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Fri, 06 Dec 2019 03:49 GMT

Abiy Ahmed’s Green Campaign


Fitsum Getachew

Wed, 17 Jul 2019 09:17 GMT

The issue of the environment is clearly the most urgent and compelling issue for humanity that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. For years man has abused his environment without any restraint and limits and the result is what practically every scientist has now agreed upon: a real threat of extinction if things continue with the current trend. This is why leaders of the world have been campaigning to harness all the resources and commitments necessary to reverse this course.  

They argue that climate change is not a hoax and it would be suicidal to deny the evidence and continue using old policies. There have been attempts, especially among the industrialised nations to minimise the threat but somehow still proceed with their old tendencies. Scientists and researchers have already warned that we are heading for a point of no return. We may not even have time to regret our decisions.

Several conferences and discussions have been organised on a universal level to create awareness on the dangers: overheating, extinction of certain natural habitats, rising water levels and irreparable damage caused by man-made activities.

Finally, the Paris Agreement on the Environment was signed on 12 December 2015 after several and strenuous efforts between nearly every nation on earth. There has been a lot of talk about the formation of a green resilient economy, assisting poor countries cope with the changes and trying to reduce the global temperature to pre-industrial era.

Incidentally, not all nations have conformed to the limits imposed by the Paris Agreement and what is even worse, the US under Trump's administration pulled out of the accord in 2017 on the grounds that ‘it does not do good to the interests of the USA!’ The move was criticised by many and some have even condemned it.

With the exit of the US from the Paris Agreement many have said that the accord itself loses most of its efficiency and value. Among the major actors in contributing to the damage are the two largest economies namely the US and China.

However, environmentalists even in the USA have stood contrary to the Trump policy and have reiterated that they will not back down from the agreement. Many argue that the president did that just to fulfil his campaign promises but he is running the risk of isolation. None of the big countries of the globe have approved of this act. Many Americans have protested openly condemning the move.

In the meantime, things seem to go from bad to worse for the climate. Even the application of the current agreement does not seem to suffice to reverse the negative effects. There is a need for more vigorous and aggressive moves, scientists urge. Time is running out. Meanwhile, more and more climatic aberrations are being recorded and more damages registered.

Some nations have been suffering excessive rain while others have submitted to excessive heat and droughts. Forests have been caught in wild fires devastating entire regions. Some of the icebergs in the north have been slowly melting down resulting in rising waters. It is not unusual to hear stories of disasters across several parts of the earth directly attributable to these variations.

But of all countries that have been deeply and may be devastatingly affected by this phenomenon are the poorer countries in Africa. These do not even have the economic means to cope with the challenges. In recent years, many of them have suffered periodic and continuous drought and their agricultural systems have been severely affected.

Ethiopia has now been on this list for decades. Periodic drought has meant that millions of farmers who rely on rain fed subsistence farming are affected. These people have been particularly vulnerable to these effects because they have less resource to face the scarcities. Irrigation is largely out of their reach with the government not availing the facilities. The imperative of millions is hence to depend on humanitarian assistance.

What is even worse are the cases of excessive rain of late that have affected several east and southern African nations: Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania having suffered heavy losses. The more prosperous countries have early warning systems and know how to avoid the worst scenarios. They evacuate and move hundreds of thousands of citizens to safer areas; something unthinkable in poor nations!

But all this is evident enough to advise us to use natural resources with care and caution. Even the Pope has been urging people to be more considerate with the environment.

One of the means to contribute to this effort of conserving nature is avoiding deforestation and engaging in reforestation.

The Ethiopian government is aggressively working to this end with the premier standing as a true champion of forestation. He has devised a plan of taking advantage of the current rainy season in the country, beginning May up to September, to plant four billion tree seedlings! For a number of weeks now and on a daily basis, the premier, is seen engaged in planting tree seedlings wherever he goes. This is exemplary.

He has mentioned in parliament that July 29, 2019 will be the apex of this huge campaign. On that day, a record 220 million tree seedlings will be planted. Already feverish preparations are underway with holes being dug and thousands of people mobilised for this massively symbolic event. Ads and promos are running continuously via state media and planning arrangements are at peak levels. This we believe is an example to be followed by all nations in the world. Only by working in unison can we save the planet. To do it we need the political will and in our case it appears that the premier himself is at the forefront. Now what should follow is in fact the nurturing of all the planted tree seedlings.

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