Lenten Week 1

The village of Tuko was blessed with various types of natural resources, which included fertile soils, gold, oil and natural forests. The village prospered and every member of the community appreciated the God given benefits. There was a special lion, Mteso, who would freely play in the plains, running and jumping with his friends who included giraffes, elephants, hyenas and other animals in the area. Although the village was not a particularly green place, it had many types of trees and plants.

One day, as Mteso was playing with his friends, a big earthmover appeared and started digging out the earth, thus destroying part of the forest and plains. “The humans are building oil wells,” remarked Hare.

Day by day, the men and women cut down the forests, built more and more oil wells, dug open mines in search of gold, destroying the natural vegetation in the process.

Mteso started having fewer and fewer playmates, reduced plains on which to run and fewer forests to live in. He knew that men were the cause of it all.

He sought Hare’s advice on solution to the problem. “The only solution is for the men to stop using petrol and burning charcoal and use renewable energies, such as wind, have sustainable methods of mining…and manage the available resources for the benefit of the present and future generations,” Hare counselled.

The experience forced Tuko villagers to have laws and create awareness to protect the environment and sustainable exploitation of natural resources for the benefit of all.

Situation analysis

Kenya and other countries in the world are currently facing major challenges in regard to environmental management, use of natural resources and sustainability. Climate change, as it has been discovered, is just one of the complex impacts that humans have on the natural environment. The history of humanity is closely linked to benefiting from (or exploiting) the natural environment to improve living conditions. This has changed considerably since the industrial revolution started spreading across the globe.

With growing populations, and an increasingly more intensive and extensive use of natural resources, human activity has immensely transformed the environment and in numerous cases had negative effects, which have reached an unprecedented level.

In every moment of our lives, we use the resources that nature provides. We breathe the air that encircles our earth. We eat plants grown in the soil and other living species. We use vegetation for food, pasture and shelter. We live in houses made from wood that was once trees, brick that was once clay, steel that was once minerals in the earth. We drink water that falls from the heavens and use it to irrigate the land. We use energy from coal and oil, or the sun.

We depend on nature to supply all our basic needs — air, food, water, shelter, warmth, energy — yet few of us consciously acknowledge these gifts or think about the price nature pays for such generosity.

If we are to be a truly sustainable society, we need to understand the impacts our lives have on nature and the resources it provides. We need to make decisions that minimise our impact so that the natural systems we are part of can continue and in turn our own lives.

Recognising that as consumers we have enormous power in deciding how nature is treated is one way to achieve this. Rather than buy something for its image or price, we should ask ourselves: “Was this item produced with respect for the environment, or with minimal impact on the environment?” To answer this question, we need to know more about the production method, we need more information so that we can make informed consumption choices that benefit, not destroy, the resources nature provides.

Despite the fact that we rely on nature to survive, we are doing little to prevent the situation like the one in Tuko village where men and women cut down forests, built more and more oil wells, dug open mines in search of gold, destroying the local nature in the process.

Environmental issues in Kenya include deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, water shortage and degraded water quality, flooding, poaching, and domestic and industrial pollution. In the recent past, we have had increasing cases of poaching and total destruction of natural resources. recent past, we have had is.

Water resources are under pressure from agricultural chemicals and urban and industrial wastes, as well as from use for hydroelectric power. Kenya expects a shortage of water to pose a problem in the coming years. Water-quality problems in lakes, including water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria, have contributed to a substantial decline in fishing output and endangered fish species.

Output from forestry also has declined because of resource degradation. Overexploitation over the past decades has reduced the country’s timber resources by more than one-half. At present only 2% of the land remains forested, and an estimated 50 square kilometres of forest are lost each year. This loss of forest aggravates erosion, the silting of dams and flooding, and the loss of biodiversity. In response to ecological disruption, activists have pressed with some success for policies that encourage sustainable resource use. There is a clear link between deforestation with the plight of rural women, who are forced to spend untold hours in search of scarce firewood and water.

There are a wide variety of wildlife species in Kenya, whose habitats are threatened by encroachment of man and the poachers that live in rural Kenya.

Widespread poverty in many parts of the country has greatly lead to over-exploitation of the limited resources in Kenya. Cutting down of trees to create more land for cultivation, charcoal burning business, quarrying among other social and occupational practices are the major threats of environmental degradation due to poverty in rural Kenya.

There is the risk of seasonal flooding during the winter months, July to late August. In September 2012, thousands of people were displaced in parts of Kenya’s Rift Valley Province as floodwaters submerged houses and schools and destroyed crops. It was especially dangerous as the floods caused latrines to overflow, contaminating numerous water sources. The floods can also cause mudslides and two children were killed in September 2012 following a mudslide in the Baringo District, which also displaced 46 families.1

In conclusion from the above story and situational analysis we can agree that human activity highly contribute towards either sustaining or degrading the environment. It is therefore upon individuals, communities or a country to put in place strategies that will ensure environmental sustainability.

First reading: Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7

Second reading: Romans 5:12-19

Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11

The passing attraction of sinful pleasures is nothing compared with God’s promised rewards. In the readings of today, we see that God created human beings with the sole purpose to make them happy. They had to obey God and maintain the integrity of creation. The biggest temptation to play ‘god’ brought them unhappiness. The first mistake they made was to be separated in their decisions. Adam and Eve were supposed to be united in everything they did. Their fall came because they did not work in unison. In the Gospel, we learn that Jesus conquered every temptation by being obedient to his Father. People destroy nature because of the temptations to wealth, power and glory. We can learn from Jesus how to overcome these temptations.Jesus used the Word of God to fend off temptations.We should read the Bible always to get power to fight temptation

ACT

1. What kind of natural resources have been found in Kenya?

2. What other natural resources are you aware of and found in your locality?

3. How are they contributing to the wellbeing of your community? How do you as a person and Small Christian Community contribute to environmental degradation?

4. What are you doing as an individual, Small Christian Community to preserve and protect the environment?

5. What activities do we carry out that contribute to environmental degradation?

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