Archive for the ‘Waste’ Category

Woe unto Kenyans, they must join the world in the fight for sustainability

Image of branded plastic carrier bags in Kenya (retrieved from Kenya Climate Innovation Centre website)

The plastic bag ban initiated by NEMA has been met with mixed reactions, and these mainly negative. Comments have come in from left, right and centre decrying the ban due to the economic effect it shall have on a nation that already has a high percentage of its population unemployed (and counting). With the industry being linked to over 9,000 jobs, no one wants to see it go. And don’t think that the support you see for the ban online does mean it’s supported equally as fervently offline. The masses most affected by this ban are not the individuals on Facebook and twitter retweeting every NEMA and MENR tweet with their added nods of approval. The masses are the kadogo economy dependants who get everything sub-divided in those convenient, flat plastic bags.

This plastic bag ban is the wake-up call for Kenya. A wake-up call for all developing countries really; developing countries who have been crying foul as countries globally dragged the climate change negotiations on and on when they were facing the brunt of the fall out from the warmer global temperatures. Environmental activists have been calling for action from these callous northerners. Action to slow down the effects that THEIR development is wreaking on our countries. “We are developing, we weren’t the cause of whatever is currently ailing the planet” we cry as we point fingers at the global North.

And then the plastic bag ban comes and we assume the exact same position as the constantly negotiating countries. Faced with the idea that WE, a less developed nation, have to change our ways for the sake of the environment leads us to immediately question this move, especially considering that it shall hurt us financially – All those jobs!

These sentiments may be shared by a lot more than will comment on this piece with rage but dear Kenyans, it is not the end of the world. Changes in the status quo cannot solely be carried out by the developed countries while we carry on with life(business) as usual. We may be a developing country but conversations on realising what it does mean to contribute towards sustainable change as developing countries need to begin. And one of those ways is the banning of plastic bags. Multiple views have been shared on how the government is going about this the wrong way,  and I do agree with some of those views – this ban reeks of unpreparedness and a lack of indepth analysis as to the possible alternatives for all parties involved. But we are Kenyans, we are resourceful. Once upon a time we lived without plastic bags. let us go back to that time when things were easier and our animals did not happen upon plastic on their grazing lands.

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

 

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Renewing the hope of dissolute vine

Cover
We are all standing on this ice sheet that is susceptible to the weight of over seven billion. The hole up North sends a shiver through our skin. I see twenty five showered in their warm clothing. What about the seventy one of us? Where will our warmth come from?

Down South, the friction crack is deep on this side of film crust. What did they do to expose feeble life to this worrisome and sleep depriving crack? Moreover, she has to worry of where or when her next plate of rice will be found. Forget about disappearing flows of life that nourish this ice sheet. They say the South has surpassed its carrying capacity and they are too many on this side. But they do not have what North has. I walk on bare foot while he drives this monster that guzzles the underneath precious. He prides of his inventions that block the sun shine to our faces. We can’t even recall memories of clear sunrise or set. Why was he created and invented all this blood sucking calculus around us.

I hear him whisper on other side of the fence, “They have too much space, why don’t we exchange our time on our side with theirs”. We can’t pretend no more this hole on our side will swallow us – take our children’s play fields away and next they will be force to live on manufactured ice-lining to cover numerous foreseeable holes.

option1Yes, you see how they are well armed to kill us. Let’s dump this polythene bag here and see if they will cross over to pick. This side of the friction crack is care free – we did not cause the hole and this crack too. I see heaps of rubbish and throat chocking odor. I have stomach upsets due to infiltrated filth in my only cup of life. I take this glass of wine where we all meet. Our social plus spiritual-cultural divide seems to have overtaken our interests to hold this champagne glass on this ecological space. In my eyes it looks like the top – have it, and between stands great narrow divide with wide base of – have not.

I feel some breeze sweeping the snow dust on my worn out feet. I am in a siesta and through this eye I see two inverted glass cups similar to those of champagne glass. Slowly, the dust gathers into the top cup. It looks like one side is full and the other empty. A vine tree with degenerating growth is what I see. Equality my heart jumps, both glass cups are half full but the lower one seems to increase. I can hear a voice whisper through this glass cups let’s pull the curtains down. There will be no moment like this again.

It seems everyone overheard the whisper. Woken up by this confusion, someone stepped on me, they are running and she is crying what we will do. The glasses seem to be getting closer to our helter scepter life. This breeze is gradual pulling my arm up similar to magical robes. I can’t reach the two glass cups. In her little angel strength she tries to hold me up. Where is everyone? I am at the verge of falling through the friction crack. Their mass on one side may save me. It is like a slow heavy jack lifting me and only to about touch this glass cups. The full one tilts to the top and I see snow dust slip to the lower side. I hear a cheer, like a triumphant army trudging through the well cared fields and consciously placed huts.

United they narrate of being sandwiched with these nearly divided ice plates. Imagine being buried within these plates and sink down in this sludge of misconducts. You saved us but I harshly say no – don’t you see the friction crack is now no more. It will recur if we do not take time to take care of it. Let us uphold Una Terra, Una Famiglia Umana spirit – Italian words for one planet one human family.

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