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Enviro Talk: Turning back the hands of time

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Turning back the hands of time, like a poet would recite the typical Eden Garden flourished with thriving indigenous species of trees full with natural fruits, fast flowing rivers with clean water, hills and mountains covered lush in abundance.

That is what Malawi the warm heart of Africa used to be a few decades ago.

Time as observed has been a major defining factor of what actions inflicted on our surrounding can bring on the very survival of humans.

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The ever changing human population demographics have had a bearing on the limited natural resources for use by diverse livelihoods.

There has been increasing pressure as demand increases to satisfy the needs of a growing population.

The year that has just folded this column touched on a diversity of challenges hindering the well being of communities to attain a better life environmentally.

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We take a glimpse back and sample those as part of review the just ended year.  One of the thundering interventions we came across was the involvement of the Roman Catholic in  sustainable environment management.
I was awe struck indeed…

In August one area that attracted my attention in a bid to correct the wrongs we continue doing was what Mua Parish and Kungoni Arts Centre in Dedza did.
The church took both a cultural and religious approach – held a mass of stewardship of the universe.
During the event the Church repeated the divine appeal made by Pope Francis in a letter addressed to its faithful in May which strongly condemned unsustainable resource degradation on planet resources as human population increases.

The head of Catholics concerned about the scale of degradation being inflicted on the environment globally authored a letter in which he registered his dismayed over what he described as plunder of earth resources.

The Pope touched among other things on biodiversity saying resources are being degraded because of shortsighted approaches to the economy, commerce and production.

The loss of forests and woodlands entails the loss of species which may constitute extremely important resources in future, not only for food but also for curing disease and other uses.

Different species contain genes which could be key resources in years ahead for meeting human needs and regulating environmental problems.

Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever.

The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity.
Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right as human beings to cause that devastation.

Pope Francis then made a strong appeal to protect our common home, a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, knowing it is possible things can change.

The Pope concerns come at a time when the urban boom is driving the demand for energy to satisfy the needs of the people, a development that is making wood and charcoal to be readily consumed by those not connected to the power grid. One such reserve that has been a target is Dzalanyama in Lilongwe.

Statistics of those plying the charcoal business at the expense of conservation has thus scaled up. This they are doing by selecting particular species that have more calorific output than others. As such it has led to species locally known as Masuku being ignored as not effective products of charcoal production.

Scientists say there is a danger of such selective plunder of resources simply because they will change the botanical diversification and hence affect the animal distribution and abundance in the reserve.

It was clear from the observations at Kanjinga the reserve entrance and the deserted forestry camp at Chiunjiza gate that more efforts are needed to be channeled to the reserve management.

The reserve role while agreeing with the Japanese advisor on forestry issues is “irreplaceable”. It is a source of food security, water and economic  growth.

The joint awareness and enforcement activities on why forest resources need to be conserved need to be fostered in this New Year. It is a duty we have to do at all cost. We will continue to bring to light all those issues affecting the environment in 2016.
Happy New Year!

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