Biodiversity is the web of life that sustains us all. Nature tourism, pharmaceutical plants, agricultural production and forestry are all natured by biodiversity.
Africa is a home for over 50,000 known plants, 1000 mammal, and 1500 bird species. Despite all this richness, losses have been observed in most areas.
Other than Madagascar, Eastern Africa has the highest numbers of endemic species (55%) mammals, 63% birds, 49%reptiles and 40% amphibians.
Biodiversity loss has been accelerated mainly by habitat destruction due to rapid degradation of wetlands and forests. Other issues like high energy consumption, food insecurity, air and water pollution, climate change and political activities like wars significantly degrade of the plight of biological diversity.
Biological conservation is ultimately of course paramount if we intend to promote development. This however does not mean giving up everything we enjoy, but simply treating the ecological resources as though we intend to stay.
It is a broader approach that does not only conserve species, but the sheer biological wealth within species.
The changing social lifestyle (principally increased consumerism) is more wasteful and inefficient, requires large quantities of resources percapita and generates a lot of waste- that creates more environmental problems.
Wild life and wild places are facing many threats including habitat destruction and endemism all in the name of development. From rhinos to redwood trees, the noughties decade has spelled the end for some species of plants and animals.
A tree endemic to St Helena and now extinct in the wild. Because of its excellent timber and bark which was used for tanning hides, the species was heavily exploited.
By the mid 20th century, only one redwood survived and this single tree is the source of all the redwoods known in cultivation today. Inbreeding depression and a limited gene pool form the most serious threat to the future survival of this species
The use of biological resources would not be bad only if done in a sustainable manner. So emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, and massive research is the only reasonable and logical conclusion.
So why cannot we save our pleasant way of life and the global environment in one stroke? A complete mobilization of civil society will help us see the salvation that is so obvious to stop suffering.
The impacts of climate change
Climate change refers to alteration of the earth’s average temperatures. It is a real scenario out of theory ranking high among the defining challenges of our time. It is a mystery we cannot endure that has become the major driver of weather disasters affecting us all.
A consensus of 2,000 UN climate scientists said climate change was not just “unequivocal” but most of it was man-made.Human actions both industrial and agricultural, like transport and communication, bush burning and deforestation and chemical use and poor waste management have contributed to the production of green house gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide (co2), water vapor, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Ammonia (NH2) and Nitrous oxides.
These gases trap the infra red radiations from the earth reflecting it back to the earth thereby warming it, a phenomenon known as green house effect.
Cyclists pass through thick pollution from a factory in ¬Beijing. In 2008, China ¬overtook the US as the world’s biggest greenhouse gas¬ e¬mitter
Climate change has direct incidental impacts on agriculture, ecology, hydrology, economy and health through extreme events like creation of arid conditions in some areas and rampant floods in others.
Reports by Intergovernmental panel on climate change IPCC indicate that African states, due to their lacking early warning mechanisms and weak adaptation measures test the highest doses and risk spending 5-10% of their GDP(Gross Domestic product )on climate change adaptation (IPCC Report 2001).
It is projected that the scale and nature of the impacts will be worse by 2100 when temperatures could increase by 6% if the test is already severe with just an increment of 1% over the past 100 years.
Though we cannot stop climate change, we can reduce its speed. We can to protect ourselves and our descendants against catastrophic consequences.
It is proper therefore to embrace all attempts to buffer the rising negative impacts of climate fluctuations through management of activities that lead to the production of green house gases.
To bring climate change to a halt, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced significantly. Cutting down co2 emissions is only one of the projects Tree planting is among the most appropriate strategies as they acts as a sink for carbon, booster of biomass production and sustains the hydrological cycle.
Proper waste management is another way to go in the minimization of GHGs such as methane. Public awareness should also be enhanced for better knowledge causes of climate change and improvement of human face to environmental issues.