The dawning of the 21st century saw the emergence of a myriad of problems that, more often than not, demanded concerted efforts on the part of the world leaders. These pertinent issues of concern span economic, social, cultural and political spheres and calls for urgent attention in order to ensure the negative implications are minimized.
Africa as a continent, and Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, has been faced with dozens of problems which include regional conflicts, environmental changes, lack of sufficient clean water, poor housing and sanitation, declining economies, drought and famine, increasing child labour, widespread fatal diseases like malaria and the HIV/AIDS pandemic; the list is endless.
It so happens, however, that these problems in one way or another principally hinge on the "well-being" of the environment. Extreme poverty, which characterizes most of the Sub-Saharan countries, has a negative effect on the environment. Thus, it goes without saying that for African countries and the world at large to tackle the issue of extreme poverty, the first goal within the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), issues of environmental degradation (evident in Goal 7 of the MDGs) and rampant pollution must be addressed.
Talking about pollution, it is evident that the 21st century has seen an rise in pollution due to increased industrialization in the world. As countries strive to create industries, so as to increase employment opportunities for their citizenry, the environment has become the main victim of industrial effluents and other pollutants. This ever-increasing environmental pollution is now an evident cause of global warming and fluctuation in environmental patterns.
The United Nations Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan, while witnessing the Kyoto Protocol enter into force on the 16th of March 2005, alluded that combating the endemic problem of global warming demands the concerted efforts of all the nations of the world. This is irrespective of the economic status or geographic locations.
The ever-growing emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere has led to massive climate change which has far-reaching implications on the various forms of life in the world. In fact, man, in his endeavor to create industrialized superpowers, is causing self-destruction.
It is worth noting with concern that not all the UN member states have forthwith ratified the convention for combating global warming and massive pollution of the ecosystem. This is quite notable and indeed is a major stumbling block in the bid to fight this global menace threatening to bring about extinction of the remaining forms of life on the planet earth.
The Kyoto protocol, in one of its premises, envisions the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from industrialized countries by 5% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2012. This is indeed a step in the right direction in the move towards fighting global environmental degradation and ensuring a greener and healthier place to live in for all. The effects of global warming in this decade have been made manifest by rising global temperatures, floods, drought, extreme weather patterns, varied rainfall patterns, increases in the incidences of deadly diseases like cancer, amongst other implications. The foregoing in itself is a clarion call for faster action in the fight of this global concern.
The Nobel Prize Laureate Ms. Wangari Maathai, from Kenya, was quite emphatic: "The Kyoto Protocol would require not just efforts from governments and businesses, but also a change in the way people lived". This is a change for the better and towards a more sensitive approach to environmental issues and more importantly, towards environmental conservation.
As we celebrate the United Nations World Environment Day on the 5th of June every year, we must strive to develop a greener world, a healthier place and a safer earth to live in. The theme of this year's World Environment Day calls for "planning for the planet". This is a must-do if we envision a safer planet to live in 50 to 100 years down the line. As Albert Einstein alluded, “Great spirits have always been met with violent opposition from mediocre minds”; so, we should be expectant of various stumbling blocks as we pursue this worthy course. Nevertheless, we should never relent because it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but rather it is the size of the fight in the dog, as Mark Twain said.
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Geoffrey Kipyegon Koech
I am Koech kipyegon Geoffrey from Nairobi, Kenya. I have just completed my Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) course at Strathmore University, Kenya.
My hobbies include, writing articles, creative writing, travelling and making Friends. I also love reading inspirational books best of which is "Think Big" by Ben Carson, an outstanding Neurosurgeon from maryland USA.
I do not believe in the mantra that the youth are the leaders of tommorrow because tommorrow is elusive. We are leaders of today!!!
Lets therefore rise beyond such parochial inclinations and ensure that we reach to the pedestal of leadership and influence in all spheres of our involvement.
Great Article! Sabina Podjed
| Nov 8th, 2007
You have made a point. It's really up to us. We have to change our lifestyle. If we continue to be a customer with newer ending demand for goods that companies are producing, we are also guilty for climate change. We have to learn to be moderate. But also search for innovative solutions.
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