The sun continues to scorch more. As has been the case in the recent past, many streams are getting depleted and polluted. Already, we are anxious at prospects of Lake Chilwa drying up. In an effort to curb perpetual hunger, irrigation could become an alternative to rain fed agriculture and yet, sources of water are slowly drying up. We face the breakdown of major systems on our planet; systems that all human beings rely on for basic elements such as food, clean air, and clean water.
For so long, we have believed that more aid is being pumped in to address climate change problems. This appears to have done more damage by pushing us to a comfort zone and consequently, we haven't been aggressive in our efforts towards impact mitigation efforts.
On a sad note and against this hypothesis, recent research by Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) notes that relatively little donor funding is being channeled towards climate change adaptation activities in Africa including Malawi.
This, therefore, demands more local efforts as lesser aid simply worsens the situation. Do we perceive environmental issues as a luxury just as how we have recently ignored other equally critical sectors such as education?
Globally, environmental issues are both political and spiritual concerns. As political issues, much has been done elsewhere. Humans are obliged to act as stewards of nature and expand the concept of political obligations to include obligations to preserve the ecosystem.
Locally, I am yet to demonstrate against wanton cutting down of trees to be organized by concerned citizens. Environmental issues are human rights issues. To what extent have we used the 1996 Environment Management Act?
A critical analysis of the world's major faiths demonstrates a deep advocacy for protecting the environment. Our highly publicized God fearing nation claim therefore does not reflect our actions over environmental protection.
It is a complete fallacy to claim that we are a God fearing nation when our actions show no love for our brothers and sisters whom we believe are destined for same resources. This is total hypocrisy.
Could we do more to preach about loving the young present and future generations? This approach encourages us to protect our resources, care for our health, prevent unnecessary damage to our neigbours, show concern and respect for other creatures, and avoid unnecessary waste.
These teachings can help us find solutions to some of the grave environmental threats that we face today. Missionaries planted trees in their respective parishes. We haven't done much yet. Pentecostal Churches are flourishing and the messages are all about salvation and personal wealth accumulation.
Efforts to address environmental issues are being hampered by population growth, poverty, illiteracy and lack of environmental information and awareness. These are issues which in my view, we could address.
All we need is commitment. In my home village our once mighty mango woodlot has been depleted yet we have tree planting season every year.
It is also easy to propagate mango fruits. Government alone cannot protect our environment. Every citizen should be responsible. Maybe to an extreme, indoctrination through our religious, educational and traditional counseling systems could complement our efforts.
With a population of over 13, million people with each planting a tree annually, we have over 50, million trees in five years. We cannot re-emphasise the benefits of nature to a growing population. It doesn't need each one of us to study environmental science to appreciate the magnitude of the damage we are leaving on earth.
I was shocked to learn from a colleague who works for Forestry department that one opposition parliamentarian had once encouraged her constituents to continue cutting trees for charcoal since the government wasn't doing much for their survival.
The mountain stands bare today. If indeed this is true, you look at such a scenario where even leaders whom we entrust with the country's future can pronounce such statements. Addressing environmental issues is indeed a complex business but we could play a role to mitigate the effects.
The author is a trained librarian and likes to comment on social issues.