Photo by Markus Spiske

Africa is the BIG depository of beautiful natural wonders. If there’s a continent so abundant in the biggest, the largest, the longest, and the loveliest found in nature, it’s Africa. Hence, every effort should be made to protect and conserve this cradle of humankind.

For years, many attempts and endeavors have been made to save the region ravaged at the mercy of time and climate, the continent known as the birthplace of men – Africa. Africa, a continent that’s a treasure trove of beautiful landscapes and natural wonders, is the most vulnerable continent affected by the impacts of climate change.  

Studies have shown that Africa’s temperature is at an alarming average rate of +0.3 °C/decade between 1991 and 2021, warming up faster than the recorded +0.2°C/decade in 1961-1990. 

But the rising temperature is just one of the many problems climate change wreaked upon this continent. Because of the increasing heat, Africa saw decreased fish and aquatic resources, widespread drought, health and safety challenges, food and water security, and threats to socio-economic development. 

Charles Sampson’s book on rising above life circumstancesSparrows of Senegambia: A Memoir, mentions the essential fundamental values that are much-needed by the world that is facing and rising above today’s crisis: hard work, perseverance, productivity, and persistence. The memoir records the author’s trips to more than a dozen African countries, reflecting his race and ancestry. 

The world is facing a lot of threats to its existence. Particularly in Africa, the greatest threat to this well-loved region is the threat of global warming and climate change.   

Threats of Climate Change in Africa Gains Momentum

What’s interesting to note is that Africa is the lowest contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Even so, this did not spare the continent from the impacts that ultimately affected their livelihood and overall life. 

Definitions are required to understand the significance of climate change and why it is a significant threat. 

Global Warming vs. Climate Change

When people hear about global warming, it is often linked to what’s also known as the “greenhouse effect.” What is the relation between the two? 

Global warming is usually described as an increase in average temperatures from all over the globe. Carbon dioxides and air pollutants would absorb sunlight and solar radiation reflected from the Earth’s surface when they go up in the atmosphere. This radiation usually would go out into space. But because of the pollutants that fill the air, they form a barrier that prevents the radiation from passing through. Since the heat radiation has nowhere to go, it bounced back towards the Earth, the reason why the planet gets hotter. This is known as the greenhouse effect, where the gases are trapped in the atmosphere because of the blockade caused by pollutants.  

Climate change refers to the shifts in weather patterns and temperatures over a long time. It is the measurement of the impact brought by global warming. It is usual for the Earth’s climate to constantly change, which is unusual – and alarming! – is the speed of how fast the change is taking place. This means, with all the pollution, the Earth’s temperature is heating up at a faster rate. 

Impact to Africa

The threat of climate change is real and is gaining momentum in Africa. Aside from the rising temperatures, the sea level along the tropical and South Atlantic and Indian Ocean coasts are also rising. 

Africa is also seeing record high precipitation. Heavy precipitations can cause soil erosion and crop damage and increase the flood threat from heavy rains. These are recorded predominantly along the Sahel, Rift Valley, central Nile catchment, Kalahari basin, and the lower Congo River. 

In extreme cases, Africa is also experiencing unprecedented drought in the eastern section, particularly in parts of Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya – the driest and hottest temperature ever recorded. Heatwaves are on the rise all over the region, as well as cyclones occurrences.  

The staggering outcome of these extreme weather changes? 

Topping the list is the domino effect of food insecurity, followed by political instability, displacement, pest outbreak, and economic crises. 

Save Africa

The call to save and protect the birthplace of humankind is more urgent than ever. 

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is taking proactive steps to address this call to save Africa. UNEP supported 22 African countries to advocate for using an Ecosystem-based Adaptation solution to protect communities from the deadly impacts of climate change, such as a drought mitigation project that assists farmers and herders whose crops are failing and livestock are dying. 

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is also at work to help counter the effects of climate change in Africa. The organization pushed for policies that reduce carbon emissions and use renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and biomass to increase energy efficiency. 

These are just some international organizations that have come together to answer the call to save and protect mother nature and the African continent. But are these efforts enough for the region to survive and thrive again? 

It takes a collective effort of a single individual and groups of people to pull Africa back to its feet and to help it become more resilient than ever before. Saving Africa means thinking outside the box, thinking beyond personal wants, and considering that a more significant need could impact future generations.

Because saving the cradle of humankind is akin to saving the world. 

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