This week it was my turn to make a presentation for the weekly Adult Environmental Education class. Members of the community come together to learn about environmental issues, led by the forest project. This week, the focus was on climate change in light of Earth Day 2013’s theme – The Faces of Climate Change. As a coastal town, Shimoni could be affected by rising sea levels in the future. A rise in the Earth’s temperature would lead to more droughts, inconsistent rains, and severe flooding. All these things would be detrimental to Shimoni’s wildlife, agriculture and way of life. In giving the presentation, I was faced with a dilemma. I could tell the people of Shimoni all of the consequences of climate change, but Kenyans were not contributing to the bulk of climate change. First world countries like the United States, my home, were the major culprits for this problem. Was it really right for me, an American, to speak to the people of Shimoni, who live much greener lives than most American, about leaving an even smaller carbon footprint?
|Christine with some of her favourite folks in the community|
While it was difficult to discuss my findings, it has inspired me to try to do more when I get home. I want to do more to inspire people in my town and at school to live greener lifestyles because our momentary indulgences are disrupting the lives of many Kenyan communities. Some of the Maasai people have lost almost all of their cattle due to droughts, and even producing vegetables and grains to eat has become more difficult with the inconsistent rains. When people in first world countries do not recycle or litter because we are lazy or buy environmentally unfriendly items out of convenience, we are directly affecting the lives of those who depend directly on natural resources. Many Kenyans depend on rain water, and so small changes in the environment have huge effects on their livelihood. The world is a web connected by the environment. The environment is our home whether we are from the states, China, or Kenya, and it is our responsibility to respect it for the sake of all those inhabiting it.
|Christine with some of the cutest residents of Shimoni|
Christine Kong – Health Project Volunteer