Tag Archives: #islandgirl

SDG 14 and Coastal communities

A great mind once said a cheerful heart is some great medicine, but a failing heart who can contain it, I guess none. The world, in general, has had its fair share of issues this year and in Africa, Kenya is still in peoples mind and heart as they arise every day. A few kilometers away from Kenya, I am in Dar es Salaam meeting with scientists who are cheerful and strategizing in taking the western Indian ocean countries and their small islands nations through a better stage of achieving SDG goals with several goals taking the center stage. The scientists from almost all parts of the globe are interested in producing applicable science for especially SDG number 14 on life underwater  for the western Indian ocean regions whose important principles:

  • By 2025 Prevent and reduce marine pollution of all kinds.
  • By 2020 Sustainable manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystem.
  • Minimize acidification of the oceans.
  • By 2020 Regulate overfishing.
  • Increase scientific knowledge on the area
MGDs practicability, ILO office DAR es Salaam

Many countries and small island nations along the western Indian ocean that attended the pre symposia, are strategizing and planning on how to manage this aspect of the MDG as well as include SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities, of the few initiatives, registered Kenya and Mombasa as a city specifically seriously needs some of these interventions, is featuring but to a lesser extent, look at some of my earlier posts on Mombasa Island http://valentineenvironment.com/sea-level-rise-mombasa-and-lamu/.

The warming of the earth as per the AR5 report is based on the historical context, the increase of the three important greenhouse gases which includes the carbon dioxide,  methane and nitrous oxides, especially from consumption of fossil fuels and deforestation with these gases increasing at almost thirty percent.  The impacts that affects humans and ecosystems in coastal cities include , the increase of sea level from 1700mm to a severe pervasive and irreversible level, the  acidification of the ocean and its related resources as well as the distorted impacts of the built environment with the natural oceans leading to both positive and negative impacts of the negative raising the bar to a new level.

The dangers associated with these climatic changes are of course affecting the life under the sea. The five risks unique to this ecosystem include risks on ecosystems and diversity, the distortions of marine life nesting sites, directly bearing on the sustenance of coastal communities that depend on this vital resources. For a start we need to reduce fossil fuel use between 40 and 70 %, I know Kenya wants to hear none of this, but wena! it is the bare truth. Zero or low carbon energy is important in reducing the climate risks and contribute to climate resilience and sustainability options.

The need to manage the blue economy cannot be underestimated in coastal communities along the east and western part of the Indian ocean. As the coastal cities in this region strategize and plan and join local government sustainability initiatives especially fit for coastal regions, we will not only be able to protect ourselves from climate-related threats, but we will as well be able to develop our coastal cities gradually. We will be able to protect the coastal above water and underwater resources as well as the people who get nourishment form these areas.

In the event that the coastal regions and governments do not support these initiatives and leave the forces of demand and supply which are mostly directed by the consumptive nature of the people. We will continue flouting ruthlessly the planning rules and regulations in the coastal regions, continue to increase the grey environment without sufficient plans to secure clean water and the related resources, we will continue to rape, maim and destroy the ecological services provided by the coastal environment much to the disagreement of nature. Bear in mind that the environment when highly destroyed may reach a point of no return,  and of course when the environment disagrees and cannot sustain anymore, life will depart from you.

Meanwhile, the WIOMSA symposium is starting tomorrow, check and follow the proceedings here http://symposium.wiomsa.org/ . For the women in marine science and related disciplines, keep your ears open. Cheers, and let’s discuss after the symposium we are already set.

Attending pre WIOMSA symposium in DAR







The climate discussion: A letter to the second Kenyatta

Mombasa 2Sometimes being a county man has its high and low sides. First I am  Kenyan by birth I tend to think and by naturalization as well. The country has beautiful and excellent resources leave alone the footprint. Kenya will forever be glued into people’s mind all for the good and sometimes for the bad reasons including the exploits on the track and field events, Mbalula the sports minister South Africa knows this well and, of course, the Obama factor. For today, I will leave the Kenyan beautiful experience for expounding on the commentary. My interest being the environmental sustainability of our coastal beautiful tourist attractive cities of Mombasa and lamu. As research is still going on and burning the midnight oil to keep this city up to international standards when we talk about climate change, especially sea level rise and the threat of inundation.

At around 2:30 am 22nd August 1978 I was hardly a year old the founding father of Kenya Mzee Jomo Kenyatta soul departed from the earth in the beautiful Mombasa island. Like the Africans would say, the spirit was around at least three days before the grim reaper carried it off to unknown destinations ( a subject I will leave to the pastors and priests to debate). I want to imagine that the last moments of the old Man saw the beautiful palm trees, and the calm thundering of the ocean as he went to bed that night never to wake up again. The feeling makes me want to be in Mombasa forever, it’s a city with a great attachment to the birth and the growth of Kenya as a country. I wonder if the founding father would be smiling from the earth yonder, when we allow climate-related disturbances to wipe out the city of Mombasa. What is he telling his son, the other Kenyatta the current president of Kenya? I would wonder if The late Prof Ali Mazrui buried a walk away fro the state house where the founding fathers soul departed, would have relaxed and settled to know that climate change is threatening the survival of Mombasa island. It is these reflections that make me quickly conclude, effort needs to be made to make sure that does not happen. That sea level changes will not find the island of Mombasa and Lamu unprepared.

Several professionals have significantly studied a message from the Minister of Environment of Paris (my condolences for their loss) the climate change phenomena. These include anthropologists physiologists and historian who have shown a relationship between humans and nature. Biologists have confirmed that biodiversity is being affected by the changes in the climate; climatologists are proving that the weather patterns are changing daily. Planners are telling us that a new thinking is required for Island nations survival. Otherwise, the concept of internally displaced climate refugees is not far fetched. A combination of action is emphasized so that action can take place, to avoid a scenario where we are not making changes in our daily activities that are affecting as climate deniers still exist. The 43 members states through Banki Moon have insisted that there’s the ability to speed up severely binding agreements, to reduce atmospheric gases and injection of fossil fuel residue into the environment.

Mombasa 3The spirit is towards a low carbon economy; there can’t be climate efficiency without climatic responsibility, from energy efficiency to clean smart energy networks, carbon capture, green energy, green building and architecture energy saving, active transport among others. The fifths IPCC evaluation report, call upon sectoral policies and regional and national forums to lessen the impacts of climate change.

Two-thirds of the global population in 2050 Will be in cities we need to work on smart cities to make the globe a better place, e.g., a low carbon economy not as a disaster but an opportunity to hold on and improve the lives. In many countries, Parliament is passing legislation to save landscapes, energy efficiency and saving and preparing for power use without oil and protecting our biodiversity and landscapes. Climate systems are complex with different angles and different disciplinary angles and need this kind of management to achieve a cleaner world.
Mombasa and Lamu island would do well if smart and clean energy options are enhanced, so that forever, we keep the legacy of this mound of soil that is home to many including the soul of the departed founder Father of the Nation.