LONG before we put the world at out finger-tips, the telescope was a must-have item in a spy’s toolkit. And so Daniel Defoe’s man in the fictional Robinson Crusoe was heavily dependent on his perspective glass or telescope for spying on would-be invades to his self-proclaimed territory on a desolate Caribbean island.
To have a true perspective of his own safety and personal security on the island, Crusoe kept a daily vigil by scanning his world surrounded by the Sea on all sides – but bounded by the ‘mainland’ which happened to be peopled by what he called barbarians on account of their man-eating festivities – during which he once rescued his man Friday, whom he saved before he was turned into a meal.
So much for Robinson Crusoe
One of my professional role models and brother Adam Sembeye runs a weekly bulletin on TBC christened ‘This Week in Perspective’ which features a discussion on the just-ended World Environment Day, observed every fifth day of June annually and this time around, it was centred on the global theme ‘Air Pollution’ with its lynch-pad in Beijing, China, where the event was observed at the global level.
Significantly for Tanzania, we had just gotten rid of tonnes and tonnes of plastic bags from our midst – either burned or otherwise disposed of in other ways possible. Celebrated under the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), World Environment Day (WED), in the words of Adam Simbeye “…provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for en enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment… “…the theme in 2019 is Air pollution.
Surely we cannot stop breathing but we can do something about the air we breathe…” Well said, Adam. Indeed, we cannot stop breathing … but it seems like we may, at some point, be forced to stop breathing. Y
ou see, there are guys around the world who simply do not share our shared perspectives of how to put things right now that we’ve collectively fouled the air, as it were.
Here’s some little background to my pessimism
Way back in March 1958 someone started measuring the amount of CO2, or carbon dioxide, which is one of the so-called greenhouse gases we keep pumping into atmosphere mainly from industrial production and other human activities. The scientists measure the progressive accumulation of gases in the air in parts per million, or ppm for short, which was recorded at 313 ppm some 60-plus years ago. Just the other day, last May 11 to be precise, we had cross the 415ppm-mark – which prompted a scientist to say, rather ruefully, that “…we don’t know a day like this…”
So we’ve clocked 415.26ppm … still counting and someone reckons that annual increases are soon graduating from recent ‘averages’ of 2.5ppm to near-3ppm. And, it’s not because we do not know … we do.
And what we don’t have is the resolve to act. If you ask those doing the most pumping of the offending gases, they rush and accuse of asking for ‘donor’ funds through the back door.
Tragedy of tragedies is that the poor aren’t equipped enough to live under warmer climes … and I personally cannot tell what would amount to warmer living quarters than the searing heats under my fellow herdsmen are having to put up with in the denuded, windswept landscapes of Shinyanga, Singida and parts of Tabora, Dodoma and Kondoa, to name just a few hotpots we call grazing lands.
Those shouting the loudest about the ‘fiction’ behind climate change have very short memories indeed; we learn that the last time temperatures around 1.5 Celcius, beyond which human life become a precarious undertaking, was some 2.5 to five million years ago. That’s when I’m told the Artic became ‘free’ of ice for at least once a decade and the Eskimos could do with a bit of ‘tropical’ forestry.
If you thought this was some fairy tale told at bedtime, you certainly have a friend in Don Trumps, he of the ‘climate- change-denial’ league.
In the meantime, the birds have flying in the wrong direction – yet again – across the Sahel, where the Tuareg herdsmen know there’s drought around the river.
Hopefully, someone will listen to them this time around
Globally, World Environment Day is the United Nation’s principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment.
First held in 1974, it has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues from marine pollution, human overpopulation and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime.
WED has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, WED has a new theme that major corporations, NGOs, communities, governments and celebrities worldwide adopt to advocate environmental causes.
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