Perspective, Stephen Mpofu
OH, what a tragic irony it is that the human race appears headed for self-immolation as well as the destruction of wildlife with eyes wide-open!
This discourse is not a riddle; otherwise why when some countries have started to inoculate citizens with a new vaccine against the Covid-19 pandemic, humanity collectively continues to feed global warming, a virus that has been gnawing at the lives of people long before the Covid-19 pandemic manifested itself last year?
Or are people around the globe sleep walking towards their ultimate demise so that they continue to entice, knowingly or otherwise, the dire effects of global warming on God’s creation?
But, of course, whether some people know it or not, or whether they deliberately close their eyes to the reality, global warming has made and continues to make its indelible footmarks on the globe, witness devastating droughts and floods in Australia and similar phenomena and fires reported in parts of the United States of America, with here at home the droughts that have previously ravaged the country and with more lately Cyclone Idai and the devastating floods it spawned in Manicaland province real eye openers for those affected as well as for the entire village community.
Carbon emissions spewed into the atmosphere do erode the ozone layer, a shield protecting earth from the sun’s destructive ultra violet rays.
To prevent further corrosion of ozone through irresponsible human activities, 196 countries signed the so-called Paris Agreement, in the French capital, on 12 December 2015.
The Paris climate deal pledges to keep global temperatures well above two degrees Celsius or 3,6 F above pre-industrial times preferably to 1,5 degrees Celsius. Under the agreement each country set its own emission targets known as national determined contribution which are reviewed every five years to raise ambition.
But in 2017 America’s new President, Mr Donald Trump, announced his decision to leave the deal, saying that it was unfair to let countries such as India and China continue to use fossil while the US had to curb its carbon, which, like fossil, released toxic emissions into the sky thereby affecting the ozone layer.
Instead of modifying its factory chimneys as required by the Paris Agreement, America’s factories continued to spew toxic gases into the atmosphere with similar dangerous gases being released freely from coal power plants in the country.
But Mr Joe Biden, sworn in recently as America’s new president, has announced that he is taking his country back to the Paris climate deal.
Meanwhile, smaller countries including our own have continued to date in helping to corrode the ozone with their various dangerous activities, such as hunting with fire, wanton destruction of forests for space to build new homes or for firewood to sell by villagers.
Trees play the critical role of absorbing and sinking toxic carbon emissions released into the atmosphere thereby protecting the ozone.
Recurrent droughts that have previously affected Zimbabwe, resulting in famine after crops failed as a result of the heat and livestock died in some areas for lack of water and feed clearly, impel humanity to take serious measures regarding environmental protection and this includes the need to relentlessly fight global warming.
Me thinks, as William Shakespeare would say, bringing the global warming crisis under the auspices of the United Nations Organisation would compel everyone to follow UN measures agreed for the protection of mother earth and in that way prevent willy-nilly decisions, often influenced by selfish spirits of competition. The countries would under such arrangement face collective UN sanctions for reneging on protocols agreed on this matter.
This means that industrial and industrialising countries, including our own, should have their factory chimneys modified to protect against pollution of the atmosphere and a further thinning of ozone.
For instance, in our own country, a reference to the city of Bulawayo by some as “koNtuthu ziyathunqa” — referring to a city where factory and power station chimneys respectively spew toxic smoke into the atmosphere — should be banned as a misnomer since Zimbabweans do not wilfully want to pollute the atmosphere to cause negative life effects. This therefore compels industries, old and new, to move into post-modernity with their factory chimneys modified for other errant industries in the global village to follow our lead.