CLIMATE CHANGE: A REALITY AFFECTING SO MANY LIVES
Climate Change can be broken into its two major words; Climate and Change. Climate refers to the average condition of a place recorded after a long period of time probably thirty to forty years and Change refers to a detour in the normal occurrence of any event. Hence, climate
change refers to a deviation in normal climatic conditions of any place. A lot of evidence can be provided to support global changes in climate from drastic temperature increments in the tropics through to the large scale melting of glaciers and ice bergs especially in the Antarctica and
Greenland and finally to seasonal floodings that have displaced so many people in various parts of the world like Mozambique and India. All these and many more bring about the realization that climate change is a sad reality that is already among us.
“This whole place was covered with bushes, my parents had to clear a large stretch of thickets and huge trees to acquire land for settlement and agriculture.” My grandmother, in her late seventies, always narrates how they came to reside in our current dwelling. Unsurprisingly, she
is just one of the old generation that tells the young ones of the dense forests, thick trees that existed in their youthful days. Looking at the history of my village and how the various people came to settle in their contemporary settlements, it is possible to imagine how many trees had to be cut, wetlands that had to be reclaimed to see the dreams come true. “Whatever is done to nature will always come back to haunt the coming generation for an indefinite period.” She continues. “The annual rainfall received in many areas has greatly reduced and the temperatures have escalated immensely. All these have implored me to realize
that climate alterations which have been so prevalent in many publications and articles are already in our midst. The homes to so many wildlife have been enormously destroyed leading to a disturbance in the ecosystem.” After a long sigh, she looks around the surrounding with regret.
A retired teacher, my grandmother often reads newspapers in her free time to keep her occupied. Her narration also gets me pondering of the fluctuating and drastic changes that have occurred in our environment since my childhood.
In the recently concluded RCMRD International Conference(RIC) held virtually due to the COVID19, Dr. Jenny Frankel-Reed, Senior Program Officer, Climate Adaptation at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on the rapidly changing climatic conditions basing on scientific studies and research carried out globally, states” By 2030, almost two hundred million people in Africa will live in areas +20C, with fifty seven million hectares of crops and sixty million livestock affected totaling twenty three billion dollars in financial losses.” This statement leaves me puzzled at the thought of the high temperatures but above all, the greater poverty that awaits the world population nine years from now. With the already soared poverty in many parts of Africa and famine in others notably the Tigray region in Northern Ethiopia, it would be disastrous that mankind has to endure large and devastating calamities caused by climate change. This poses the most important question, “What can be done about Climate Change?”
Everyone would have differing ideas and yet similar conclusions on this question and how best climate alterations can be mitigated. Bill Gates states” By 2060, climate change could be just as deadly as COVID19 and by 2100, it could be five times as deadly.” It is now up on the current
generation to devise ways to combat the changing climate trends. Planting trees has been emphasized in so many campaigns globally as this is the most efficient way to downscale the trend. Also, the governments should expeditiously come to the rescue especially in cases which
are beyond the citizens’ abilities like banning investments in wetlands for instance real estate and agriculture among others. It is always important to note that every member of the society has a role to play whether a boy or girl, child or adult because this predicament knows no boundaries.
My grandmother, will definitely not be there decades from now, to witness the sprouting trees and vegetation in addition to the singing of birds and gentle breeze of the lakes and rivers but our children and luckily some of us will be there to look back with pride at the huge feat we accomplished.
PAUL JOSHUA OGWAL
The writer is a Third year student of Land surveying and Geomatics at Makerere
university and an Environmentalist with special interests in Climate change mitigation and