• The effects of climate change have been particularly severe in the Global South
• Populations and communities are facing an existential crisis.
Nairobi’s Kilimani neighborhood has been facing significant environmental degradation due to the rapid change of land use policies in the past decade.
Recent statistics show the area has lost over 50 per cent of its tree cover in the last 10 years.
Th one example of the impact that change in land use policy is having on communities. Globally, the loss of green cover through deforestation and urbanisation has had significant and far-reaching effects on the world's environment, economy, and communities.
The effects of climate change have been particularly severe in the Global South, which includes many developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Some of the impacts of climate change in the Global South are increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, reduced agricultural productivity, water scarcity, increased health risks, and displacement and migration. Overall, the impacts of climate change in the Global South are severe and are exacerbating existing challenges related to poverty, food insecurity, and health.
Populations and communities are facing an existential crisis. There is a need for a concerted effort, the world over, to continue to tackle the threat of climate change and its devastating effects on communities.
Despite the grim statistics, there is hope for Kilimani and other communities facing similar challenges. By initiating best practice around issues of environmental sustainability, communities can play a critical role in promoting a more sustainable future.
They can do this by reducing carbon footprints, managing waste, conserving natural resources, promoting water conservation, and advocating for policy changes.
One of the most significant contributors to climate change is greenhouse gas emissions. Communities can play a crucial role in reducing their carbon footprint by promoting energy-efficient practices, adopting renewable energy sources, and encouraging sustainable transportation options. For example, residents of Kilimani and other neighbourhoods could promote walking, cycling, and public transit instead of driving. Additionally, they could use renewable energy sources such as solar power.
Proper waste management is another essential aspect of environmental sustainability. Communities can promote recycling, composting, and reducing waste generation to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and prevent pollution of natural resources.
On the other hand, communities can work to conserve natural resources by promoting sustainable land use practices, protecting biodiversity, and preserving natural habitats.
Water is a vital resource, and communities can focus on promoting water conservation practices such as reducing water usage, promoting rainwater harvesting, and adopting water-efficient technologies. Residents and businesses could consider implementing water-efficient technologies in buildings or promoting rainwater harvesting practices to ensure availability of clean and safe water for all.
Communities can also advocate for policy change at the local and national levels to promote environmental sustainability. This can include promoting sustainable development practices, supporting renewable energy initiatives, and advocating for stronger environmental regulations. Communities should continue to work with local officials to promote policy changes that support sustainable development and renewable energy initiatives.
By focusing on the frameworks provided by SDG 13 (Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts), and other global and local environmental efforts, communities can create a more sustainable future.
A model that many communities can borrow from has been created by the Kilimani community, where the residents have over the past few years organised to tackle issues of climate change through tree planting, dubbed Greening Kilimani; running initiatives around solid waste management (Kilicycle); and promoting sustainable land use practices, such as community gardens or green spaces, to preserve natural habitats and promote biodiversity, as a way of mitigating the effects of climate change and promoting environmental sustainability.
Residents have also continued to advocate and lobby for sustainable land use policies that ensure upcoming developments do not threaten the environment, infrastructure and quality of life of the community.
The writer is the executive director of the Kilimani Project Foundation. [email protected]