Happy Charcoal-free Easter mates. During such times, we all enjoy buns, especially the sweet sugary ones that your mama makes just before dragging you to church. Of course the other times are when you pass your bar exams, win an environmental award, or successfully avoid pissing her for a minute. This is also the time when forests and animals are destroyed in nearly equal measures. Forests for firewood and twigs for Good Friday matching and holding roasted meat. However, if the new developments are to go by, this may be the last Easter you are sacrificing forests to mark your celebrations, in Kenya. Just like a small bun which leaves you yearning for more, the 90-day logging ban may be not be sustainable. However, it provides a perfect foundation for further review of actions that make our forests safer. The recent developments have been fastened by the unanimous decision by Kenyan role-players and policymakers to join the conservative wave started by Kitui Governor, Her Excellency (This is the title she gets from me for being an environmentalist either at heart or at politics- I don’t know- either way, she’s good a champion for this matter) Madam Charity Ngilu. She has given us a lovely bun in the form of a charcoal-burning ban that will hope will be made the order of the day.
Well, we all understand that in Kenya, everything including and not limited to environmental resources are managed by cartels-the dubious, politically-connected, greedy, arrogant, unfortunately-rich souls that stop at nothing until they get their egos massaged.These are the sorry type of people that run the charcoal industry, with their sons and daughters graduating to illegal loggers, poachers, and, if domestic, cattle rustlers. Isn’t it frustrating that these are the people Ms. Ngilu is dealing with? No wonder she is battling with endless court cases, a vivid show of how cartels fight back. No sane human being has the guts to fight for the continued destruction of forests and the environment. Charcoal smoke isn’t perfume, in fact, recent studies place the fumes as not only a health hazard but an environmental nuisance. Precisely, this is how I view the polluters (read cartels) and their endless appetite for biodiversity degradation-all these people are walking health hazards and a great nuisance to the environment. How else would you describe a person who is ready to clear the few bushes off a dry a county like Kitui? A rip-off of a person.
Ms. Ngilu has given environmentalist a life lesson-that fighting for environmental conservation has to start somewhere, that the journey is tough, and that once a single voice is heard, many others will join. I’m happy to see many others, including selfish souls like my Governor, sign the pledge to fight deforestation in their backyards. Just like a sweet little bun, the ban is welcome. You should have seen the smile on the faces of birds when they heard that Kenya is finally trying to do something about their habitat. Even the evil Indian house crow is happy, smiling from as near as Athi River with a finch’s egg in her mouth. She is particularly happy because conserving forests will enable to transfer Kenya and reach the interiors.
Kiambu Governor, His Excellency Ferdinand Waititu, a man of few words, or is it few English? -is also in full support of this motion. Dear environmentalists, this time around we have the full support of all the people we have been praying for to join hands. In my last chronicle, I applauded His Excellency Tobiko, minister for the environment for spearheading the conservation narrative. I love the way he is putting lazy blood in the porous Kenya Forest Service on toes. For most of these employees, it is now “either work or take your cartel home” kinda environment since Tobiko walked in. And for a guy who has worked as a public prosecutor before, there has never been a good time for Kenyan forests to try regaining their lost hope. Even Her Excellency, my mum is for this move. The rate at which she is planting trees this rainy season is commendable.
So, here are the surprise guests who have joined our conservation table, championing for a ban on charcoal production in Kenya and we are all excited to have them. All Governors are in (I know, it is shocking news, but don’t be surprised mate, even your Governor is in this-doesn’t matter whether physically, in prayers, or on paper). Environmental Governors aside, the fabulous Kenya Red Cross is in as usual- the number of devastating people the society has handled due to environmental calamities like floods and drought cannot allow them to remain behind in the fight for sustainable natural resources. The bun even gets sweeter as the National Treasury has its hand in this as well (provided they don’t create any financial scandal around this noble thing). As expected, revamped Ministry of Environment is our guest, the Vision 2030 (yeah, I know, this campaign places us within the vision, but, as environmentalists we need more years to attain our goal-it is when we are starting! Can’t you see we are mobilizing support? hhhh). Okay, the USAID (from the American People? oh, yeah, we need some help), and, capture this, Christian Association Ministry. Dear cartels, if the Christian Association can be for us, who can be against?
Even Moses’ burning bush wasn’t really burning to charcoal. God saw the need for the trees to survive. And, of course, I won’t mention the Garden of Eden. Don’t expect me to. But I will mention the fact that if Adam and Eve had formed cartels as powerful as Kenya’s that thing would have been condemned to charcoal, timber, and firewood before evening time when God came looking for His creatures. Even the serpent would have lacked somewhere to hide, and the two humans, clothes to wrap around their waists once the leaves dry. Adam and Eve’s cartel would have taken God to heaven courts of course, demanding for an order to stop Him from interfering with their business since “their family depended on it”. Kenyans and courts! We are so excited about courts that very soon we shall no longer make appeals, rather sue individual courts to higher courts for decisions that don’t favor us.
Our biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation plates are not full, never were. We are still accepting think tanks, movements, and all individuals of good will. I will be glad to usher in the atheists to work closely with the Christian Association in this. As the youth, we are ready for this, conscious, energetic than before, and well ahead of time to see that Kenya’s forest cover increase to surpass the desired limits. However, we must be fully aware of what we are dealing with, despite the good political and community goodwill that we are currently enjoying. The likes of the inefficient NCIC who summon governors like Ms. Charity Ngilu for condemning cross-County charcoal trade a force to deal with. I still don’t understand how banning charcoal-burning in one’s County, and its consequent sale to neighboring Counties can turn into a sweet bun for NCIC to enjoy.
Being a delicate game, we definitely hope that the political attention we have at the moment won’t be shifted to Miguna Miguna’s story, leaving our efforts hanging. Hey, you politicians-sorry, partners-Their Excellencies-please focus! We have to do this. Let’s conserve! Now that we know the fact that most of these cartels are friends of our partners or our partners themselves, we can rest assured that something is going to be done-at least. Even if it means giving our forests some breathing space, just to impress us. You can imagine the amount of oxygen that shall be available when trees are finally left to breathe.
While at it, can the government make kerosene and gas more affordable as alternatives to Kenyans? Maybe cut down the taxes on these commodities instead of trees, my Excellencies. Sustainable charcoal burning? Will the 90-day ban prove effective?
The Kenyatta University Environmental Week will be taking place from Monday 9th April through to 13th April at 8 am to 5 pm. Have you registered for this intensive and interactive event? Please do it here: https://goo.gl/rqzWB9
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