Madaraka Day: Rallying for Environmental Liberation

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Kenya celebrates yet another Madaraka Day. As we commemorate 61 years since we attained internal self-rule from the British, we stand at a critical juncture. Our forefathers fought bravely for our nation’s freedom, but today, we face a new and equally daunting battle: the war against pollution, biodiversity loss, climate change and modern day environmental colonialists and homeguards (those Kenyans who enabled the colonialists). Our environment is under relentless attack, not by foreign invaders but from these actors. This is my call, we must channel today the indomitable spirit of our freedom fighters and rise to defend our country with unwavering resolve.

Our fight is not armed with spear and shield, but with knowledge, passion and an unyielding determination to protect our country. Our mission is to preserve Kenya’s natural resources for future generations just like our forefathers did. We must all come to the front lines for this critical battle. Whether government, corporate or individual, both young and old.

Here is a glimpse of what we are fighting.

1. Pollution

Pollution has infiltrated our air, water, and soil, silently wreaking havoc on ecosystems and human health. From toxic emissions from factories to plastic waste choking our rivers, pollution knows no boundaries. This invader must be stopped. Environmental warriors tirelessly raise awareness, advocate for cleaner communities, and work to reduce our carbon footprint. But they cannot do it alone.

The ban on plastic bags in Kenya was a monumental victory, but the fight is far from over. Industrial emissions, improper waste disposal, and rampant urbanization continue to poison our land and water. We need aggressive policies, stricter regulations, and innovative solutions. Every Kenyan must join the fight against pollution – our future depends on it.

2. Biodiversity Loss

Our rich biodiversity is vanishing at an alarming rate. Species extinction rates are accelerating, and entire ecosystems are collapsing. This is a crisis that demands immediate action. Our forests, wetlands, and coral reefs are disappearing, and with them, the delicate balance of our ecosystems. The defenders of biodiversity are on the front lines, fighting to protect endangered species, restore habitats, and promote sustainable practices. Their work is vital, but they need our support.

Kenya’s unique species and ecosystems are irreplaceable treasures. Conservationists are working around the clock to protect them, but they face formidable challenges. Illegal poaching, deforestation, and habitat destruction threaten to wipe out our natural heritage. We must support these efforts with all our might – through advocacy, education, and direct action.

3. Climate Change

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. Rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and melting glaciers threaten our very existence. The situation is dire. Environmental activists are rallying for urgent climate action, urging governments, businesses, and individuals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, transition to renewable energy sources, and adapt to a changing climate.

In Kenya, we are already witnessing the devastating effects of climate change. Prolonged droughts and unpredictable rainfall are crippling our agriculture and water resources. Just this year, we witnessed one of heaviest rainfalls in our modern history with devastating effects on property and claiming hundreds of lives and displacing thousands more across the country. We must act now. Sustainable agricultural practices, reforestation, proper urban planning and the adoption of renewable energy are not just options – they are necessities. We must demand bold and immediate action from our leaders and take personal responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint.

4. The New Colonialists and Homeguards

In this environmental struggle, we face a new breed of colonialists and homeguards. These are not foreign oppressors but individuals and corporations driven by greed and short-term gains. They exploit our natural resources without regard for the consequences, leaving behind scars on the land, poisoned waters and dead bodies. Their actions are a modern-day plunder, with our ecosystems and lives as the victims.

Kenya has seen the devastating effects of illegal logging, overfishing, unsustainable use of water resources, packaging and textiles pollution, industrial pollution of our marine bodies, industrial emissions and land colonialism where some of our most arable lands have been grabbed by a few individuals and corporations who utilize these for horticulture farming largely for export rendering the country food insecure. These practices must be stopped. Environmental defenders expose these injustices and demand accountability, but they need our support. We must stand against these new colonialists and homeguards with the same fervor our forefathers used to fight for our independence. It is a battle for our survival.

Our Collective Responsibility

As citizens of Kenya, we must rise to the occasion this Madaraka Day. We cannot afford to be passive bystanders. Our duty is clear: we must protect our environment, challenge destructive practices, and hold the new colonialists accountable. This is a battle for our very survival, and we must fight it with the same fervor as our forefathers fought for independence.

This Madaraka Day, let us honor the legacy of our freedom fighters by embracing the responsibility to protect our environment. Scientists, activists, policymakers, corporations, and everyday citizens must join hands to defend our country. Let us be the freedom fighters who safeguard the air we breathe, the rivers that sustain us, and the forests that shelter countless species. Together, we can defeat the enemies of our environment and secure a brighter, cleaner future for Kenya.

The time for action is now. Our country is in peril, and we must rise to defend it with all the urgency and passion we can muster. Let us fight for a sustainable future with the same spirit and determination that won us our independence. The future of Kenya depends on it Happy Madaraka Day! END

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Betterman Simidi Musasia

Founder & Patron, Former CEO, Clean Up Kenya

Betterman is a sustainable public sanitation advocate and a pollution control evangelist. In 2015, after becoming extremely tired of seeing all the trash in Kenyan neighborhoods and hearing the authorities fake promises to clear the mess, he sold his trucking business to establish Clean Up Kenya. Today, the organization is a leading national sustainable public sanitation advocacy brand. In September 2020, he stepped down as Clean Up Kenya Chief Executive Officer and currently serves as Founder and Patron.