Monthly Archives: April 2019

East Africa and climate action

By Fred Miller, Fri 12 April 2019


(Please note: posts on these blog pages are the personal views of the authors only and are not intended to represent any agreed or general view on the part of


In the UK this week, 6 April – 14 April, Extinction Rebellion climate campaigners are walking to London, and then (15 April onwards) taking direct action to bring about the policies that are needed to tackle our global ecological emergency. Despite government distraction with Brexit, the real issues concerning our greenhouse gas emissions, and how these are linked to our economy, are being ignored, and are still not understood by those who create our national narratives (such as the BBC’s current affairs programmes).

Climate chaos is hitting Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi with terrible floods, which are literally wiping out people, land and soil. The rich people of the world are responsible for this by pumping out CO2 from their continued over-use of fossil fuels. The severity of tropical storm Idai was definitely made worse by man-made climate change.

There is now plentiful scientific evidence for planetary breakdown, of both the climate, and the ecosystem services which we rely on, such as food, soil and pollination by insects, as well as the sheer cruelty and inequality of our economic system. The disruption is worst in areas with a fragile climate: where it is hot, it becomes even hotter, with droughts, fires and floods.

In Zimbabwe, the formal greetings of the Shona language express concern for the other person:
Q: How are you? A: I am well, if you are well. And hence, the opposite is implied: ‘If you are not well, then I am not well either.’ So the message that we all need to send to our brothers and sisters in the storm-damaged areas of south eastern Africa is: ‘We are not OK, because you are not OK.’

I have been told of a phrase from the streets of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe: ‘Taja muka’ (We have had enough of this). This implies the desire for better governance. And there is a song called ‘Buka tiende’ (Wake up, let’s go), played on the traditional mbira (thumb piano). Putting these together, we have a good phrase for us all: ‘We have had enough of this, so wake up, let’s go.’

We not only urge the immediate relief needed by the two million people displaced by the storm:…/cyclone-idai-relief-fund/ , but we also urge action to reverse greenhouse gas emissions which are causing this climate change. We need new ways of governance that act on scientific evidence. This needs to happen at national and local level, and of, course, at international level.

We need to create a zero carbon economy, with wind and solar power, and at the same time absorb carbon into the landscape with trees and soil, grow food using the methods of agro-ecology, restoring ecosystems as we go, and thus add protection against flooding and soil loss.

Thee are lots of solutions, such as those listed by the Drawdown Project ( A new push for natural climate solutions is also to be welcomed.

Why such measures are not now being rolled out across the world is inexplicable, when the need is so obvious. We’ve had enough of this. Wake up, Let’s go: Taja muka, Buka tiende!