Unelker Maoga, an Undegraduate Student in SBS Attends the 12th International Conference on Sustainable Regions in Canary Islands in Spain

Date and time: 
Wed, 07/18/2018 - 09:15

Unelker Maoga, an Undergraduate Student in SBS, and a Member of Green Belt Movement

The School of Biological Sciences (SBS) left a mark when one of their own, Unelker Maoga, an undergraduate student represented the school for the 12th International Conference on Sustainable Regions in the Canary Islands in Spain. The conference which was held from May 14th to 18th 2018 attracted participants across the world. In her speech, entitled “The Fight for a Sustainable Climate” Ms Maoga spoke about the issue of climate change, its impacts in Africa and the various grassroots projects that citizens in Kenya are taking up as they advocate and help mitigate the effects of a changing climate. Ms. Maoga further illustrated that majority of the environmental challenges we face currently are local and the convenience of local challenges is that they can be addressed at the community or in some cases, at the national level. She further stated that “It is known that sustainability is easily achieved in smaller associations. With the emergence of the industrial revolution, however, it has become abundantly clear that some environmental challenges are not regional but global, and the climate crisis is one such challenge”.


Speaking about the Green Belt Movement, Maoga intimated that the Green Belt Movement was founded by the late Professor Wangari Maathai. The first woman to receive a PhD in East and Central Africa and the first African woman to receive a Nobel Peace Prize for her bold decision to protect the environment at all costs to herself.


Wangari’s Maathai story as an environmentalist begun when women from her home region reported a troubling phenomenon; their stream was drying up and the women had to walk further and further to collect firewood. As a biologist, she began to understand the interconnectedness between the environment and the people; that even the presence of tadpoles in a river were indicators of fresh, clean water and that their disappearance was as a result of pollution and degradation. She recognized the need for sustainable regions and also begun to understand how crucial environmental sustainability was to the survival of indigenous communities. Wangari Maathai founded the green belt movement in 1997 with the aim of planting trees to prevent environmental and social conditions from deteriorating and damaging the lives of improvised people and families in rural Kenya who depended on natural resources such as water from rivers and wood fuel from forests, for their livelihoods.


A couple of years into the future and today we now have the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Goals whose aim is to ensure that we meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The challenge, however, is that sustainability, like the climate crisis is oftentimes inconvenient. For about 200 years climate scientists have raised alarm about the consequences of human-induced climate change and despite ringing alarm bells majority of the regions of the world continue to live in a business as usual trajectory. Sometimes it seems as if the 2030 agenda on sustainable development could be slipping right through our fingers. Global carbon emissions are still on the rise.


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Expiry Date: 
Wed, 07/18/2018 - 09:15

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