WHY AFRICA IS THE WORST VICTIM OF CLIMATE CHANGE ?
By: Alagie Jinkang
Africa is still in a crucial and fragile state of transition. Africans are beginning to change their conceptions on a whole lot of things. For example: what causes rain? What causes drought? are still a matter of what type of background one emanated from. Many still believe that droughts are caused by the number of twins born in a particular year while others refer it to the furiousness of the gods! However, a lot more traditional Africans are beginning to open themselves to the scientific knowledge that droughts are not caused by the number of twins born in a year and it has nothing to do with the gods either. This shift in paradigm from ignorant primitive African conception to the Western scientific realities of life is good. What is bad, however, is the evil eye of the same western lifestyle of industrialisation that continues to rob even more heavily the indigenous African from their typical harmony with nature. Droughts, food insecurity, hunger, poverty, diseases, global warming, force migration and gross inequalities here and there are different facets of the same problem — climate change. Now Africans have to choose whether to revert to their own traditional life of consumption and be in perfect harmony with their gods and environment or infinitely suffers with the “unmanageable consumption” style of the industrial/developed world partly obligated on them!
Clearly Africa is not the closest to the West but perhaps is undergoing the fastest stride of westernization human history ever to be recorded from the industrial ages to the so-called post-modernity. To understand the implications of this alteration, one must first consider the importance of culture as the lenses of reality –a world-view. In what way did the industrial revolution( later to be called capitalism) changed the African perception of the world from ecological consciousness to over-consumption. Africans are the worst sufferers of the mechanistic Cartesian and Newtonian view of the world that has led to the great industrial revolution, the ramifications of which we now face in climate change(probably the most problematic). Now more than anytime else the future of Africa is darker than the continent itself not least because of the political dwarfs saturated in the cities of South Africa, Namibia, D.R Congo, Nigeria, Niger, Mozambique, Guinea, Tanzania, Ghana, Botswana to name just a few embedding and excessively exploiting most of the continents natural resources. Most Africans are much worried of how the extraction of these natural resources is impoverishing and disuniting them and how it enrich those outsider their borders. Yet they suffer most from its implications –climate change.
Africa was long high jacked by its contact with the West, first through colonialism then to imperialism and the plundering of its natural resources and now neo-colonialism. This contact will/shall never be forgotten in other to make factual analysis of history, economics and modern civilization the effects of which we all face today in climate change. Africa is the least industrialised yet supports most of the industrialized world with its natural resources. Before it was countries who plunder and inhumanly extract and now multi-national companies took the lead in the campaign for globalization and free market exploitation –a neoliberal market model. For we Africans the paradigm of pain and suffering is ever increasing and the present market model of capitalism is calling many of us to our untimely graves: lack of energy, hunger, droughts, diseases, financial insecurity, wars, exodos and natural disasters are not in any way news to us. They are our painful living truth to which we contribute very minimal.
As the 21st century clarifies , the above problems are all interconnected and interdependent. They are a systematic problem and needs systematic solutions. If we are to uphold to our moral standards and think more openly about the biosphere as “Commons” and that we must pay some fundamental obligation rather than excessively viewing it as an infinite resource, some sufferings on the African people could be reduced. We might have to forgo overconsumption to fair distribution, inequality to the contrary and from dirty energy that has revamped African civilization to clean energy to revitalize us with our old moral gods. As the worst sufferers of climate change, we ask the developed world to change their perception from an outdated worldview that is incapable of dealing with our overpopulated, hunger-reached, impoverished, and speedy decaying continent. The developed world needs some fundamental changes in science and society, politics and law, from immorality to spirituality –a change as radical as the Copernican revolution — at least in so doing, Africa might survive climate change.
As we continue to suffer from climate change, I believe that a sustainable society must be premeditated in such a way that its ways of life, economy, physical structures, and technologies do not hamper with nature’s in-built capability to withstand existence/life.