March 3rd

Today is the last day of March. I saved this blog post for last.I absolutely love 03/03 for 03 reasons:

i. World Wildlife Day

Wildlife is all wild flora (plants) and fauna (animals). If you don’t eat it or pet it, it’s probably wild…:D…

Wildlife is under threat… Population is growing and we need more land for human settlements, farming and industrial activity. Poaching and trafficking in wildlife driven by transnational organized crime groups pose the most immediate threat to many iconic species.  Elephants, pangolins (had to google this- http://savepangolins.org/what-is-a-pangolin/), rhinoceros, sharks, tigers and precious tree species are among the most critically poached and trafficked species across the world (wildlifeday.org). Yet we need those lions, giraffes, monkeys and snakes. In Kenya especially, where wildlife through tourism is a money bringer… Wildlife is the reason why our national parks are popular in the world over. We need wildlife.

3rd March was the day of the signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The theme this year was, ‘The future of wildlife is in our hands’ with a focus on African and Asian elephants. The elephanty theme was, ‘The future of elephants is in our hands’

I’ll sign off this section with a quote on a sticker I had on my door, ‘Only elephants should wear ivory’.

For more information:

Kenya Wildlife Service: http://www.kws.go.ke/

Wildlife Direct: http://wildlifedirect.org/

Wildlife Day: http://www.wildlifeday.org/

 

ii. Africa Day for Environment/ Wangari Maathai Day

This lady, Professor Wangari Muta Maathai… Such an inspiration. My earliest memory of her, was seeing her on TV having her braids pulled out because of a forest. Karura Forest which is one of my favourite hang out places. For some reason, I didn’t think that she was crazy. I never have. I have mad #R.E.S.P.E.C.T for her resilience and fighter spirit. I enjoy the nature because of people like her, who fought for it; who gave a voice to it and who made the rest of us realize that protecting nature is a job, a responsibility. The shoes she left,I must admit, are quite large to fill. I hope and pray that, a few of us hummingbirds will bring our feet together to fill those shoes and continue with the legacy of protecting nature.

For more: http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/node/777

And last but definitely not least… *drumrolls*

 

iii. My Birthday!?!?!?!?!

This year I turned …mumble mumble… I am so grateful to God for another year. Another opportunity to be a steward of nature. Another opportunity to blogess (blog & bless). Another opportunity to learn. Another opportunity to share. Another opportunity to give. Another opportunity to be the best I can be. I am very grateful. 🙂

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Mtaka Yote Hukosa Yote

We are a wasteful society

We have a million wants and less than ten needs

We seek to fulfill our wants

Are we greedy?

Are we?

We want more and more and more

Nothing is ever enough

Yet, the contrasts are stark

 

In a world of abundance

There is so much poverty

Is there a balance in abundance and poverty?

Will there ever be a balance?

Can there be a balance?

We want it all

It doesn’t matter what it takes

It doesn’t matter who suffers

It doesn’t matter how much we destroy

We must get it all

Mtaka Yote Hukosa Yote (He who wants all, loses all)- Swahili Proverb

“May the relationship between man and nature not be driven by greed, to manipulate and exploit, but may the divine harmony between beings and creation be conserved in the logic of respect and care.”—Pope Francis to the General audience at Vatican City onApril 22nd, 2015

 

 

 

Water and Jobs

‘World Water Day is an annual event celebrated on March 22. The day focuses attention on the importance of freshwater and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. The first World Water Day was held in 1993. Each year focuses on a different issue.’

The theme this year is ‘ Water and Jobs’- Better Water, Better Jobs. For some reason that theme didn’t make sense to me until I had an interesting conversation with a banker about a month ago. My account had been declared dormant and efforts to reactivate it seemed futile. I don’t know if it’s because they consider the account hopeless…They need to have a little faith :/ … I digress…

So, I went to my branch to reactivate my account. The lady at the customer care desk asked me whether I had been out of the country thus the state. I said no. She says, ‘So you’ve been in the country all along?’ Mentally rolling my eyes, I said, ‘Yes’. ‘So where do you work?’ ‘I’m a student. Oh, I’m sorry, I assume everyone is working. It’s fine. So what are you studying?  Integrated Watershed Management. Sorry what?  Integrated Watershed Management. *blank look*. Do you know what a watershed is? NO. So I explain to her what a watershed is. With genuine concern on her face she asks me, ‘Will you get a job when you’re done?’ So I laugh and ask her… Do you know where the water in your tap comes from? No. I’ve never thought about it…

I was very very very surprised that people do not know where their water comes from… I’ll have to write about that someday soon.

To all the people who work in the water sector, the engineers, watershed managers, water quality experts, water flow experts, water and hygiene, hydrologists, groundwater experts, researchers, lecturers, community water and sanitation workers… #R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

For more on this day: http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday

Forests

A forest is a vast expanse covered by trees (Old English Definition).

I love trees. I love walking through forests. The cool, fresh air… The leaves rustling in the wind…The filter of sunlight through the trees…The crunch of the leaves as you walk… Beautiful. I feel like the trees have souls, like Grandmother Willow in Pocahontas and Ents (Treebeard) in Lord of the Rings.

In reality, forests do a whole lot for us earthlings. I agree with WWF who say, ‘It is not possible to sum up the importance of forests in just a few words’. But…I’ll try share as much as I can:

i. They act as carbon sinks. This means that they absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This greatly helps in controlling climate through cooling the atmosphere and reducing global warming.

ii. They are a VITAL watershed. Because of the thick humus layer, loose soil, and soil retaining powers of the trees’ long roots, forests are vitally important for preserving adequate water supplies through recharging aquifers (groundwater). Almost all water ultimately feeds from forest rivers and lakes and from forest-derived water tables (infoplease.com).

iii. They act as a filter for water through soil erosion prevention

iv. Are a habitat to wildlife and a few people (yes, we have people who live in forests)

v. They are of great economic importance. They provide timber and raw material for making paper. Which reminds me, when buying paper ensure that it is FSC accredited.

vi. We get food, fruits and medicinal herbs in forests.

vii. Forests provide employment…Through tourism, manufacturing (paper and timber)

viii. They act as a natural sound buffer… True story…

ix. They help us relax… Another true story…

Yet we have forgotten about them.

As we celebrate International Day of Forests today…A special shout out to all the protectors of forests and especially Kenya Forest Service locally and to all the forests: Kakamega Forest, Arabuko Sokoke, Dakacha Woodlands, Mt. Kenya Forest, Boni Forest, Ngong’ Forest and not forgetting the forest that Wangari Maathai fought for, Karura Forest.

For more on this day: http://www.un.org/en/events/forestsday/

 

Parity

In the next 11 minutes, International Women’s Day will be over. This year’s theme is ‘Pledge for Parity’. I had no idea what parity meant, let alone that such a word existed. I’ve just found out that it means, ‘equalness’ ‘sameness’

In my world, ‘the water world’, this for a long time barely existed. The  women interacted most with water, but had the least influence as to how it would be managed and how it’s infrastructure would be developed. Then entered the ‘hero’, the Dublin Principles (more about these in a different post…COMING SOON to screens near you…:D). The 3rd principle states that,  ‘Women play a central part in the provision, management and safeguarding of water’. That statement, recognizes that women play a major role in water management. Which means that, they should have equal opportunities in the management of water and in the decisions that influence the utilisation of water.

So how I’m I contributing towards parity as an individual?

I am increasing my knowledge on water management so that I can participate in the management of water, from the planning to the implementation of policies. I am aware that this is a male dominated field but opportunity has presented itself and so I have grabbed it and will make the best of it through making my world a better place.

Today, I celebrate women who’ve gone before me and have beaten the odds to be the best in their fields. I celebrate the late Prof. Wangari Maathai, I celebrate President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, I celebrate Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I celebrate Miriam Makeba.

I celebrate my mother, I celebrate my sisters, I celebrate the women in rural Kenya who walk for ages just to get some water for their families, I celebrate each and every woman who will read this post.

Happy Women’s Day!