Green Ideologies: Which Way Africa?
From the primitive era where man and beast peacefully co-existed, the world has evolved socially, economically, technologically and more so environmentally; creating a different story in the contemporary world. Human-wildlife conflict stories hit our headlines way too often, as a result of factors we have largely contributed to. This is where the aspect of Green Ideology comes in - an idea that aims at creating an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism/ecology, nonviolence, social justice and democracy.
The earth is one, interconnected in nature. Any interference with any single part of nature may have undesirable effects on the entire natural system and natural processes-ecologists argue. Deforestation, pollution, global warming, etc., are some of the many examples of such devastating effects, caused by unintended consequences of human intervention in nature. Yet, unknowingly (or knowingly), we upset both living and nonliving organisms with effects vindictively reverting back to us, as if avenging our doings.
Looking around the globe and specifically in Africa, how do we explain the long spells of drought, starving and malnourished children, flash floods and even the recently experienced heat wave in East Africa ? Speaking of the heat wave, while some meteorologists argued it was as a result of the "equinox phenomenon", where the plane of earth's equator passes through the center of the sun, placing the sun exactly overhead, leading to high temperatures; others blamed it on climate change.
Let’s put that aside. Africa’s population has been growing rapidly as are the economic growth rates of different countries. Urbanization and unemployment in Africa has led to swift relocation of people from the rural areas to the cities in search of opportunities. As a result, industrial production has gone up and so has the amount of waste emissions from these industries. While this is largely expected, the Bourgeois who own these factories and our governments have turned their backs on their responsibilities to ensure proper drainage systems are in place; to avert the increasing environmental degradation from the industrial waste.
While they live in the high end estates, the proletariats retire to their humble dwellings, consume water polluted by the waste and spend all their peanut earnings on medical treatment for their ever sickly children. We may be seeking to move Africa from the periphery to the semi-periphery and maybe, just maybe to the core in the next millennia, but this shall remain a far-fetched dream for Africa; as long as the working class remains thus morbid.
Africa is a rich continent; rich with natural resources and clean energy that is the envy of other continents. Rich with beautiful destinations and wildlife, some of which are the only remaining species in the world. Rich with a people, so warm and hospitable. But why, why have we for so long been subjected to general mockery and ridicule? Why have we allowed the West to use our own natural resources to turn us against each other? Africa can do better than this. There is room for regional integration not only in politics and trade, but in creating an environmentally stable continent for all of us. A healthy continent with sustainable food production growth, enough for everyone. Where tourists will flock not just to see the wildlife but because Africa is where they would rather be.
Thankfully, there are individuals, non-profit organizations and even corporate firms that have taken it upon themselves to spearhead this agenda. Investing in online markets as opposed to traditional brick and mortar business is arguably more eco-friendly while still supporting improved customer experience. Take the booking of hotels for instance. If a tourist was to drive to 10 hotels comparing the best for his/her upcoming vacation, how much carbon footprint would be emitted by just a single person in a day?
Yet, the presence of online hotel booking websites such as Jovago.com and Expedia enables travelers to compare different destinations from the comfort of their homes, with just a click of a button. Going online also reduces the commotion of people in the streets as they move from one shop to another, shopping.
Despite the economic growth forecast for Africa, the next generation shall be more content if we create, today, a greener continent. As Kofi Annan remarked during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos earlier this year, “Africa has the possibility of being the first continent to become a green continent”. Then and only then shall we confidently say that Africa is making the right strides towards the right direction.