Friday 3 February 2012

Does a green economy include you?

By Mubatsi Asinja Habati

As the World Environment Day is to be celebrated in Brazil on June 5 under the theme: Green Economy: Does It Include You? I reflected on the way my country Uganda handles environmental matters. For starters the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines green economy as an economy that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Yet the challenge in Uganda and Africa as a whole is lack of purely independent institutions to execute their work without fear or favour. In this country we have had individuals both poor and rich invading wetlands, forests and river banks with impunity. Very few culprits have been punished. Even then few care about what happens to the environment.

This brings me to these rhetorical questions. So how do you blog about Green economy in a community that does not know what it means; in a community that does not really value the environment; in a community that litters all trash anywhere; in a community that looks at environment as a not sexy issue worth of discussion?

I mean how do you blog about going green to protect the environment when media houses in my community treat it as a not familiar subject, where politicians want wetlands, forests, reduced to investment grounds; where readers don’t want to read about the environment as writers and journalists are very reluctant to write about the environment? Yet these are decisions that can make a significant effect in our lives and on the environment. 

How do blog about green economy when most of your virtual community of readers have no idea what you are talking about; or even when they don’t care? How do you tell someone in Kampala’s Kisenyi or Kamwokya slum about the green economy when they are not certain if they will have a meal in a day; when all they know is living in shanties with overflowing sewage draining in wells where they collect free water; when they cannot send their children to read and write and then perhaps learn to protect the environment; when the community they live in does not inculcate vaules of protecting the environment?

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