This is my bit for the planet

This post is part of Blog Action Day; thousands of bloggers writing about Climate change on the same day. 8,221 blogs & counting…

For more information on Blog Action Day, visit blogactionday.org or watch this video

I went to school in a cold part of Kenya [high school, that is]. Lowest recorded temperature in my time there: 10 Celsius. In the past: 4 Celsius. My mum grew up in a cold part of Kenya, frost and all that. There are kids growing up there now who wouldn’t know frost if it was thrown in their faces…and it wouldn’t be because there’s none of it to throw…

Climate change, global warming…it is personal. It isn’t some random concept sold by Al Gore & Co. It’s not an East/West thing…a liberal/conservative debate. Do liberals inhabit a parallel universe? Do Europeans and Africans inhabit separate worlds? Is the suffering of one not that of many? For me, as a citizen of a developing country, the effects of climate change are real, serious, and sometimes fatal.

Malaria zones, according to WHO infromation, have expanded over time. Areas where malaria was unheard of now have malaria stories. As a child, I almost died of malaria because the assumption among GPs was that Nairobi & its environs were not malaria zones. And this was the 90s…and I hadn’t been in a ‘conventional’ malaria zone like the area round Lake Victoria or our bit of the Indian Ocean  coast. The world is getting warmer, and mosquitoes are having a ball…while the world’s children die from a disease that has been eliminated in some parts of the world…

I remember, once when I was 10, having an embarassing episode that was caused by my refusal to throw trash out of the window as my school bus drove through a wildlife-filled area. They’d eat it & be sick, I argued… I repeat, 10. Not 20 like I am now. The power to make a difference begins with us. With each & every one of us. Age or socio-economic position are neither here nor there. Information, though, is of supreme importance. Because my parents had encouraged me to read and made me aware of the delicate balance that is the planet Earth, I was able to stand up for my beliefs even as people looked at me like I was a psycho child. To believe, to be firm in action, one needs to be thoroughly informed. If you & I make a choice to be green, to drive less, to consume plastics less,[or not at all]…we’ll be halfway there.

And yes, I am one to speak… I have planted trees, put aside my 1988 hatchback because it doesn’t rank up there with eco-friendly to walk [try it, it helps you discover the place you live in so much better & makes you fit 🙂 ], re-used… Yet I need to do more. Lobby my MP (Member of Parliament) to make restrictions on use of swampland & other areas of importance to bio-diversity into law; question all the government agencies nt living up to their mandate; harness my Rotaract Club to make a difference in terms of sensitizing people about climate change & its effects on us (young people, Kenyans, the inhabitants of this planet)…kiss my boyfriend goodbye earlier so I don’t have to take a cab home [yes, X, it affects you too 😀 ]

I’m proud of the people in my corner of the world…we’ve found the courage to tell the politicians who hived off our water catchment areas that we will take them back…& there’s nothing they can do about it other than hem, haw, & be assured of the end of their careers. We have had to make painful decisions…kicking fellow citizens out of swamps & forests because we need to reclaim our land. Yet we have also done amazingly crazy things….like burning forests because the government is evicting the burners. Now we are seeing a drought like none we have seen before…and rains due to El Nino.

Climate change…global warming…it’s about you & I. About the children who may learn of some animals only from books because our carelessness & selfishness will have eliminated them…it’s about birth control because large populations make us take up more land [with the associated destruction] It’s about being daring, going outside your comfort zone to make a difference. Sensitizing yourself & your community, lobbying your leaders [taking up leadership positions, even] about the effects of global warming.

Reversing the adverse effects of climate change requires the effort of each & every one of us. It is possible. I wish you & I the best in our quest to make the world a better place.

***COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009… A chance for nations, and especially the US, to make a stand for the Earth***


Lessons

Oh yes my lovelies……….I am back!

I fell sick on the night of the 10th but was sufficiently recovered yesterday to go to school so yay!! The last time I was that sick was a long time ago. Throwing up. Then the drama that is trying to get treatment in a public institution in this country that I love so much. Turns out this girl has malaria….so I have to get on some treatment that promises to cure me 🙂 Positive attitude……………I have good friends, I do………….especially the ones who were there when I was throwing up into the toilet basin and all I could think of was all those things I am yet to achieve.

Person X and I had a long and ridiculous arguement  about schools and school pride and on and on………..I was sticking up for (get this) the high school I want my brother to attend and he for his. The high school I attended is very much like the one I would like my brother to attend. Old, full of traditions that can drive you nuts, hard not to love, respected, a legacy to pass to your daughters………………….an African version of a prep school. And person X did not attend such a school. So after I had said all these wondrous things, he said the same things could be said about his school. And we had a useless conversation that I wrapped up by telling him I was sorry I had upset him. Just so the feeling would go away.

When did I become this woman-person that does not stick up for her beliefs? I now understand why Ivy Leaguers want to date fellow Ivy grads. They are from the same tradition! These class distinctions we see in the world are a means of self-preservation. Imagine having a fight with your spouse over cutlery. How weird…….right? Wrong! How like something that would happen if you were from different worlds. And here is the catch; with the exception of my prep school, we have had almost identical lives – how do we explain that fall out?

And so lessons learnt from the sickness and from my argument with X:

I have had my Aha! moment …………. puking into a toilet bowl. And Oprah’ll interview me for me to tell her 😉

X and I don’t have school tradition in common………is that something I can overlook?