Claiming that the earth has not been untouched by human beings over the years would be the biggest lie ever told. Human beings have assisted in shaping the earth into what it is today. Not necessarily in a positive way but in the negative. As we continue to deplete land resources to be able to sustain human beings and our needs, we live an imbalance in nature. We have seen man build and extend roads and railways where wild animals used to pass. We have also seen buildings being erected in areas that were inhabited by wild species. With a rise in human populations, we have seen wild spaces decrease as human beings inhabit them.
We know and can vividly see climate change is happening. We are certain that it is caused by people’s lifestyles. As a consequence, the Earth’s atmosphere is warming. Weather patterns, climates and natural environments are changing quicker than wildlife or people can adapt. So many of the world’s biggest challenges, from poverty to wildlife extinction, are made more difficult by climate change. It will continue to get worse if we do nothing and choose to ignore this predicament.
“What we take for granted might not be here for our children.” – Al Gore
Al Gore’s documentary and the book under the same name, An Inconvenient Truth, depicts a world where humanity is subjecting the earth beyond its limits. From never ending traffic jams and the amount of carbon emissions released to power plants contributing to pollution. Hurricanes, floods and droughts are also highlighted in the film. Clearly, the Former Vice President of United States besieged an apocalypse on earth through this film. It did spur a conversation around and within climate change as it was labelled the most terrifying film one will ever see. However, what it did not show is the strides nations have adopted in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A message of hope.
The United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have come to play an important role on how companies globally operate. The SDGs are tools every organisation, whether big or small, looks upon to solve global challenges they can be able to tackle. The environment has not been disregarded in this important international plan. Realising we, as human beings, have damaged our ‘blue’ planet in one way or another.
Providing affordable and clean energy through SDG 7, ensuring cities are sustainable through as manifested in SDG 11, being responsible on consumption through SDG 12 and climate action through SDG 13 , conserving what is in the oceans as cited in SDG 14 and on land (SDG 15) are mantles in the SGD where individuals and companies work on when they want to ensure they leave a good carbon footprint on earth. A carbon footprint dictates how an individual or organisation has an effect on the environment, more so through waste production, what they use and consume and how they are making an impact on the negative aspect to the environment.
“There is no ‘Plan B’ because we do not have a ‘Planet B.’ We have to work and galvanize our action.” – UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon
Governments and corporations all across the globe have taken up this mantle through the SDGs tackling the environment. China, a highly populated nation with over 1 billion people have liveable and eco-friendly cities. They have also invested in solar panels to tap the sun’s energy into households and corporations. Sweden has revolutionized waste as they recycle most of waste produced in the country to the level they even import waste from other countries in Europe. Wind turbines are a go for windy states in the Americans, not forgetting tapping on Tidal Waves in a number of developed countries as energy.
Kenya’s investment in Geothermal energy, having the biggest power station in Africa producing 636 Mega Watts with a potential to reach 5000MW. The country has also invested in wind energy on Ngong hills and the Turkana region, not forgetting encouraging households which use more than 100 Litres of hot water per day to install Solar Heater Panels. We cannot leave behind the Plastic Carrier Bag Ban which plays a major role in the citizens’ consumption and production which has been reduced.Corporations in Kenya have also taken up the mantle realising the environment is not separate from their core business. Having green buildings that reduce the amount of electricity used and increase air flow reducing the use of air conditioners is a consideration for most private entities. The use of water among employees as well as diesel and petrol consumption in both motor vehicles and generators. The use and production of paper in companies is also monitored to prevent waste.
Safaricom Limited, for example, has reduced their fuel consumption this year by decreasing generator running time, which has been made possible through several energy-efficiency initiatives, including the installation of Low Voltage Auto-Phase Selectors and 600Ah cyclic batteries at sites, better collaboration with KPLC in resolving power outages at sites, as well as the conversion of 24/7 generator sites to Grid Sites (KPLC). They have also improved on fuel management and helped curb fuel losses and false fuelling.
E-waste generation is a pollution challenge that is building up due to advancements in the technology where new and better improved technological devices and appliances are launched almost every month. Just this year alone, 202 tonnes of e-waste was collected in conjunction with Safaricom’s staff collection campaign. One can read more on their role in curbing climate change through their Sustainable Report released in 2017.
Carbon offset projects are also a major contribution to the environment. Public and private corporations are doing this by planting trees in water towers and deforested regions as forest act as carbon sinks absorbing carbon dioxide that traps heat in the air. Kenya Power and other public entities such as universities have designated areas where they plant trees within the year.
As corporations seek to increase their customer base, they also need to monitor how much waste is produced, the rate of consumption of both renewable and non-renewable resources and not forgetting how they can help reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere. They are part of the global economy and setting the pace in ensuring the effects of climate change, such as floods and drought which have affected the country this year alone, do not affect the future generation, their customers, will lead to a better environment.
Safeguarding the environment is not for environmentalists alone, everyone needs to play a part not just for wild life and all that is encompassed in the ecosystem but for humanity as well. All these belong and coexist as one. Non is separate from the other.
Featured Image © Safaricom Foundation.