Experts meeting in Kigali this week resolved to restore Africa’s forest cover by at least 350,000 hectares as part of the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR).
As the effects of climate change stand to sink in, it has become imperative that the world is encouraged to embrace a green livelihood and higher sense of environmental protection.
Rwanda’s current forest cover is estimated at about 22 per cent of the total land mass. 30 years of population pressure, land encroachment as well as the need for cooking fuel, have been the biggest culprit in the forest depletion.
The biggest victim has no doubt been Gishwati Forest, one of Africa’s few remaining natural forest reserves. A Nasa Earth Observatory satellite image captured in 1986 showed that Gishwati occupied 250,000 hectares, but by 2001, it was a shadow of itself with just 1,500 hectares.
This called for urgent measures to reverse the trend and it could not have come at a better time. Efficient wood burning stoves have been promoted in the past, but that will not put an end to using fossil fuels.
Technology should be the key to help end domestic mindsets. While the use of liquid petroleum gas – despite the tax breaks – is still way beyond the reach of many homesteads, our abundance of sunshine should unlock the potential use of solar energy in our kitchens.
The same energy put in marketing biogas and efficient stoves should also be channeled towards renewable energy but with more vigour than the current pace.
Time is running out as we cannot cope with the green gas effects at the same speed we are depleting the ozone layer with our irresponsible lifestyles.