At the outset of this article, i pose a few questions , how many politicians do you know ? How many lawyers, doctors and engineers do you know ? Last but not least , how many environmentalists or environment enthusiasts do you know ? To the former questions , your answer is as good as mine ( a lot of them maybe , countless). To the latter question as well, your answer is similar to mine ( None or , a few of them). The reason for this colossal distinction in answers between the two scenarios ,is nothing short of publicity. That which is publicized innumerable times gets a huge chunk of follower ship as compared to the least aired.
In our country Kenya, politics run the show from dawn to dusk Monday to Sunday, Week one to week four of every month , from January to December, 365 days of the year without a halt. Politicians are the center of attraction, Everything in this country seems to be centered or revolving around them.We do this even after the general election, a time when we are supposed to give our leaders time to deliver on their manifestos and actualize their promises to us as well as checking the excesses of government , we are engrossed in ethnic politics of hatred, name – calling and ‘defending one of our own narrative ‘ , even when we know they have embezzled and misappropriated public funds to their advantage. These are the ingredients of of balkanizations and ethnic clashes whose repercussions are so detrimental to say the least.
The foregoing is fuelled and supported a great deal by mainstream media. Media as we know it , is an extension, an appendage of the public opinion. It is supposed to generate, receive and disseminate information to the public as well as being hawk – eyed on the government of the day. This is because with the new constitutional dispensation we are leaving in today, the media is supposed to be independent of external influence and hence allergic to any sort of compromisation or coercement. To this extent ,the media in this country has been giving much airtime to political news at the expenese of other relevant and more pressing issues for instance , environmental issues, as if, it is being remote controlled by the political bigwigs. Not saying politics is not relevant, but there is need for a paradigm shift in terms of addressing more pressing and current affairs like climate change.
Theophrastus, opines in one of his metaphysical books that, ” All men by nature desire to know “, and of course seeing is believing. Most people do not know the detrimental part of environmental negligence , and hence continue to degrade and destroy the environment. They do so , because they have not the slightest idea of what effects the mother nature is capable of releasing if disturbed. Methinks , the media is on the receiving end on this isssue of environmental negligence. It is supposed to disseminate any information touching on adverse effects of environmental degradation, as this will ring a bell in the minds of the citizenry to change their behaviour when dealing with mother nature.
A lot goes on in the area of environment locally, nationally and internationally, but hardly do we see these events being aired in our mainstream media. We have environment enthusiasts at personal level and organizational level, who have devoted and committed much of their time to conserve the environment , but they are not sought after as compared to politicians.
Mainstream media should redirect its time to environmental issues as much as it does on matters politics. Let’s see talk shows on environmental issues, because environment is the backbone of our existence hence the need to prioritize it. Our brains were made in such a way that , they get accustomed to things done and said more than once, let the media consider creating time for matters environmental issues so that people fathom its benefits when conserved with utmost zeal and respect for God’s creation as well as the consequences of uncared for environment. Kiswahili people have a saying that , ” Usipoziba ufa utajenga ukuta “.
Larry Abara , Environmentalist / Ecologist