A Bright Green Future is Possible

By Timothy Mugerwa, Climate Reality Leader

13 October 2017

For the first time in the history of this world we have a common challenge, a challenge that supersedes race, age, religion, education levels, financial status and above all a challenge that has replaced our bright green past with deserts and yellowish present.

The pearl of Africa which they call Uganda but I call home was a great fascination to colonialists not because of her people but her amazing flora and fauna coupled with the best climate on planet earth. Uganda’s bright green past was everyone’s attraction.

The beautiful scenery at the peak of Mt. Rwenzori, the fresh waters of Lake Victoria, the falls of river Nile, the mountain guerrillas, the crested crane, the fertile soils, the malaria free Kiboga and most importantly the beautiful and healthy cows in Kapeke. All this represented a rich bright green past.

Today when I stand at the peak of Mt. Elgon pondering over what went wrong, I struggle to find answers, then I choose to sun bath at the river banks of River Kafu but I still struggle. But when I carry my pot to fetch water from the almost dried Nakayenga wells and streams and thereafter search for my cow’s pasture in Kapeke, I realize how man has been cruel to this environment. I get answers to what happened to our bright green past.

Since the industrial revolution man has not been doing justice to the environment. I recognize the role of natural causes to our changing climate but that’s beyond our control. Scientists have agreed that human activities are the leading causes of climate change. Africa and Uganda in particular may not feel bothered given its lowest contribution to the global carbon emissions (about 5%) but should we wait for things to get worse?

Before we hold industrialized countries accountable, do we hold ourselves accountable? Do we mind about our careless energy usage? Do we care about our indiscriminate waste disposal? Do we think of our bad agricultural practices? Do we care about the swamps and forests we degrade every day? Truly industrialized countries have a historical responsibility of polluting our planet but it’s not only them that made us lose our bright green past, we also contributed.

Charcoal burning is a lucrative business here, everyday thousands of trees are cut by local residents, swamps are cleared by our own people. Water streams are blocking and drying up due to our own activities. We’ve put too much pressure on our environment and we’re continuing to do it without mercy. The more years we spend abusing the environment the more the climate is changing; please remember we need the environment more than it needs us.

The major question now is, yes we had a glorious bright green past and now we’ve a yellowish present, is it possible to have a brighter green future? The African Climate Reality Project (ACRP) is saying YES, a bright green future is possible in Africa. A bright green future is possible in Uganda and together we’re going to make it possible here in Kapeke and the entire district of Kiboga.

The onus is on us to make it happen. Individual, group, community and organizational efforts ought to be put together and restore climate hope for all.

We cannot wait any longer to take climate action given the extreme weather events in our country. Snow at the peak of Mt. Rwenzori is disappearing; landslides are increasing in Bududa, not to mention the unforgiving famine and drought in many parts of our country. Animals here in Kapeke barely have water and pasture. The talking must end. It’s time for action. There’s danger in delaying climate action.

Indeed a bright green future is possible in Africa. We’re determined and committed to continue spreading climate action and awareness.

Let’s work together to create a healthier, safer and cleaner climate that will benefit every creature that lives on earth. For us to achieve this we need collective action. The onus is on us to make it happen. Individual, group, community and organizational efforts ought to be put together and restore climate hope for all.

Africans are good fighters; they are good at winning every fight they take on. We defeated slave trade, colonialism, apartheid and many more. If we choose to do something, we do it. We can reduce and possibly end human induced climate change. The solutions are within our reach. All we need is action.

On 13 October 2017, I helped launch the Kapeke Seed Secondary School’s Climate Change Club in Kiboga district, Uganda. This is just a beginning of our support to efforts that seek to save our only planet. This club will not only benefit this school but the entire community. It’s now a centre of change which we hope to transform Kiboga. The leaders of this club can count on our support. It has fallen on their generation to fight climate change; they should do it without any reservation, for their own future and future generations.

Alone you will move fast but together we’ll move far.

A bright green future is possible.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of the African Climate Reality Project.