Uganda was once named “the pearl of Africa” by Sir Winston Churchill. She was endowed with beautiful environment comprised of rainforests, woodlands and various species of fauna and flora that lent a bird’s eye view of the most beautiful-green area patched around Africa’s great lakes region. Due to the unforgiving impacts of global warming, today these appealing features are nothing but appalling historical facts to meditate over.
Where is the beauty anymore? What kind of woman is this that destroys her own attraction and what are the consequences upon her and her children?
Remember that Uganda one time ranked first in the list of the most toured countries on the entire earth. It is probable that her fall is a consequence of enjoying foreign exchange gifts from the flourishing tourism with less effort to preserve her treasured micro climate.
Plague number one: the tourists have turned into NGO expatriates flocking in to attend various international environmental mourning ceremonies masquerading as workshops and fellowships.
Wretched villages no longer appealing to livelihoods; fields that no longer grow; stumps left of forests, saluting the hot of the sun, extreme weather conditions like strong winds that blow down people’s homes in addition to socio-economic dilemmas such as increased scarcity of wood-fuel and water shortages from prolonged dry spells.
Plague number two: October 2009, in the Eastern district of Bududa. Mudslide buries over 2000 people in 2 villages inhibiting the slopes of mountain Elgon, a tragedy that left over 3000 people destitute, homeless and bereaved.
The government was forced to declare a public holiday for Ugandans to mourn those who perished in the landslide. Climate Alert’s quickly casted the disaster to the “list of the deadliest mudslides of all times.”
The menace was linked to rampant deforestation of the steep slopes for wood-fuel production and farming space. When torrential rains resulting from the changing weather patterns hit the bare mountain slope, it fell apart upon the villages.
National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) sent outcries to the public to conserve forests. The local watchdog had noticed the size of forest cover had declined over time in an alarming rate. It was estimated that there was an annual forest loss of 88,638 hectares per year from 1990-2005nationwide corresponding to pressure to provide livelihoods and economic benefits.
International watchdogs also barked. World Bank Group in partnership with Korea Green Growth Partnership published a 60 paged document, Promoting Green Urban Development in African Cities with critical concerns that Urban Africa has seriously lost much of its green vegetation.
Focusing on Uganda, former public spaces and parks in Kampala and other towns have been mysteriously converted into other urban uses such as erection of tall buildings.
Another plague was brought to light more recently during the Paris Climate summit. Moments of silence shifted to live images of the receding snowline at two summits of Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains: Margherita and Edward.
The images, beamed into the summit by a team of seasoned mountaineers on location atop the Rwenzori, helped cover the melting glaciers as a consequence of warming planet.
Among the images streamed through at the summit included an expanse of the mountains’ vegetation that was razed by a wild fire late 2014 that lasted almost a week, following a spell of close to a month without rainfall on the mountains that are also a UNESCO heritage site.
“The Rwenzoris are known to experience heavy rainfall at least twice every week, and long spells without rain on the mountains are a stark indicator of the effects of climate change,” says Tim Jarvis, the ambassador of World Wide Fund for Nature, Australia, and leader of the four-man crew of mountaineers who streamed live to the summit from the Rwenzoris.
This is the heavy price we are paying encroaching the nature. If we want a greener future for the generation to come, it is important we combat climate change from its roots. This would render cutting down all various fossil consumption of all sorts and focusing on renewable energy investment.
A greener country and a brighter future will lean on the raptures of renewable energy miracles, a trance that will break the bondage of carbon dioxide karma, as a contribution to the united effort to achieve the major goal of an agreement reached last year in Paris—to stop climate change and keep the temperature increase below 1.5 degrees.
Such huge efforts to heal the country mean small, small contributions. Works will need to be focused activities like conservation and enhancement of forest landscapes, reclaiming waste lands hence restoring biodiversity; livelihoods, and economic opportunities which they support.
Doing, one of the most pertinent goals of Paris climate summit, “Pledging to create one new ecosystem for every ecosystem destroyed by climate change,” will be deliberately met to avoid more unknown plagues.
By Boaz Opio