A Look at Planet Earth – Our Only Home
Did you know that the great majority of the worlds biological diversity and resources are located at the equatorial regions of The Earth? Did you also know that these are the regions of the world inflicted with the most poverty? Do you think there could be a connection or issue here? Its time we begin to address this issue more and more.
Photo: Tropical rain forest, Kilimanjaro District, Tanzania
Environmental issues in EIP founding student’s Steve and Sam’s home area of Kenya
Stephen Kamau writes:
I live and stay in a small town called Magina along The Nairobi Nakuru highway in Kijabe Location Kiambu District in Central Kenya. It lies on the Great Rift Valley escarpment North West of Nairobi about 50Km.
This community is surrounded by Kikuyu Escarpment Forests which are rich in biological resources I.e. water catchment areas, trees with medicinal value, wildlife e.g. elephants and birds, research sites and cultural value. The forest also has a global importance as it holds one of the globally threatened birds “The Abbott Starling” and other regional threatened species of birds. It also holds an endangered high value medicinal tree that treats prostrate cancer and is protected by The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Due to high population and increased rates of unemployment the forest has been facing threats such as illegal logging, charcoal burning, debarking, encroachment and grazing. It is for this reason that in 1994, young people from the area formed a community based Organization known as the Kijabe Environment Volunteers Organization (KENVO) in order to curb these illegal activities. Some of the main activities include forest restoration and rehabilitation, awareness creation on environment conservation and school outreach programs.
Initially people did not realize the importance or the value of the forest but saw it as an infinite resource and exploited it for short term benefits, leading to depletion. Following KENVO’s intervention through awareness creation, the community is gradually changing and in fact supporting the KENVO’s ideas. Since most Kenyans depend on rainfall for their livelihood (farming) the change in weather patterns (global warming and deforestation) has affected crop production leading to low yields. This is a wake up call to the majority of Kenyans as they have realized that it is being brought on by an unsustainable use of resources.
For a great source of environmental information in Central Kenya (our home area), please visit KENVO’s website: www.kenvokenya.com ( Chief partner of EIP)