MARATHON: A RUN TO CURB CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON HUMANITY

Lilian Mukoche
Posted November 26, 2015 from Kenya
Part of Kakamega Forest

Climate Change may seem like something distant and abstract, but it’s very real and it impacts every one of us. Changes in our earth’s climate have a direct impact on what we grow and eat in Africa. Seventy percent of the population lives by farming and a third of the income in Africa is generated by agriculture. Most crops in Africa-over 90 per cent-are primarily watered by rainfall. This makes food crops on our continent vulnerable to health stress from our warming planet and extreme weather events linked to climate change.

Kakamega County is no exception when it comes to feeling the impacts of climate change given the fact that it hosts the famous Kakamega Tropical Rain Forest. The Forest has many local inhabitants who rely on the forest to supply important resources, such as firewood, building poles and traditional medicines. Cattle grazing occur in some of the glades. These activities impact negatively to the forest cover leading to Climate Change.

Due to these impacts, the County Government of Kakamega in partnership with Kakamega Forest Heritage Foundation a charity registered in Kenya with the aim of conserving the forest ecosystem, have plans to conserve the forest through setting up two major funds according to Dr. Johnson Murila the Foundations Chairperson.

He says the Conservation fund aims to actively fund project directly affecting the forest well-being and conservation with main focus centered on forest fencing, reforestation, cultural conservation and heritage documentation while empowerment fund is aimed at empowering the forest communities so as to reduce direct reliance on the forest for sustenance through various targeted interventions such as tourism development, education, Mentorship programs, Security enhancement, Peace building, amongst many others.

Dr. Murila notes that the Kakamega tropical rain forest is the only Guinea Congolian type of rain forest remaining in Kenya today and human encroachment threatens the forest to the verge of extinction and a threat to the climate. This he says led to the Foundation in collaboration with the County Government of Kakamega and other stakeholders come up with a brilliant idea of holding the Kakamega Forest Marathon, an annual initiative whose objective is to conserve the Kakamega Tropical Rain Forest.

This year’s marathon which will be flagged off by his Excellency the Deputy President, William Ruto will be held on the 28th November 2015 within the cool atmosphere of the Kakamega forest ecosystem. The Kakamega Marathon is majorly concentrated on the community around the forest that solely depend on the forest to earn their bread to participate in this event for this is the only way to show their full support in conserving the forest as a way of curbing the harsh impacts of Climate Change for it’s a matter of life and death as the late Wangare Mathai the peace Laureate said.

The Southern part of Kakamega forest, Isecheno Forest station run by the Kenya Forest Service is the most accessible in Tourism. There is a well- known mama mutere tree, a historic tree and the most photographed tree in Kakamega forest, there are also strangler fig trees. There are hiking trails in the forest that allow for forest walking, camping, hiking, primate watching, bird and butterfly watching, game watching and a village walks. This, the foundation chairperson says would not last if the forest continues being encroached.

As Pope Francis puts it in his speech at statehouse during a tour in Africa, Kenya has been blessed not only with immense beauty, in its forests, Savannahs and semi-deserts, but also by an abundance of natural resources. Kenyans have a strong appreciation of these God-given treasures and are known for a culture of conservation too.

He says the grave environmental crisis facing the world demands an ever greater sensitivity to the relationship between human beings and nature and we have a responsibility to pass on the beauty of nature in its integrity to future generations, and an obligation to exercise a just stewardship of the gifts we have received.

Let’s all join hands, lets Restore and Conserve our environment!

Ends….

Comments 5

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Nusrat Ara
Dec 02, 2015
Dec 02, 2015

You have summed it up well 

'Let’s all join hands, lets Restore and Conserve our environment!'

Good to know that Kenyans acknowledge the gifts of nature.

Keep caring and sharing.

Lilian Mukoche
Dec 04, 2015
Dec 04, 2015

Thanks Nusrat! Climate change and environmental issues is my passion and always at my heart.

Would have loved to attend the Paris Climate Change Conference but due to unavoidable circumstances, was not able. I pray to attend next time.

Lilian Mukoche

Lisa Alfano
Dec 08, 2015
Dec 08, 2015

Thanks for this summary and sharing what Kenya is doing to help combat climate change. What do you think about the Paris summit? Did you hear anything that can be carried forth to your country and the conseration work being done in Kenya? Did you follow the climate conference held in January of this year in Lima, Peru? I am curious to hear your thoughts on whether positive movement has occurred this year.

Your writing about the climate-related issues expresses the passion you have for this very important topic. It is imperative that we all view forests as the cornerstone of life. Your writing has me wanting to hear more...such as learning about the impacts to the work you mention to the greater Kenyan population? What have you seen that is a direct result of government and lay people has on climate-change related public policy?

i look forward to reading more of your writings.

Lisa 

Nana Amponsah
Dec 10, 2015
Dec 10, 2015

Dear Mukoche,

Thank you for sharing with us. You have said it all and I love your passion towards curbing the negative impact of climate change on all of us.

Thank you again for sharing with us how Kenya is tackling this major issue we should all be concerned with.

Wishing you all the best.

Phionah Musumba
Dec 12, 2015
Dec 12, 2015

Thanks for such an inspiring read, Mukoche. So refreshing to note such passion for conservation of nature in the motherland. Thanks again.