The most intriguing and surprising part about climate change impacts is that all the damage unfolds under our nose, at times even with our involvement.
by Peter Makwanya
From all the natural and human activities we carry out, no incidence or environmental damage occurs without our knowledge and attention.
That is why climate change experts use the term anthropogenic, meaning human-induced.
Human beings know exactly what they have done to the environment or what their fellow beings are still doing to nature, either monetising it, or defacing it.
With each passing year, the amount of damages triggering global warming are incalculable.
The damages are unfolding at a fast rate, while attempts to address them are being suggested, albeit with little action on the ground.
The amount of damage on landscapes has not spared wildlife, having a huge bearing on endangered species.
As the amounts of pollution compound, much of our air, water, land and the earth have been poisoned.
Changing climate and weather patterns have now forced humans to migrate to other countries, seeking jobs or trying to adapt to the fast-changing climate.
Some are migrating from within their countries to areas with favourable climate patterns, which are also conducive for agricultural production and animal husbandry, thereby causing internal conflicts and land wars.
Internally, because of climate change, people are now defined with which area or region they come from, hence people are no longer taking each other as people of the same nationality, but it’s regions or tribes that do matter most.
It is also not surprising that one can be described as a foreigner in their own country.
Fighting for scarce resources erupts quite often, pitting people of different tribes and regions against each other, while the underlying factors are centred on climate-induced scarcities.
We all know what is eating away our environments, no matter what spirited efforts are in place, but solutions just don’t come by.
Climate change meetings, conferences, symposiums and summits are taking place every month and every year, but still human beings cannot tame the monster
they have created.
As population densities around the world increase, the earth doesn’t seem to expand, therefore, threatening its holding capacity.
Of course, there are also people dying, but the number does not surpass that of new-born babies.
Indeed, what we always have and what we still have is just one earth. Therefore, we have to devise means on how best we can adapt and save the planet while we continue to mine, farm and fish sustainably.
As all the above are happening, in the name of economic development, it’s the development which, in turn, destroys the environment.
Of course, mining drives industrial growth and the gross domestic product of any given country, but stripping it naked and mortgaging its mineral resources is not sustainable and is not the way to go.
Every country has ruins and monuments, but turning the country into ruins in the 21st Century will leave it without a chance to tell a story to its future generations.
Many examples across the world have tales of streams, rivers and lakes which have since disappeared, killing aquatic life in the process, starving the wildlife, incapacitating farmers and depriving them of one of the most important commodities, water.
For instance, Lake Chad, bordering Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, is as good as gone, so is Aral Sea in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the Poyang Lake in China, Lake Chapala in Mexico, Bolivia’s Lake Poopo, Lake Assal of Djibouti and many others around the world have met the same fate. Locally, our own Save River is now a pale shadow of its former self.
Although climate change alone may not be attributed to the demise of these once mighty water bodies, water mismanagement practices by the people of the concerned countries are also largely to blame.
As lakes have disappeared, rivers and streams have not been spared too, and they are quite numerous.
Their disappearances are largely due to human activities like gold panning, stream bank cultivation or diversion of water for irrigation purposes, which result in large amounts of siltation.
On the other hand, human activities continue to harm wetlands though cultivation and development of residential stands.
In order to move forward, it is significant for countries that care about their environmental well-being to take comprehensive stock of what they have since lost, in terms of natural entities because they are well in the public domain, hence they need documentation.
This is important for the countries concerned about how they would stop the demise of important water bodies, forests and wildlife.
Surprisingly, all over the world, green movements and environmental advocacy groups are very much not popular with the governments because they stand and advocate for environmental justice, while governments are not as sincere in walking the talk as per their policies.