The rains are innocent; we are all guilty of wounding Nature

A section of Enterprise Road in Nairobi was submerged by floods following heavy rains. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

I think Nature is innocent. When Mike Sonko pleads “Dear God pls forgive us, maybe our sins are making us experience (sic) this” on X, he is, like many, blaming Nature for the current havoc heavy rains are tutoring man to.

The evasive “maybe” isn’t strange; man is very absolvent of the environmental damage wrought on Mother Earth. When Sonko pleads “maybe”, he involuntarily gives us a glimpse of the nurture of man; collagenous, that is, someone else must take the blame or something else must be made the culprit.

Sonko, therefore, is only a specimen of indolent world leadership, especially in decision-making roles, who recoil from admitting guilt and therefore fail to invite penitence.  Penitence in matters of climate change would involve admitting to wounding Nature and soiling our hands to repair the damage.

When leaders across the spectrum accuse “floods” for the devastation, they exhibit two things; ignorance of what climate change is all about, and therefore that floods are a causality of man’s incessant misconduct since the Garden of Eden.

The simple explanation about climate change is that nature is innocent until you interfere with its regular progression. Much of the disasters we face today are borne of Nature’s impatience with millennium epochs of climate annihilation.

To explain man’s evasive nature and the mandatory retribution, we should borrow the most amusing legal maxim of equity; "He who comes into Equity must come with clean hands." Man needs clean hands. There are no natural disasters. Humans haven’t been truthful about its guilt against the climate. Somehow, we have assumed the infiniteness of climate to the extent that we overwhelm it with abandon rather than harness it with restraint.

How else can we explain our disposition to exhaust natural resources in a planet struggling with increases in global temperature, and the regularity of extreme weather that threatens entire species of plants and animals, and now man? 

The culprits in the consequences of climate change affect all of us, but to react and adapt to these challenges, we must first understand the essentials as they are.

The “developed” North has devised devious escapism; having nearly depleted the natural surface habitat, they cavernously seek and appropriate natural resources in the underdeveloped South. But these are not infinite and a new hollow repositioning is in vogue – sustainability – the code word for another taunt Green Industrialisation. It means ensuring continued extraction but with green energy generation as a cover.

Covertly, it is within this amorous relationship that the new fad of those who cause more climate change should pay more and to the South, is found. The con game imposes a charge on the emission of greenhouse gases equivalent to the corresponding potential cost caused. Or so it is assumed.

Kenya’s greenhouse gas emissions are less than 0.1% of global emissions. Africa is at a paltry 3.8%, in contrast to 23% in China, 19% in the US, and 13% in the European Union. The sad thing is that in Africa, the emissions are by North-owned enterprises!

South local elites unable to harness a collective will, have bought into climate financing and been exposed badly. For Africa, climate phenomena are represented by extreme temperatures, drought, forest fires, floods, mass movements and tropical storms. It isn’t as yet a matter of fossil fuels which, in any case, the North continues to exploit.

The climate change problem in Kenya, for instance, is not so much El Nino rains or floods. These are predicted with precision in time. The rains are innocent; we could do more by not hindering the natural flow of rivers and where we have interfered with human habitat nourishment, create mitigating infrastructure. 

African populations are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because of poverty – of both ideas and leadership. Hence, we are handling a triple jeopardy; a climate tragedy we haven’t created, a deceptive North determined to buy their way out for a penny and our popular ignorance of a selfish strategy.