Kenya Forest Service
|Why we should adopt more environmentally friendly ways of demonstrating|
The legacy left by the late Wangari Maathai who died late last year as heroine after being crowned a key environmentalist in the world, is one of the greatest honors a country like Kenya has ever received and will never fade as this will always remain in the books of history.
Her death, however, turned the entire Kenyan country into a mourning nation engulfed in great shock, a move which saw several streets, schools and hospitals named after her. The government bestowed on her great honour when, during her days of mourning, all the government institutions had the flag raised at half mast.
Her love for trees remained even in her grave after she suggested that upon her death, the trees should never be tampered with and therefore her coffin was made of reeds, a move which shocked many as her remains were laid to rest in a coffin made of reeds. What a love for trees!
The number 71 found a place in the Kenyan history books but especially in the Forestry sector where Wangari’s effort created the biggest impact; the late Nobel Peace Laureate, Prof. Wangari Maathai passed on at the age of 71. The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) which has 71 Forest Zones, therefore planted 71 trees in each Zone in honour of the environmental champion.
The Minister for Forestry and Wildlife, Hon. Noah Wekesa, the KFS Director, Mr. David Mbugua and the Forestry and Wildlife PS, Mohammed Wa-Mwachai among others, have always been on the frontline urging local communities to embrace tree planting as it is a vital contributor to the country’s economy and have also embraced the move to partner with Green Africa Foundation in starting a tree planting programme in learning institutions in honour of the late Hon. Prof. Wangari Maathai with a view of at least planting 5.6 million trees in the republic of Kenya, a matter that deserves a big thumps up.
Although the Kenyan government has also been very vibrant, taking action and acting swiftly upon those found felling trees in the forests illegally for charcoal and timber, a very notorious group has totally been forgotten and always gone untouched despite being the key environment destructors who have always done it openly.
I wonder how the late Wangari would feel if she arose from her grave and saw how protesters pounce on trees, breaking branches and have ‘marching forests’ along the streets in the name of demonstrations!
Hundreds and thousands of rioting students, angry residents, participants in circumcision celebrations, football fans, protesting workers, name it all, will be seen waving very healthy tree branches and later dump them after their events without the thought of replacing the already destroyed plants.
It is ironical that all this destruction has been taking place in front of the government’s eyes but very little has been done so far to curb the culture which has now become very rampant.
With the endless demonstrations and protests witnessed in the country, who accounts for the lost vegetation whose percentage is massive by the end of the year?
Prof. Wangare Maathai at Karura Forest during the Environmental Soldier celebrations in June 2011