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By Isaiah Esipisu

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change seeks international interventions to hold the rise in the global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels and cap it at 1.5 °C.

But according to a new study conducted in all of Kenya’s 21 semi-arid counties, at least five have surpassed the 1.5-degree mark and the impact, especially on cattle survival, is devastating. Worrying projections show that the temperatures will rise even further in the coming years.

This comes just four years after a World Bank report synthesising scientific knowledge on global warming, which warned that the earth was on the path to get 4o° C warmer by the end of the century — with huge implications for humanity.

DEVELOPMENT

A new study commissioned by the Canada-based International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) — through the Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies (Prise) project — show West Pokot and Elgeyo-Marakwet as the most affected counties with a temperature rise of 1.91o° C in the past 50 years. Others are Turkana (1.8o° C), Baringo (1.8o° C), Laikipia (1.59o° C) and Narok (1.75o° C).

The study also startlingly found that the population of cattle in the semi-arid counties has decreased by 26 per cent in the past 38 years up to 2015.

The scientists who carried out the study attributed this to the constantly rising temperatures due to global warming and reduced or unpredictable rainfall patterns.

SCIENTISTS

So far, Turkana is the most affected, recording a drop of nearly 60 per cent, followed by Machakos, Garissa, Kitui and Kajiado, according to the study conducted by scientists from Kenya Markets Trust (KMT).

This is bad news, particularly for Turkana, Garissa and Kajiado, because livestock is the mainstay for the residents.

However, all is not lost. While the cattle population was on the decline, that of sheep and goats in the 21 counties rose by 76.3 per cent, with some, such as Laikipia and Lamu, recording a 256.6 per cent and 458 per cent increase, respectively.

WAKE UP CALL

According to the scientists, cattle can thrive if temperatures do not surpass 30oC and not below 10o° C. But small animals like sheep and goats, and also camels, can tolerate warmer temperatures; hence the reason they multiplied exponentially.

These findings should be a wake-up call for all counties. They should use the data to re-evaluate what is happening in terms of rising temperatures and rainfall variations and the projections to come up with sound policies that are responsive to climate change.

One way of adapting to climate shocks and stresses will be by developing policies with clear knowledge of what the near future is likely to look like, with a focus on appropriate technologies, while being mindful of crops or livestock that are going to survive in projected climatic conditions.

TECHNOLOGIES

Kitui, Tharaka-Nithi and Embu counties are joining hands with the Pan-Africa Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and faith-based organisations to develop climate change policies based on experiments by farmers to identify local technologies that can aid adaptation.

Considering the Prise research findings, some counties will need to re-think and prioritise their livestock investment options to take comparative advantage of the resources they have. They could invest in slaughterhouses — for example, Laikipia and Isiolo (cattle), Marsabit (goats) and Wajir (camel, sheep and goats).

County governments must, therefore, consider such important knowledge as they develop their spatial plans.

Mr Esipisu, a freelance journalist, is the coordinator for Pan-African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC). This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This article was first published on the Daily Nation website

NAIROBI Kenya (PAMACC News) - A team of scientists from the Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) on April 11, 2018 shared all the key research findings of four different thematic studies conducted in Kenya under the Pathways to Resilience in Semi-Arid Economies (PRISE) project.

“The Kenya government is now focusing on the “Big Four” agenda aimed at improving livelihoods, creating jobs and growing the economy by focusing on critical areas of the economy in the next five years,” noted Kamau Kuria, the head of KMT.  

“It is noteworthy that part of the PRISE study, which aimed at strengthening the understanding and knowledge of decision-makers on the threats and opportunities that semi-arid economies face in relation to climate change, will go a long way in helping unlock the potential of semi-arid lands in Kenya and thus enhance  their contribution to the national agenda,” he told delegates drawn from Kenya , Senegal, International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Overseas Development Institute (ODI) during the event to disseminate key research findings in a Nairobi Hotel.

The study, which was commissioned by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada and the UK based Department for International Development (DFID) aims at supporting climate resilient economic development in partner countries by identifying opportunities for adaptation that are also opportunities for investment by the public and private sectors.

“These findings from Kenya will help change the narrative in semi-arid areas,” said Dr Eva Ludifrom the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) – which is coordinating the PRISE project at a global level.

According to Dr Evans Kitui of IDRC, direct involvement of government officials both at the county and the national level is a pointer towards implementation of policies that will emanate from the four studies. “In the past, research has not been well appreciated. But now, we can see a lot of government participation,” he said.

One of the studies found that in the past 50 years, temperatures have risen in all the 21 semi-arid counties in Kenya, with five of them recording an increase of more than 1.5oC increase. They include Turkana (1.8oC), West Pokot, ElgeyoMarakwet (1.91oC), Baringo (1.8oC), Laikipia (1.59oC) and Narok (1.75oC).  

This, according to Dr Mohammed Said, one of the lead researchers, has impacted greatly on livestock survival, on one hand presenting a disaster, and on the other hand providing an opportunity that can be exploited

“There were winners and losers,” he told delegates at the forum. “Generally, cattle do not survive the higher temperatures, while at the same time, sheep and goat population increased exponentially,” said Dr Said.

According to the study, whose theme was to harness opportunities for climate-resilient economic development in semi-arid lands and identifying the potential for economic transformation and diversification in semi-arid lands especially in the beef value chain, the overall population of cattle in all the semi-arid counties reduced by more than 26% between the year 1977 and 2016.

However, the study also reveals that goats and sheep population increased tremendously by 76% in the same period, with camels’ population increased by 14%. “This shows that goats, sheep, and camels enjoyed the higher temperatures while cattle could not survive the stress,” said Dr Said.

“We’ve seen great potential for implementing some of the adaptation options and I call upon the stakeholders gathered here today, to pull together so we can build resilience and open up the ASALs for trade, investments and better livelihoods,” said Kuria of KMT.

In Nyeri County, for example, Dr James Gakuo began with buying severely emaciated cattle for fattening at his farm in Kiganjo through intensive system of beef production that focuses on feeding cattle for 90 days on concentrate feeds till they reach the desired weight for the market, thereby creating a market for such animals that would otherwise have died.

In just two years, 14 other farmers have followed in his footsteps, and are in the business of fattening emaciated cattle thus providing more market to pastoralists who are hard hit by tough climatic conditions.

Another study looked at the land tenure with a special focus on Maasai pastoralist community in Kajiado County.

The study found out that 64 percent of the entire Kajiado County is now private land that is not open for grazing.“Though this has provided opportunity because privatisation always leads to greater investment opportunities for those who can secure land, it marginalizes the poor and particularly women in the process,” said Dr Stephen Moiko, one of the lead researchers. 

According to Dr Eva Ludi of ODI, these findings will be presented at the Talanoa Dialogue in Bonn, Germany come May 2018.

The purpose of Talanoa Dialogue is for parties to share climate change related stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good.

According to Dr Said, county governments should also take advantage of the research findings and scenario projections to develop their spatial plans.

“These findings will be important in the formulation of new policies and strategies such as the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP 2018-2022), the National Wildlife Conservation and Management Strategy, and the County Development Integrated Plans (CIDPs),” said Joseph Muhwanga, the PRISE project National Coordinator in Kenya.

Governments from over 41 African countries alongside private sector, civil society and development partners, are in Nairobi this week to explore ways of achieving cleaner mobility across the region.

The week-long meeting which is dubbed “the Africa clean mobility week” seeks to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in Africa by leveraging on technological advancements driving low-carbon mobility within and outside the region.

The Africa clean mobility week, according to the conveners, represents Africa’s quest to transit to cleaner mobility, building on the outcomes of the 2014 Africa Sustainable Transport Forum.

It would be recalled that African ministers, at this forum held in Nairobi in 2014, adopted 13 action points aimed at boosting Africa’s capacity to harness the impact of cleaner mobility on health, environment and economic growth in the region
 
Transportation and climate change

Transportation remains at the very core of development. The sector, considered as an essential enabler of business, comprises movement of persons, products or services using the road, air, rail or water.

As important as this sector is, it is not insulated from the impacts of climate change such as heavy rains, sea level rise and pollution. It is also a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions which lead to climate change.

According to a new briefing published by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and the Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS), physical impacts of climate change on primary industries are likely to include damage to infrastructure and industrial capital assets, and could reduce availability of renewable natural resources including water.

The briefing which distilled the key findings from the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report for the transport sector indicates that most sector scenarios project that global demand for industrial products will increase by 45–60% by 2050 relative to 2010 production levels.

Rising demand for products used to reduce GHG emissions and to adapt to climate impacts could, perversely, create pressures to increase industrial emissions, the briefing asserts.

Also, a 2016 World Bank report says that transport was the largest energy consuming sector in 40 percent of countries worldwide in 2012. It was the second-largest consumer in the remaining countries. According to the report, carbon dioxide gas emissions from energy are expected to grow by 40 percent between 2013 and 2040.

Combating climate change through clean mobility initiatives, therefore, becomes a right step in the right direction.
 
Imperatives of cleaner mobility in Africa

Across the world, the challenge of curbing or decreasing the sector’s contribution to climate change particularly in urban centers remains ever present.

In Africa, urban transport and the transition to low-carbon mobility have remained strange bedfellows owing largely to commuters’ willingness to leave their cars at home and turn to greener modes such as public transit, cycling, or walking.

Getting Africans to make the switch appears an uphill task as decades of car-centric development, combined with the car culture which projects the private car as a status symbol, have made it hard for African governments to take people out of their vehicles.

With unprecedented motorization rate spurred by high rates of urbanization and economic growth, most countries in the region are not able to plan and provide adequate transport infrastructure and services.

In addition to this, the Stockholm Environment Institute in 2012 reported that only a few sub-Saharan countries operate routine monitoring systems for air quality monitoring standards (Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe).

Out of the countries investigated, the report discovered that 27 have environment protection acts which were poorly implemented or not implemented at all despite the specifications about air quality in them. This is despite evidence that poor air quality could lead to around 50,000 deaths a year in the region.  

A platform for clean mobility solutions

Despite these challenges, all hope appears not lost as the clean mobility week aspires to develop strategies that promote the importation of cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles; how tools to assess fuel economy policy impacts will be disseminated; and opportunities to leapfrogging to electric motorcycles, electric vehicles, and electric buses.

Already, the Africa clean mobility week has recorded a milestone with the signing of an e-mobility partnership agreement between TAILG and the UN Environment on Tuesday.

The agreement targets the introduction of electric vehicles in Africa and other areas of the world by TAILG, a Chinese firm that manufactures electric vehicles.

Speaking on the sidelines of the clean mobility week, Xu Rong, TAILG Marketing Director, said the agreement will help governments of Africa and other areas of the world start phasing out defective vehicles, thus curbing air pollution.

"We intend to show the benefits of driving electric vehicles in accelerating clean environment that is free of pollution," Xu added.

Access to financing opportunities for cleaner mobility initiatives such as this will take center stage during the week just as case studies of inclusive transport programmes mainly through investment in non-motorized transport and public transport infrastructure will be shared.

The Africa clean mobility week is expected to draw to a close on the 16th of March 2018 after spotlighting the role of media and the relevance of South-South cooperation on sustainable transport management.

This article was first published on the PAMACC website

MIDRAND, South Africa (PAMACC News) - Legislators at the Pan African Parliament are eager to pursue industrialised countries, whose activities have resulted in excess emission of greenhouse gasses that have led to global warming, but the African civil society on climate change has a different message.

Latest research findings in Kenya for example, show that temperatures have risen in all the country’s 21 semi-arid counties with five of them surpassing the 1.5 °C mark in the past 50 years. This, according to the study, has led to a sharp reduction in livestock population, impacting heavily on livelihoods.

Paris Agreement on climate change calls for international interventions to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

“The changing climatic conditions is a problem all over Africa, and the first thing we must do is accept that there is a problem that must be tackled immediately before pursuing those who caused it,” said Augustine Njamnshi, a board member of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), which brings together over 1000 African climate-related civil society organisations.

“If a man puts your house on fire, will you start by pursuing the man, or will you try and put out the fire, then follow up with the arsonist thereafter?” asked Njamnshi during a training workshop for African Members of Parliament in Midrand, South Africa.

The Kenyan study, which was conducted by scientists from the Kenya Markets Trust (KMT), commissioned by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) – through a project known as Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies (PRISE) reveals that cattle population has reduced by over 26% between 1977 and 2016.

“Our projections show that the temperatures are going to increase even further in the coming years, and the impact is likely going to be more devastating,” said Dr Mohammed Said, one of the PRISE researchers. 

During the MPs training in Midrand, the lead trainer, Stephen Mutimba pointed out that African continent, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, is exposed to climate variability and extremes at frequencies which exceed normal thresholds, and that such events could significantly erode gains already made in poverty reduction.

There is, therefore, need for different countries to devise coping mechanisms so as to save livelihoods.

Mutimba said that governments can only prepare for disasters that may result from the extreme weather events only if they have access to adequate climate information.

“Climate information and services are key resources for governments and communities to prepare for these changes and when well integrated into policy and practice, they can help reverse this trend and enhance cross-sectoral climate resilient development,” he told the legislators.

According to Mithika Mwenda, the PACJA Secretary General, there is an urgent need for legislators to work hand in hand with the civil society and researchers for climate adaptation and in advancing the climate discourse at the global level.

“We all need to embrace the Talanoa dialogue,” said Mithika. ‘Talanoa’ is a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good. The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills, and experience through storytelling. 

Amongin Jacqueline, the Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural resources and Environment agreed with Mithika, saying that the Talanoa dialogue will help in stock-taking of the achievements so far, as well as the challenges, which should inform the way Africa should engage in global climate negotiations.

Studies have shown that Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change, especially in water, agriculture, forestry, and coastal development sectors. 

World Food Programme estimates that about 650 million people live in arid or semi-arid areas where floods and droughts impact lives and productivity.

In the arable land areas within the Sub-Saharan Africa region, scientists say that there will be a decrease of 19% in maize yields and 68% for bean yields. As a result, severe child stunting (leading to higher mortality risk) could increase by 31%–55% across the region by 2050 due to climate change.

“The earlier we start tackling the challenge of climate change, the better for our continent,” said Njamnshi.

The one-day training was organised by the Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) in collaboration with PACJA to enhance MPs' knowledge and understanding of the potential application of Climate Information Service policies in development planning with the aim of catalyzing the uptake and use of climate services by vulnerable communities.

This article was first published on the PAMACC website

Midrand, South Africa, 10 March 2018 – Legislators at the Pan African Parliament (PAP) are eager to seek accountability by industrialised countries, whose activities have resulted in excess emission of greenhouse gasses that are causing global warming, but the African civil society on climate change has a different message. 

These were some of the ideas at a training for Pan-African Parliamentarians conducted by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) in collaboration with the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and the African Climate Legislative Initiative (ACLI) on uptake and use of climate information services (CIS)by vulnerable communities. The event convened at the PAP in Midrand, South Africa on the 10th March 2018 was attended by 31 members of parliament drawn from across the continent.

The training event was organized under the Pan-African component of the Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) programme, which is implemented by ACPC. Mr. Frank Rutabingwa, the WISER coordinator at ACPC, informed participants that the objective of WISER is to contribute to the enhancement of the policy and enabling an environment for increased application of CIS in development planning.

Speaking at the event, participants recalled that the Paris Agreement on climate change calls for international interventions to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

According to Mithika Mwenda, the PACJA Secretary General, there is an urgent need for legislators to work hand in hand with the civil society and researchers for climate adaptation and in advancing the climate discourse at the global level.

“We all need to embrace the Talanoa dialogue introduced in the UN Climate negotiation process,” said Mithika. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, ideas, skills, experiences, build empathy and to facilitate wiser decisions for the collective good.

Amongin Jacquiline, the Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural resources and Environment agreed with Mithika, saying that the Talanoa dialogue will help in stock-taking of the achievements so far, as well as the challenges, which should inform the way Africa should engage in global climate negotiations.

 

In addition, Augustine Njamnshi, a board member of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) noted that “The changing climatic conditions is a problem all over Africa, and the first thing we must do, accepts that there is a problem that must be tackled immediately before pursuing those who caused it”.

A Kenyan study commissioned by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and conducted by scientists from the Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) through a project known as Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies (PRISE), reveals that cattle population in the country has reduced by over 26% between 1977 and 2016.

“Our projections show that temperature is going to increase even further in the coming years, and the impact is likely going to be more devastating,” said Dr Mohammed Said, one of the PRISE researchers.

During the training, the lead trainer, Stephen Mutimba pointed out that the African continent, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, is exposed to climate variability and extremes at frequencies which exceed normal thresholds, and that such events could significantly erode gains already made in poverty reduction. There is, therefore, need for different countries to devise coping mechanisms so as to save livelihoods.

The trainer also underscored that governments can only prepare for disasters that may result from the extreme weather events only if they have access to adequate climate information.“Climate information and services are key resources for governments and communities to prepare for these changes and when well integrated into policy and practice, they can help reverse this trend and enhance cross-sectoral climate resilient development,” he told the legislators. 

Studies have shown that Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change, especially in water, agriculture, forestry, and coastal development sectors, while the World Food Programme estimates that about 650 million people live in arid or semi-arid areas where floods and droughts impact lives and productivity. 

In the arable land areas in Sub-Saharan Africa, scientists say that there will be a decrease of 19% in maize yields and 68% for bean yields. As a result, severe child stunting (leading to higher mortality risk) could increase by 31%–55% across the region by 2050 due to climate change.“The earlier we start tackling the challenge of climate change, therefore, the better for our continent,” said Njamnshi.

The ACPC and PACJA committed to continuing the engagement with both PAP and ACLI in order to further strengthen awareness and catalyse action on CIS application in development through robust policies and plans.

 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 00:00

Severe drought hits Southern Africa

BLANTYRE, Malawi (PAMACC News) -  Prolonged dry spell experienced across Southern Africa and the invasion of crop- eating worm are said to sharply affect harvests across the region, driving millions of people – most of them children – into severe hunger, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The warning follows an alert by the regional food security experts that “erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Army Worm infestation, are likely to have far-reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition” over the next 12-15 months.

The alert, by officials from the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), listed Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Zambia and South Africa as the worst-affected countries.

The dry spell, which started in October, has caused crops to wilt. Pasture has also suffered, threatening the survival of livestock herds.

In Malawi, it is estimated that about 140,000 farming families have been affected by the twin scourges of dry spell and Fall armyworms and in terms of hectares, 375,580 hectares of maize have been damaged across the country.

Lonjezo Chiguduli, a farmer in Malawi’s Eastern Region district of Zomba expressed sadness at loss of crops and predicted tough months ahead. Chiguduli said his maize farm was severally attacked by Fall Armyworms and the prolonged drought made things worse.

“I managed to contain the worms but I was hopeless and helpless with the dry spell. I don’t think my crops will recover even if the rains come today. It’s done,” said Chiguduli a father of three whose ageing mother also depends on him.

Solomon Makondetsa, a rice farmer also from Zomba said out of four of his rice plots, two of the plots have completely wilted that he had to uproot the crop.

Makondetsa said he invested about K450,000 (about US$623) which he said he will not be able to recover due to the prolonged dry spell.

A ray of hope though shown last week with most parts of the country experiencing rains for days, however, the rains have come with another problem, flooding. So far, there has been flooding in Salima District in the central region and Karonga district in the northern region of Malawi.

In December 2017, Malawi President, Peter Mutharika, declared 20 of the country’s 28 districts as disaster areas following the dry spell and invasion of the worms.

According to the statement released by World Food Programme (WFP), even if there is above-average rainfall over coming months, much of the damage to crops is irreversible.

“Given that the region has barely emerged from three years of very damaging El Niño -induced drought, this is a particularly cruel blow”, says Brian Bogart, WFP’s Regional Programme Advisor. “But it shows how important it is to address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition in the face of changing climatic conditions”.

There are now fears for another rise in the number of people in the region needing emergency food and nutrition assistance—this fell from a peak of 40 million during the 2014-2016 ElNiño crisis to 26 million last year.

The humanitarian community is now working with governments, SADC and other partners to assess the extent of the damage and its likely impact on those most at risk in the region.

This article was first published on the PAMACC website

 

By Jacob Munoru

Traditional African cultural practices, previously regarded as inferior or incompetent, are increasingly gaining recognition as an important component of existing conservation strategies.

Local communities attach great value to traditional cultural practices, it is therefore apparent that official recognition of these practices will be an important factor complementing the current conservation knowledge.

Cultural factors can influence and regulate people’s behaviour towards forests or tree species and their habitats for instance among the Mt Kenya communities the Mugumo tree is considered sacred and traditional dwelling places for the Gods in some Kenyan communities are on the steep slopes of hills and mountains which are considered sacred, such beliefs and practices result in the preservation of these areas and act as important drivers of environmental change.

Traditional cultural practices among other strategies have promising potential to enhance sustainable resource use and conservation, therefore, realizing the desire for ecological and social sustainability.

Despite concerted conservation efforts, a considerable number of species is threatened with extinction mainly because of anthropogenic impacts such as deforestation, overexploitation, habitat destruction, the introduction of new exotic species and pollution.

Promotion of the use of cultural management knowledge coincides well with the philosophy of co-management approach that advocates sharing of power, rights, and responsibilities between the state and local resource users.

This argument is centred on the management capabilities of local communities and possible dangers of disregarding them. The fact that the communities have regular interactions and are more familiar with the resources in their environment than other potential actors makes them one of the best managers of the resource, who could contribute effectively to current conservation efforts.

Local communities understand the source of the water and for how long this resource can last if properly and efficiently utilized, and how to avoid acute shortages as is the case in our country now.

Traditional African cultural practices oversee and enforce community rules/regulations or taboos that when enforced, they act as a supreme court with the final say on all forest conservation matters. Their conservation role is still evident in some areas for example in Meru, the council of elders Njuri Ncheke shrine bushes, forests or woodlots and streams are well preserved, they act as carbon sinks in the areas where they are found therefore checking on pollution and global warming.

This has remained true despite cultural practices being marginalized by modern management systems and cultural dilution caused by immigration, formal education, and adaptation of modern religions.

Both colonial and post-colonial conservation policies ignored the potential role of traditional African cultural practices in contributing to conservation goals. Factors such as rapid population increase, inadequate local support for conservation policies, limited strategies for survival among the local communities and inadequate capacity of the government to fund law enforcement operations against illegal activities subject our forests to unsustainable use.

Our policymakers should, therefore, accord greater attention to traditional institutions so that local people’s conservation role is fairly acknowledged and potential synergies with conservation objectives realized.

The national and county governments should reward traditional people for sustainable conservation practices observed through their institutions and sensitize policy makers to include traditional conservation practices in conservation Agenda.

The practices both modern Silvicultural forest Management principles and the African traditional cultural practices in conservation are one of multiple strategies for complementing rather than replacing existing central management systems.

GAZI BAY, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Putting on gumboots and armed with clubs and machetes, Hassam Bakari, 44, a forest guard in Makongeni mangrove fishing village at Gazi Bay along Kenya’s coastline slashes through a thick canopy, making his way along a trail of mixed shrub trees in swamps.

Hassam is among over 400 community members of the Mikoko Pamoja (in Swahili meaning Mangroves Together) project driving the expansion of Kenya’s first blue carbon credit scheme, providing multiple income generating activities and fighting climate change in the region.

“We now protect this area day and night because the livelihood and future of our children depends on these mangroves,” Hassam said during a visit of researchers and environment experts to the mangrove restoration project in the run up to the UN Environment General Assembly on December 2, 2017.

Like Hassam, the people of this coastal community say they are giving their all to make the mangrove restoration project a global reference, but for lack of financial means the impetus for expansion and protection is coming from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), via the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP.

According to Anne Wanjoru, Social impact officer of Mikoko Pamoja, the expansion of the mangrove restoration project had become necessary following increasing acceptance of the population to engage fully in the project.

“The population are now willing to voluntarily participate and this is driving the expansion and protection scheme of the project, “Anne said.
The expansion phase of the project that started in 2015 with funding of 100.000 dollars from GEF via

UNEP has seen the acres of the mangrove forest of Mikoko Pamoja increase by 117 bringing the total size of mangroves in Makonzeni, Gazi and Chale to 615 acres.

For the local population this means more income not only from a surging carbon credit sales, but also a multiplication of income generating activities.

“We are getting more and more tourists, scientists, researchers visiting and this means big markets for our fish, handicraft, restaurant business and improved income for the population,” says Jesphat Mmtwan the project coordinator.

The new community plan of action is not only limited to expansion. Efforts at protection have more than double. Every household in the community sends representatives to act as forest guards.

“We are one family here and need to protect what we have toiled to put together,” said Mohamed Ardi, another fisher man and trader in Gazi bay.

A tower of over 40 meters high has been constructed to permit community forest guards have an overview of the area against invaders while a 450 meters broad walk also set up not only to permit tourists and other visitors get a better appreciation of the rich mangrove forest but also to reinforce security, the project officials say.

The expansion of Gazi bay mangrove has made the project the biggest in Africa according to UNEP programme management officer, Gabriel Grimsditch.

On a global scale, the restoration expansion will serve as a push to ongoing drive towards including mangroves in the national Redd+ action plan and strategies.

Mangroves, scientists say has a higher capacity of capturing carbon than biomass (terrestrial rianforest trees).

According James Kairo, chief scientist with the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, KMFRI , pitlands in mangroves store three times more carbon than terrestrial rainforest.

The biggest storage on carbon is in the soil and in mangrove areas, tidal movement make sediments get trapped by mangroves and there is build up of carbon storage, he explains.

“Mangroves are unique tropical forest with an exceptional ability to capture and store carbon,” Kairo says.

The Gazi Mangrove project for example stores over 3000 tonnes of carbon per year which is sold at over 12,000 US dollars annually according to statistics from KMFRI. The carbons are bought mostly by Earth Watch and the money obtained is ploughed back into development projects in the community, the villagers benefiting from the projects admit.

Money obtained from sale of carbon credits is used to buy books for children and equip schools, making it easier and encouraging for parents to send their children to school, a complete break from a long standing tradition where children were initiated into fishing and many abandoned school because their parents could not afford.

“Schools in Gazi and Makongeni have been reconstructed with more classrooms, textbooks distributed to pupils for free and this has encouraged many more parents to send their children to school,” says Anne Wanjiru.

The Mangrove forest in the area had in the past suffered from serious degradation by activities of, commercial loggers, and industries dealing with wood from mangroves as well as local fishing community members smoking fish. The community members say illegal and abusive mangrove cutting use to scare fish away making life perilous for the fishing communities of Makongeni, Chale and Gazi villages.

“We could hardly get fish even to eat, talk less of selling to earn income to support our families and send our children to school,” says Josephat Mnwarima, fisherman and coordinator of the Mikoko Pamoja mangroves restoration and protection project.

But now things have changed for the better according to members of the fishing community.

“I now catch three times more fish than I used to before 2010,” says Wanga Ahmed a fisherman from Wasini Island one of the villages in the area.

He expresses hope that with the ongoing expansion scheme, their community will in the future by a haven for varied species of fish bringing more income and better living condition to the population

UNEP says the mangrove forest expansion scheme is a global project also happening in other countries in the continent like Madagascar, Mozambique.

“UNEP is supporting similar initiatives in other countries in the continent,” Gabriel says.

However the scheme is not without challenges.

“We have had a series of challenges driving the expansion scheme,” he admits.

These include difficulties in carrying out scientific assessment of carbon stocks, getting the mostly illiterate village communities understand the importance of the project and also getting more buyers of carbon stocks.

“We also have problems of leakages. In the course of protecting one area we sometimes discover the mangrove cutters have relocated to other areas,” Gabriel says.

As solution, he says UNEP is supporting the planting of casuarina trees, a specie that grows quickly for wood used by locals thus preventing the cutting of mangroves.

African authorities have saluted the support by development stakeholders to the Kenyan local community mangrove conservation initiative to fight climate change, calling on the project to be replicated in other coastal regions in the continent.

“We have to be proud of our continent and support good practices that serves as world model like the local community-led mangrove conservation efforts in Kenya. In the next African environment ministers meeting in South Africa 2018 efforts at replicating such initiative will be put on the table,” announced  Pacome Moubelet Boubeya, President of African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, at the ongoing UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.

Thursday, 04 January 2018 00:00

The Coming Climate Famine Anarchy

OPINION

 “The future of food – if the biosphere and her humanity are to be sustained – is local, organic, permaculture exchanged without intermediaries.” – Dr. Glen Barry 

The global environment is collapsing and dying. For too long we have lived our lives as if nature doesn’t matter and have failed to embrace an ecology ethic. We have treated water, air, land, and oceans as resources to be plundered and as waste dumps. Nothing grows forever – certainly not economies on the back of finite ecological systems – and mass psychosis pretending infinite growth is possible is a death wish.

Such ecological imprudence is now catching up with us, threatening our very daily bread.

Climate change is having profound impacts upon agricultural systems including a lack of regular seasonality. That is, the boundaries between cold and warm, and dry and wet, periods have become highly variable. In much of the world this makes it difficult to know when to grow your food. Knowing when to plant and when to harvest is becoming extremely problematic and this aseasonality is decreasing yields. This climate weirding is the direct result of our haphazard changing of atmospheric chemistry.

Climate change is making it more difficult to grow food the way we have been. Huge swathes of farmland are faced by droughts and floods. Temperate region’s lack of cold weather and snow has meant an increase in agricultural pests. Similarly, factory animal agriculture and fisheries are being hammered from disease, parasites, and decreased feed stocks brought on by abrupt climate change.

Shifting seasonality, and at times even a lack of seasonality, simply exacerbate problems associated with industrial farming. Modern agriculture consumes massive amounts of fossil fuels which cause both warming and are finite. Factory animal farming’s prodigious amounts of fecal waste become even more toxic in the heat. Increasingly toxic GMO Frankenseeds are being peddled in conjunction with a soup of dangerous chemicals as a means to keep production high.

Our increased dependence upon limited genotypes mean that one crop or animal disease could swiftly kill vast amounts of agricultural products ushering in massive price increases and widespread hunger. Soils are eroding and becoming less fertile due to increased industrial intensification.

Any increase in plant growth from increased temperatures and/or carbon dioxide is quickly eliminated as another limiting factor such as water and nutrient availability goes unmet. In many cases rising temperatures simply kill plants. And the food that is grown is often stressed and thus contains fewer nutrients. The end result of climate-stressed industrial agriculture is low-quality junk foods that are killing our bodies and our planet. Much of the over-developed world is addicted to the sugar and additives found in this industrially produced crap.

As the global food supply becomes more precarious and subject to unexpected extreme weather events, the global population continues to soar and has now reached approximately 7.5 billion people.

Already nearly one billion people experience chronic hunger, sapping their soul and energy, and providing limited opportunity for a healthy and fulfilling life. Billions of emerging consumers now view steaks and hamburgers as their birthright, with all the attendant medical and ecological costs. In much of the world the cost of food is by far the greatest expenditure, and quality food is increasingly expensive in over-developed nations as well.

The world’s agricultural system is weak and vulnerable to major disruption that will soon result in an international famine of the sort that already ravages numerous nations such as Haiti and Somalia. Abrupt climate change may well be the final straw that ushers in global mass hunger and collapse into the bad sort of anarchy.

It is difficult to communicate the horrors that await us if the globe faces widespread failure of food systems. Suffice it to say that post-modern collapse will utterly strip cosmopolitan consumers of technological vestiges of comfort including variety of high-quality and nutritious food. Rural areas will face a shortage of open-pollinating seed due to seed monopolies, and lack of traditional farming know how. Everyday life will be a struggle to avoid murder, find food, and otherwise meet basic needs. Sadly this is already the reality for a billion people who live in abject poverty, and soon it will be all our fates if we don’t change.

It is increasingly probable that climate change will precipitate a massive crop failure on a global scale. Perhaps America’s wheat and corn crops fail. Or globally a drought persists for years that wrecks the majority of Earth’s foodstocks. Or a super pathogen takes out genetically modified corn. One can expect in our lifetime for periods where the supermarkets are mostly empty and each of us left to persist from what we can raise, exchange, or gather locally.

Imagine the coming horror of starvation in the heartland as formerly petite bourgeoisie experience the depredations of the street people they once ignored.

The solutions are difficult yet known. We must re-localize our agriculture systems. More of our food must be grown in our own bioregion, and exchanged and consumed locally. Much more of our population is going to have to find employment in growing food. Every human being will be called upon to grow an increasing percentage of their own food, and bartering and otherwise exchanging their surplus with those nearby.

The use of fossil fuels must be eliminated from the global food chain. Factory animal feedlots must be eliminated and whatever meat is produced come from time-tested small scale animal husbandry practices (or when desired eliminated).

Monocultures protected with synthetic toxic pesticides and herbicides are literally death traps. We must return to inter-cropping and no-till agriculture that focuses upon maintaining the soil’s structure and fertility. The emphasis must be upon organic food production and permaculture from natural seed stocks, whereby the boundaries between natural ecosystems, tree crops, and food crops are not strictly delineated.

Permaculture is committed to realizing the full potential of righteous land and soil management to benefit the community’s well-being including both high-quality food and ecosystems. Increasingly our forest tree crops and traditional garden vegetables will be intermingled, to the extent feasible given a bioregion’s flora, as forests and gardens merge.

In general, an agro-ecology ethic requires a profound shift in global consciousness to re-embrace our oneness with nature. Industrial agriculture has viewed natural ecosystems as decadent wastelands that should be destroyed, rather than embracing them as the ecosystem engines that make the biosphere habitable. And which provide the genetic seed stocks and inspiration for constructing semi-natural productive ecosystems.

Continued exponential growth in human populations, particularly as some have so much as many have so little, can only result in global ecological collapse. Human population growth must be limited with urgency through incentives, and educating all girls and boys, including in the use of contraception; or the global environmental system will seek balance far more harshly. And there is no path to food sustainability that does not include reducing military expenditures, a basic income, and more sharing. Fairness is not communism.

In sum, much more work must be done to achieve the balance between natural and semi-natural productive ecosystems necessary to sustain Earth, her humanity, and all creatures. My peer-reviewed science “Terrestrial Ecosystem Loss and Biosphere Collapse” suggests that 2/3 of Earth’s land mass must remain as ecosystems, 2/3 of which must be natural ecosystems (44%), and 1/3 semi-natural permaculture and other productive ecosystems (22%).

Or we face biosphere collapse and the end of being.

The future of food – if the biosphere and her humanity are to be sustained – is local, organic, permaculture exchanged without intermediaries.

EcoInternet is committed to re-localizing, detoxifying, and making global food systems ecologically sustainable. We are in the process of creating Internet resources which will help fulfill this vision. And we could use your help. More soon on these exciting initiatives.

This article first appeared on www.pamacc.org 

The Arctic is melting with no turning back. Climate change increased rainfall during Hurricane Harvey by at least 15%. And several extreme weather events that occurred in 2016 would not have been possible without man-made global warming.

These are among the findings being discussed this week at this fall’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans, the largest gathering of Earth scientists in the world. Taken together, the findings show the deepening urgency of the fight against climate change.

“Climate change is hurting us without a doubt,” said James Byrne, a professor at the University of Lethbridge who studies climate change, at a press conference. “Houston, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, British Columbia — worst fire season ever. California, I think they declared it the worst fire season.”

Scientists have explored the link between climate change and extreme weather events for years, but many of the conclusions have relied on forecasts of potential future damage. This year, scientists say, the findings are no longer theoretical. Man-made global warming is causing problems here and now.

Take the American Meteorological Society’s report on extreme weather events in 2016, the sixth annual iteration of the report. In the past, the group found that likelihood had increased the chances of certain extreme weather events. But this year scientists found that 2016’s record global temperatures and historic warm waters in the Bering Sea “would not have been possible” in a world without human-caused climate change.

“These events were not just influenced by human-caused climate change,” said Jeff Rosenfeld of the American Meteorological Society at a press conference. “Some of the events in 2016 could not have happened without climate change.”

The report also highlighted global heat waves, an extreme occurrence of El Niño and bleaching of coral reefs. These extreme events are all closely tied to climate change, though they remain theoretically possible in a world without the phenomenon.

Another report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the state of continued ice melt, loss of snow cover and warm temperatures will be the “new normal” in the Arctic. The signs of climate change in the region have been pronounced for years as air temperatures have risen there at twice the rate as they have globally.

The effects of a melting Arctic — and the strong likelihood that it will not return to a normal state anytime soon — has significant implications far beyond its boundaries. Arctic sea ice plays an important role moderating global temperatures as it reflects sunlight back into space. And scientists say that the swift warming in the Arctic is a concerning sign of what’s to come globally. “Unlike Vegas what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” said Tim Gallaudet, acting NOAA administrator, at a press conference. “It affects the rest of the planet.”

Two separate studies presented at the conference showed that climate change worsened rainfall when Hurricane Harvey struck Houston earlier by somewhere between 15% and 38%. That storm brought nearly 50 inches of rain to some areas and caused billions in damages. The research comes as scientists increasingly try to draw explicit conclusions about the effect of climate change and individual storms, a practice unthinkable just a decade ago.

The warning from scientists comes as policymakers across the globe continue to grapple how to stem temperature rise. Countries have committed to trying to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, but recent research shows leaders remain far from meeting that goal.

This article was published in http://time.com/

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