One of the biggest impediments to our national response to the adverse effects of Climate Change lies in language.
While the consequences of the crisis are obvious to the average person, their individual contributions to the drivers and responsibilities to avert it are not.
But for as long as scientists continue to lavish in their technical world, response to climate stresses will be less impactful. Finding a simple language and weaving it into day to day socio-economic activities is a sure bet to building a critical mass for climate action. There are many ordinary life socio-economic events policy makers, climate change advocates, administrators and communities can use to achieve a higher impact.
Birthdays and Anniversaries - One of the simple prescriptions in Robin Sharma’s ‘Who will cry when you die’ is to build a culture of celebrating achievements and milestones. He recommends making marks on trees in his compound as one way. Today, birthdays and anniversaries are huge social and commercial events. Suppose we integrated the need to plant and nurture a tree as a permanent way of marking these milestones?
Developmental projects - Economics make the modern world and societies tick. Millions of people sink billions annually in residential homes and property development. Many of the climate change response actions require additional cost to be inbuilt into these projects.
Like enhancing reliance on natural lighting, investments in green energy, water harvesting and landscaping compounds demands change of mindsets, existing practices and sometimes extra costs. But in them are long-term economic and health benefits, and cost savings. Suppose we appealed to these long term benefits without talking about climate change itself?
Farm productivity - Kenya’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture. The 2022 Economic Survey estimates that the sector contributes about 25 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Majority farming and livestock activities are done at the micro level. Many urban dwellers are ‘mobile phone farmers’. Sadly, these agricultural activities remain uneconomical and unproductive. Growing fruits and other friendly tree cover can enhance farm productivity. Climate smart agriculture needs to be enhanced and sustained.
Documenting memories - Once on a long lay-off at Dubai International Airport, I read something like: ‘Every new destination is not just a place, but a lifetime memory and experience’. Our individual lives is a sum total of places we have been to, memories and experiences from these adventures.
Given, many places we travel to become a one-time memory for the remainder of our lives. Domestic and external tourism is picking up. Many hospitality facilities have packages that allow visitors to plant a tree in their compound. Suppose climate change advocates plugged into this trend to encourage holiday makers to invest in tree planting and immortalise their presence? I would love my great grandchildren to visit places and find landmarks of their grandfather there.
Success habits - Many motivational books acknowledge benefits of exercise and reflection before sunrise. Again, Robin Sharma recommends taking a fresh fruit juice at that early hour, especially homemade.
He speaks of regular walks in parks to connect with nature. Other authors speak of the inspirations that can be derived from the freshness of the morning air from trees. Suppose we grew fruits in our compounds and created this friendly ecosystem to inspire us in the morning?