By Go Zim
The world observed Environment Day on Friday 5 June. The commemorations were held amidst a global crisis – the novel coronavirus and racism, exacerbated by the cold blood murder of George Floyd in the USA. With these two hogging the media, Environment Day literally went unnoticed.
This year’s commemorations ran under the theme ‘Biodiversity, which the United Nations (UN) described both as urgent and existential, underlining the importance of environmental issues to the human race.
In the past few decades, the world has witnessed a rise in natural disasters, a phenomenon which many attributes to the rise in environmental degradation. Last year, Zimbabwe witnessed the most devastating natural disaster in history, when Cyclone Idai ravaged the parts of Manicaland, leaving an unfathomable scar to the country.
The destruction was also felt in Malawi and Mozambique. Natural disasters have become ‘normal’ in other regions of the world but these can be rectified.
Nature is speaking to us and we seem not to notice. It is like a child crying for help, making irritating noise in the middle of the night so that those who are able can wake up and help.
It is time to wake up. It is time people know that the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink comes from the environment.
There is a need for proper education on environmental issues. There is a sense of entitlement by humans wherever they are, such that they wantonly destroy the environment and kill whatever is around for selfish interests.
Youths, to whom the world belongs, must take environmental issues seriously. The future is in youths’ hands and they must safeguard it by protecting the environment.
Governments must also be seen to be serious about environmental issues. The provision of clean water, for example, is largely dependent on environmental issues.
Harare, for example, spends a lot of money on water treatment chemicals because of environmental issues. There is a lot of pollution upstream as well as massive and illegal occupation of wetlands. All these must be enforced through relevant government departments such as the Ministry of Environment and the Environmental Management Agency. Hefty fines and or imprisonment must be enforced on people or institutions destroying the environment.
The human race relies on other living and non -living matter for survival.
It is an ecosystem, meaning without one, the other’s chance of survival is limited. This is the reason why the UN described this year’s commemorations as urgent and existential. It is time we rise up as a race, just like we have risen up against coronavirus and racism. This time for the environment.