Seedling 2

Climate change is a constant change in the statistical properties of the climate of a place when it persists over a long period. According to UNEP Information Unit for climate change, Kenya, like all the countries in Africa, has been experiencing an extreme level of climate change in the past few decades. Some of these changes can be attributed to the following factors:

  • The greenhouse gas effect, the Kenyan metrological department has reported that there has been a steady increase in the production of greenhouse gases in the country. The presence of gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere greatly affects the climate of any given place. Global temperatures have risen above 4.5 degrees Celsius in less than 200 years since the industrial revolution started emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. There are upcoming industries that have increased the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. Activities such as charcoal burning are also contributing to the increased greenhouse gas emissions in the country.
  • Increased deforestation rates, between 1990 and 2005 Kenya lost more than 5% of its forest coverage to deforestation. The alarming deforestation rates can be attributed to logging to create timber and firewood for domestic use and also for charcoal burning. Some of the forests that are slowly disappearing include; Mt. Kenya, Mt Elgon, Mau Forest, The Aberdare, The Ngong Water Tower. Forest is known to reduce carbon emissions released into the atmosphere by absorbing the carbon dioxide and replacing it with oxygen. Trees are also known to be great when it comes to changing the microclimate in the areas around them. They are part of the water cycle, and the water which they pull from the ground is lost into the atmosphere. This water condenses and falls as rainfall.

Climate change has affected Kenya in so many different ways that everyone is feeling its pinch. Kenya has been known for many decades for its abundance of wild animals which are a major attraction for tourists coming from all over the world. However, climate change has changed the ecosystem in the wilderness, the herbivores and small prey for the carnivores have led to their decline. As a result, the wild animals are not pulling as much in numbers as they used to before.

Another unforeseen effect that has resulted from the unpredictable climate in the country is the displacement of people. In the past, floods and extreme dryness were rare. However, in 2018 alone, more than 260,000 people have been displaced by the floods, and the other 100 have died as a result of the effect of the flood. According to the Kenya Red Cross chairman, the unpredictable weather patterns have brought more tragedy in the country because the same people that the organization supported throughout the drought season are the same people that have been affected by floods.

Disease outbreak is another problem that has been brought about by climate change. These outbreaks are massively destructive because they affect those that have already been affected by floods and cannot access hygienic cooking environments or quality health care.

Kenya is a predominately agricultural economy. Most people in rural areas depend on the rains to nourish their crops and when the season becomes unpredictable, it means the farmers will not produce as much as they used to. This trend has led to the current food insecurity crisis in the country. As result, communities that never used to rely on government and donor aid for food have become more dependent, stretching the government resources and forcing the donors to double their efforts in looking for aid.

Kenyans need to realize is that the effects of environmental degradation that has happened in the past six decades cannot be mitigated overnight. However, it is good to start the journey towards healing the environment. The government needs to lead the way in showing people the damage that has happened, and there is a need to stop turning all issues affecting the country into a political and tribal contest.


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