Do we need to say our prayers?

Published on BBCnews, as viewpoint from Greig Whitehead, 5 January 2010.

… Kenya is a deeply religious country.

Christians, Muslims and Hindus alike assemble for regular and often lengthy worship; prayers are offered up before and after every public meeting, and even before starting a cross-country “safari”, the god of one’s faith is called on to bless the journey.

So it comes as no surprise to hear a female pastoralist from the arid lands of North-East Kenya decrying the combined wisdom of the world’s scientists, after being told that climate change is man-made.

“How can man change the climate and make it stop raining: it is God’s will that has brought the drought,” she utters.   

But even with trust in the power of God, Kenya is a country on the brink of disaster.

As news reports show, the country’s rivers are drying, its more remote areas are turning to desert, and the food chain – from land, to animals, to humans – is breaking down.

The ramifications of the rural drought now stretch to the streets of Nairobi, where five million people face daily power rationing, severe water shortages and higher food prices.

In battle terms, Kenya is on the frontline; it is staring climate change in the face.

Climate for change:

But to deal with the global phenomenon, Kenya’s “wananchi” (citizens) need to understand the complex of challenges they are up against, including a range of home-grown factors … (full text).

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