic infections and long lives as well. Even in the face of drought, life can still go on through water-harvesting techniques and small scale irrigation. These will improve our nutrition and reduce poverty and school drop outs. Families will boost their incomes and life-styles thereby not relying on food handouts and government subsidies.
With no ability of attracting foreign direct investments, Zimbabwe will find it difficult to be green growth compliant. This is because the technologies essential for pursuing a green economy agenda are quite expensive. They need a lot of funding which in this case comes mostly from our usual detractors, the West. There is also not enough climate sustainability reporting from the mainstream media in Zimbabwe. Instead of the media reporting regularly about corporate environmental toxins, it is intoxicated with reporting on politics. Climate change effects like land degradation and biodiversity plunder in the name of nhaka yedu (our inheritance) are happening at a large scale in Zimbabwe.As our leaders continue to be preoccupied with these things then will not be any green growth at all.
Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on email@example.com