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Fridays for Future 24-hour Earth Day (2020) YouTube Livestream



We tend to interpret climate risk and our contribution to climate change, to within an inch of our comfort.

“We’ve normalized climate change,” is something that Adam Curtis said.

“We’ve accepted that it’s a part of our lives.”


AND……“We don’t have to suffer directly ourselves to be empowered to act,” Dr. Lucy Jones.

The coordinated global response to covid-19, shows that we could do more to address climate change.


We are responsible for environmental pollution too, right here, in Kenya. We contribute to air pollution. Some sources of this are traffic, burning of rubbish and the dumping of waste into landfills (such as the Dandora landfill) that release methane (a gas 30 times more potent that co2).

We also cause water pollution. There is occupation and development on riparian land, which makes it easy to pollute rivers. Untreated wastewater is also a problem in Kenya (well, in other developing countries as well) and in many instances, this leads to the contamination of ecosystems that supply food. Meaning that, pollutants make their way back to us in the form of food. Case in point, the pollution of Lake Victoria; Kenya’s dominant source of fish.

Finally, there is the case of land pollution. An example of this, is the motor vehicle garages which discharge car-wash water into rivers (a very common occurrence). Another example is the lack of proper waste management practices, that lead to poor disposal of solid waste.

Banning plastic bags, which have an appalling carbon and waste footprint (carbon from their production, and waste from their disposal without reusing or recycling), was a great win for Kenya. However, we can and must do more.

Ban single use plastic bottles, cups, forks, spoons, (among others) too.


Reciprocity. The feedback loops that once helped maintain balance, have been pushed beyond and out of their premise of carbon sinking. The planet has started to sabotage.

What I mean is, oceans store carbon (algae too), soils store carbon, trees store carbon. BUT, as the temperatures rise, they hamper the oceans’ ability to absorb co2 from the atmosphere (although this absorption continues at the poles). It is also possible, that with global warming, the oceans go a step further, and start to release the carbon they have stored.

Soil. Well. We have a direct influence on this, because we farm. The soil is loosened, which encourages microbial decomposition, at which point it releases the carbon stored in it. This is why sustainable agricultural practices need to be promoted. We also move into remote areas, and move in with infrastructure (which is exacerbated by the increase in population). This continues to destabilize the soil. Aside from human activities, global warming also encourages soil to release carbon. This is why it’s important to map out and protect peatlands. It is also why thawing of arctic permafrost is really bad (sad) news.

Climate change is also making forest fires a common occurrence. This means that, carbon stored in trees is also being released. This coupled with deforestation, means that forests are not the carbon sinks they used to be. In fact, none of the planet’s carbon sinking faculties, are what they used to be.

#RECIPROCITY || the kind we shouldn’t be interested in !

“The feedback loops that once helped maintain balance, have been pushed beyond and out of their premise of carbon sinking.”


Cutting back on emissions is great but is not the only thing to do. Maybe even in some cases, not the primary thing to do. In Africa, based on the high level of vulnerability (meaning that Africans will suffer the most), resilience should be enabled on large scale. This is because, any action on reducing carbon would not make a marked difference on the whole. It would definitely be noble and responsible living (especially going into the future), but resilience on the other hand, would make a contribution to the continent, here and now. And this applies greatly to rural Africa.


Making reference to the Paris agreement; for the 1.5° mark, we would have to be at zero co2 emissions globally by about 2050. However, as reported ‘on current trends, we are likely to pass that mark a lot earlier than 2050.’

This is proof that, to still persist and pursue room for negotiations, without changing our ‘ways’ drastically, would pass for the || worst joke of ALL TIME……and SPACE||. This planet does not need us, and what we’ve done is, we’ve given ourselves much too much importance.

In fact, I struggle to think that we have changed the planet’s fate in any unusual way. What we have done however, in a very collective and direct way, for absolutely all other life on the planet, is that we have affected their chances at life.

We have seen blazing red-hot planets elsewhere in the solar system (#venus), and we know that Earth has already had an ice-age, maybe red-hot age is her fate. She’ll be fine.

Others (in the solar system family), have clouds made of sulphuric acid, on others it rains liquid methane, and don’t forget those that get metal snow. All crazy to us, but not to Earth.


If fire pollutes the air (fire being the burning of embers which store carbon, which leads to the release of soot; as we know, charcoal and firewood are a default source of energy in Africa), then as you can imagine, pollution began ever so slowly but surely, with the domestication of FIRE.

The domestication of fire.

“When humans domesticated fire, they gained control of an obedient and potentially limitless force,” Yuval Noah Harari.

As we went on, years later, to produce metal, air pollution took a sharp left turn; it became a significant source of pollution.

From this and other early signs of MAN’ipulation of the balance of life on Earth, came much destruction. We mastered this art, leading to the global problem we refer to today, as climate change.

What we have made of the planet, in the short amount of time we have been here, is proof that we have made ourselves, collectively, god over the planet. That’s because, we have met Mother Earth’s goodwill with none of our own (whether we are aware of it or not, is no defense).

The distance between the individual and the collective is both excruciatingly large but also surprisingly small.

What Yuval says about sapiens; “..large numbers of strangers can cooperate successfully by believing in common myths.”

Just imagine what that could be, with the internet at the palm of our hands. The collective must act as one, believing in a common myth, “that we have to save life on earth”.

…… and every individual must understand what is expected of them !!

Stella Nyambura Mbau PhD





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