Wednesday, 22 February 2012

John Michuki: Businessman and politician who fought for the environment

John Njoroge Michuki, (December 1932 – February 21, 2012) was not only a business man and a politician, he was an environmentalist.

He fought hard for the conservation of the environment since his appointed as an Environment and Mineral resources minister in the Mwai Kibaki government on April 13, 2008.

While working in Nairobi then as a journalist, this was one of the most memorable news events I covered where he spoke on the need of conserving the environment for the future generations.

“The forest is running away, its getting further and further away. Have you noticed the trees in Kenya are also running away? It is like they are sensing our movements and they run away,” Chanuka Express actor’s voices echoed humorously amongst the crowd.

What seemed laughable to many was a premonition for a bleak future. The minister for Environment and Mineral Resources, John Michuki, emphasized that environment is the fabric of our existence and represents the physical space we use for our surroundings. It comprises of life support systems: forests, wetlands, rivers, seas and oceans and carries incredibly diverse landscapes.

“Environment represents all the elements of life. Indeed it is the totality of creation,” he said.

Unfortunately, our human distortions have created disharmony and perilous conditions that undermine our very survival. A call for action is now. We must do all we can to retrace our steps and protect the life support systems.

Destruction of the environment is largely a result of lack of awareness of the impact of human attitude, behavior and activities on the environment. Restoring degraded forests and water catchment’s areas through rehabilitation efforts to prevent further excisions that have led to increased deforestation whose consequences are being felt. For instance, River Njoro, which drains into Lake Nakuru, was a perennial river. Now, it has become a seasonal river. The water level in the boreholes of Egerton University has dropped significantly over the last few years, making some of these boreholes unusable. “These are preliminary signs. The full consequences of these excisions are not known,” the PM Raila Odinga, noted during the Mau stakeholders meeting.

In order to preserve and conserve the environment for posterity while utilizing and benefiting from the resources, we need to put in place lessening measures, environmental awareness and education are, therefore an important component of environmental management program.

The launch of the National Environmental Education and Awareness Initiative (EEAI) by the Ministry of Environment and Mineral resources a last year was a milestone in the evolution of the country’s environment agenda.
The initiative under the banner:  “conserve our environment – promote partnerships for a clean, healthy and secure environment for improved livelihoods and sustainable development” to mobilize the public, the Kenyan people and all stakeholders to actively participate in environmental conservation and restoration.

The minister of environment and mineral resources, John Michuki, emphasized that, everyone in Kenya must become familiar with the Environmental management and Coordination Act (EMCA). This is the operational law for environmental governance in Kenya supported by the Environment policy.  This is articulated in the draft sessional paper No. 6 of 1999 to integrate environmental issues.

For this reason, to secure the stability of our environment remains essential to sustainable development to achieve the vision 2030 blue print.  “Hard political decisions will be necessary for environmental restoration programme,” Mr. Michuki noted.

In order to conserve the environment, Kenyans are urged to adopt the Lean Development mechanisms (CDMs). This can be achieved through proper waste management, recycling, including use of renewable energy sources. The country will also seek to take advantage of emerging carbon markets to improve the low forest cover.

Sustainable land use meets today’s and future needs, but a community that destroys its natural resources forfeits its future. Consequently, environmental and sustainability education ca only be achieved if educators take leadership role, breaking new ground to prepare society for an age of accelerating change in a world of increasingly diverse and growing populations, an expanding economy and changing global environment.

Education is generally agreed to be the most effective way to impart knowledge and skills that can be applied outside the classroom in everyday life. The desired outcome is informed citizens who are prepared to participate responsibly in a sustainable society. It is believed that an acceptable quality of life is dependent on the wise use of the environment, which is a belief that should be enacted through sustainable environmental education programmes.
 Environmentalist’s note that, issues that concerned the environment was about knowledge, science and opportunities to do things differently.

United Nations Environmental Programme representative, Achim Steiner, in an interview during the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) member’s convention said that Kenya had to look at what to adapt in the global dynamics. He proposed three levels:

One, the government should develop new infrastructure from the climate change perspective. Secondly, create better conditions by maintaining key systems; this is by making resilient ecosystems to cope with the change. He cited the wetlands, glaciers and the mountains as areas that were vulnerable and need to be protected.
Thirdly, the country to invest in renewable energy, adding that it is only in Africa where the sun shines always and need to factor in the aspect.

“The sun shines nowhere better than Africa, solar energy, geothermal and hydroelectric energy has been proved to work, these frontiers are a better investment,” he said.

The Director General for Conservation Union (IUCN), Julia Marton and Steiner, also noted that, the country could use its intelligence to effectively conserve its environment, adding that, we can be more resilient to adapt to climate change, by building capacity for the generation and use of realistic regional climate change scenarios that will enable the region to formulate appropriate adaptation strategies and policies to build resilience of communities to cope with the impacts.
She also emphasized that climate change was real but with proper mechanisms in place we could prevent a little bit.

“Climate change it is real, it is coming but we can mitigate a little of its effects,” she said.

The steps we take today will be an important step in making real progress on addressing national loss of land the degradation of the environment.       
This is not always easy but saving the environment is critical so that we can pass on a rich heritage to children and their children. It is a complex issue and it is one which all of us must work together in a mutual and cooperative way to understand how best to give value to the environment,  to the forests and to all other aspects of the environment so that it can be preserved.

As Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources, he initiated diverse programmes and projects among them being the Nairobi River's Rehabilitation and Restoration Programme, the reclamation of the Kenya's five water towers (the Mau Forest Complex, Mount Kenya, Aberdare Range, Mount Elgon and Cherangany Hills).

He was honoured with a UNEP Award for his clean-up of the Nairobi River and the city.Michuki is the force behind the enactment of a new mining act to regulate environmental degradation and mining.

He also took key leadership role in addressing Africa's position towards the Climate Change conference in Copenhagen (December 2009) and served as the Co-Chair of International Environmental Governance (IEG).

Michuki led the Kenya delegation to the Durban Environmental Conference in South Africa on 28 November-9 December 2011 where he stated Kenya's determination to reduce the menace of global warming and called on the world's wealthy nations to assist the poor ones to mitigate the devastation of climate change.

This turned out to be the Minister's last official assignment, having missed the 12th Special Session of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Governing Council Global Ministerial Forum held in Nairobi on 20 February 2012.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

What a child believes about their capabilities has a strong bearing on what they will actually achieve.

"A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has it’s place." - Ghana, Akan

Having been brought up in the village before, I was introduced to the globalized world, much has changed now.  

A village that used to have many trees now has been replaced with farmland, it has electric poles, yes, there is light in different homes.

The market center has also changed; one can spot a village pub which never used to be there.

This is a small example, but I find it sad how things have greatly changed. Many of my grandparents from the extended family are no more, most of my cousins, aunts; uncles whom I used to grow up among them, some I have never seen to date, the only way I can manage to talk to them is through social media (face book and twitter).
Some have children of their own (I am yet to have one).

I feel sad about this feeling; life is no longer the way it used to be. Thank God, I was grateful to have lived with my grand motherNow with my grandpa and his brother together with my dad, they have taught me the value of living with a family that is united.

My dad in blue, grandpa in the middle and his brother, had gone to visit him.
This justifies that, every society creates certain expectations for its children, and this affects the kinds of educational opportunities and careers they aspire towards. Crucially, study after study has shown that these ambitions really matter. What a child believes about their capabilities has a strong bearing on what they will actually achieve.

Most of the elderly are dying not because of ill health, but because God granted them blessings to live this far to see us grow, have families and to also see their grand and great grand children.

With so much happening, the new generation, for me I can trace it to the fourth, I live in the fifth generation, a generation that is greatly being influences with globalization. Change that to me seems to be changing the way we have lived with each other, a generation that is almost losing touch with its own language.

May be, it’s time we all gathered and Listened to our parents when they want to share their history!  Life is about trusting our feelings and taking chances, losing and finding happiness, appreciating the memories and learning from the past. I have a Papa to look upon always

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Change is the mission of the youth.

As Generation Comes And Goes... You Gatta Make Preparation For The Youths Them A Grow.. Its What You Reap Its Wat U Sow ..The Youths Them Have A Life In The Future So When Thats Then You Know..If Education Is The Key..Then Tell Me Why The People Have To Make It So Expensive For We... Give Them The Key Oh Set Them Free Eeeeeeeeee... _ Richie Spice

We live in a generation where everyone wants change. Change is the mission of the youth. They are full of new ideas for the better society.

Youth are taxpayers and debt payers at the same time. They pay debts which even were debited before their existence on earth planet. They are the majority voters with minimal representation in parliament, councils and in formal business ownerships. Still they are the catalyst for change! They are engine for change in politics, economy, social, governance, peace and security.

With all these obstacles, there is still a big hope; the role of the youth in any society is a specific hope and a basic step for the transforming society. Over the history, world transformations have been brought into being by the youth themselves.
Youth must struggle through the few available opportunities to show they can do by taking part in budgetary system to make sure that planned budget meets their demand and to stay updated on going activities.

Against this back drop, as Africa celebrates its day under the theme, “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”, the UN secretary General still reiterates that:  “Empowering youth is essential for sustainable economic growth and sustainable management of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; the clear challenge for many countries now is to pay just as much attention to sustainable political progress.”

The only way this can be achieved is formulating policies that must in a way reflect youth’s demands and interests.
Youth have to make sure they involve themselves in policy making platforms for their views to be heard and included. They have to follow up and make sure implementation takes place in accordance to the budget. If youths’ demands are given a considerable attention, they will in any way bring about desired socio-political transformation.

Self reliance is vital for positive transformation. Doing things in our style, wish, way and in our own abilities, without any external forces will direct us to better transformation.

, “The most important is to change the mindset of the youth. For youth empowerment, we do not a political solution but rather change of mind set.”

Youth’s role is to build the better and very good infrastructure for their business and the society at large. Therefore motivation to work hand in hand is important.

Today, we are faced with the credit crunch; this is the great opportunity for Kenyan youths. At times like these, this is the blessing for Kenya

The youth should need to be informed that catastrophes facing them must be turned into a great opportunity. When Kenya and the world at large is facing HIV/AIDS pandemic, it should be turned into a blessing that all Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centers (VCTs) must be set in bigger area where youth can meet to learn and acquire new skills instead of simply testing to maximize fear over their life span.

Economic policies should go in accordance with youth’s abilities aiming at helping them to do something, somewhere. Small petty traders are to be guided instead of being banned.  Effective uses of our resources especially time resource is fundamental for transformation.

It is said that education is key which unlocks life, as prayer unlocks the kingdom of heaven. Everything we do, we know and we talk, we were taught in different forms. It is an important role of the youths to acquire, preserve, use and disseminate education as the source raising the educated society.

 With the efforts of the youth, we shall end the system of producing scholars who study for passing exams, who seeks for leakages and fakes certificate plus ready to offer bribe. Talents must be emphasized and developed while self awareness education shall be available to fellow youth. For the educated few, will have to disseminate what they know to uneducated ones.

 Urban youth has the role of teaching what they know to the village ones and the villagers as well. Learning of experiences should be two ways traffic. Instead of reading ideas in the books, the new ideas must be developed. Reading and questioning must be advanced for more skills development for more self reliant generation, people who can produce themselves instead of job seekers.        
 Youth have to establish and supervise public educations through formal and informal gatherings. Basic education on good diet, best agricultural methods and morals can be transformed from one youth to the other through formal and informal gatherings, media, and families among others whereby this mode of education will enable more dissemination of knowledge by sharing what we have at lowered costs.

Youth ought to enforce education policies to meet the reality and their future; otherwise formulation of alternative policies and insisting them can work to meet their need.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Rose Muthoni Muriuki - 48. found dead

Rose Muthoni MURIUKI From RUAI who went missing in Jan this year has been found DEAD! She was killed. 

She was discovered in Mwea 22 days ago with her body mutilated and decomposing. May she Rest in Peace

Investigations still being done by the Police

Flash Back:
On 11th January 2012, Rose went missing. Grapes of Kenya  would like to create awareness of this unfortunate incident for the family through its online platforms
 Name: Rose Muthoni Muriuki – 48. She has been missing since 11th Jan. She was kidnapped/carjacked with her car (KBH 975W) which has since been found. It is at Nairobi area traffic. She was last seen in a dark blue CFCStanbic Tshirt and  black trousers. She is 5’1ft. She is Light in complexion. Speaks English,Kiswahili, Embu and Kikuyu. She was last seen in Ruai towards the eastern bypass.
 She was to go to Mwea to buy rice with a lady friend called Justa Mutero for some business. Justa has since been arrested and charged in Makadara court number 3, for kidnapping with intent to murder.
 Her missing was reported to Kayole police station on 12th january and since then the police have  been on the case.Incase of any more details, you can call her daughter Mercy Karimi on 0720701807