Friday 18 June 2021
  • :
  • :

Destroying tropical forests in the age of environmental breakdown

Shinovene Immanuel reported in the NAMIBIAN of Tuesday, 12 February 2019, that government has received applications from individuals who want to cut down 195 550 trees in north-eastern Namibia in five years.
These are natural trees which form a common heritage of our country.
The Minister of Environment did not deny or dismiss the report on which the journalist based his story.
This means that this disturbing story is true. Environmental awareness has not been a priority of our government despite the fact that our Constitution mandates that the government must protect the environment and ensure the maintenance of ecological and biological diversity.
Experts are warning our leaders and policy makers to pay more attention to environmental issues in order to protect Mother Earth.
The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) in Britain recently published a report titled, “… Facing Up to the Age of Environmental Breakdown”.
The report states that human impacts on the environment have reached a critical stage potentially eroding the conditions upon which socio-economic stability is possible.
The researchers who wrote the report found that the global natural systems are undergoing destabilisation at an unpresented scale and speed.
More than 75 percent of the Earth’s land is degraded. Since 1950, the number of floods across the world increased 15 times. The topsoil is now lost 10 to 40 times than it is replenished.
The consequences of the age of environmental breakdown on societies and economies are more serious than is currently being recognised.
Destabilisation from extreme weather to soil infertility is real. The risk of the collapse of key social and economic systems is real. Yet, societies around the world are not adequately prepared to manage this risk. The report concluded that response to the age of environmental breakdown may be the greatest challenge that humans have faced in their history. The researchers called for transformational response to this risk.
The shifts in understanding across political and policy communities are required.
Policy makers should ensure increased levels of resilience to the impact of environmental breakdown covering all areas of society including infrastructure, markets, political processes, social cohesion and global competition.
Environmental breakdown is likely to affect the poorest who are most vulnerable to its effect but least responsible for the problem. Countries like Namibia are well advised to pay more attention to climate change and its impact on the most vulnerable.
In particular, the youth who represent the future must take the environmental issues seriously. In Sweden a 16 year- old Greta Thunberg has started a powerful movement mobilising young people to be climate change activists.
In 2018 Sweden experienced drought, heatwaves and wildfires. This experience triggered Greta Thunberg to start the first school strike for climate.
She skipped school and demonstrated instead outside the Swedish parliament building to draw the attention of lawmakers to the issue of climate change and global warming.
She has galvanised other school children in many countries to organise school strikes to force policy- makers to understand that climate change as a new domain of risk to the future of humanity.
Namibia is vulnerable to climate change.
Our ecology is fragile. Though high levels of poverty are forcing our people to engage in actions which are likely to lead to environmental breakdown, policy makers and political leaders should create awareness among our people that protection of environment is a constitutional mandated.
The Constitution mandates that that the utilisation of living natural resources must be on sustainable basis.
The living natural resources should not only benefit the current generations but the future generations too. If harvesting of tropical forest was going to be permitted it must be done on sustainable basis.
This implies that those who are seeking permission to harvest the trees they never planted must demonstrate that they shall plant equal number of trees they are applying to cut down.
Tree planting must be part of any policy of tree harvesting.
In addition, logs should not be sold raw for export. Buyers of such logs should put up factories in Namibia for local job creation.
Our school children have no desks and chairs in their classrooms, but their parents are eager to export logs to foreign countries for pittance. This should not be entertained.
The Ministers of Environment and Agriculture and Forestry should develop a resilient policy on the protection of bio-diversity within the frame-work of the Constitutional mandate on environment.
The activities of people like Greta Thunberg should inspire our school children to protect the environment.
Their future is being compromised by few greedy individuals who intent to destroy the environment by cutting down the trees they never planted.
The exporters too should be called to order.
The other day it was the poaching of wild life. Now these greedy exporters are encouraging the destruction of natural forest.
Our Constitution should be respected, and the environment must be protected.
The risk of environmental breakdown is greater in our country than elsewhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *