The dynamic interaction of humanity with the environment is a tapestry of gains and losses. It’s a narrative of creation and establishing a symbiotic relationship between man and nature.
Clean air, the earth’s abundant resources for economic development, and thriving ecosystems are essential lifelines. Conversely, losses from a polluted and damaged environment manifest as health problems, ecological imbalances, and resource scarcity.
Our relationship with the environment has profound effects on our well-being. Chronic stress and mental health problems can emerge from exposure to catastrophic weather events, relocation due to environmental degradation, loss of employment, and devastation of homes and communities. As a result, many suffer from climate anxiety, haunted by fears of deteriorating environmental conditions and unpredictability about the future.
As we mark World Rivers Day today, let us underscore the urgency of the situation. The consequences of inaction are not uniformly distributed. Vulnerable populations such as low-income communities, indigenous groups, and disadvantaged individuals bear the brunt of climate change’s impacts.
However, there’s a silver lining. With technology, we are witnessing a revolution in environmental management. Advancements have provided cleaner alternatives, significantly reducing the harmful effects of human activity. Electric cars and renewable energy sources like solar and wind power stand out as prime examples. Moreover, digital solutions and artificial intelligence have sharpened our ability to monitor and address environmental concerns.
Engaging communities lies at the heart of sustainable environmental achievements. After all, communities are society’s cornerstone. Their collective efforts in conservation can yield revolutionary outcomes.
Local initiatives – tree planting, clean-up campaigns, wildlife conservation – foster connections to the environment and instill a sense of ownership.
Rotary’s involvement in global environmental efforts is noteworthy. With its 1.4 million members spread across 200 countries and regions, Rotary’s reach and commitment are unparalleled.
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Particularly in Kenya, Rotary club members are working hand-in-hand with the community, leading environmental restoration initiatives such as planting thousands of trees across the country; including over 130,000 mangrove propagules and seedlings. Furthermore, they are educating residents about the importance of taking care of our environment.
The collaborative efforts extend beyond borders. Rotary’s partnership with various organisations on various community projects spanning countries like Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan, exemplifies this collaborative spirit.
In their unwavering commitment to the environment, Rotary International is gearing up for the 28th Annual Conference of Parties (COP28), connecting with organisations and climate experts. The objective is clear: empower local communities to build a greener, more resilient future.
The writer is an environmentalist, past president of the Rotary Club of Murang’a