We can all recount weather events which we thought were particularly harsh or unusual. But when I took my vehicle to the top of a little hill on the plains in the Maasai Kopjes, it was truly terrifying. Click here to read the account of that awful afternoon.
While that was the most extreme of the extreme, there were similar events on all my safaris last spring, and it was happening throughout the sub-continent.
Global warming has been pummeling sub-Saharan Africa for a number of years, so climate change per se is not the story. The tragedies it’s causing and the attempts to prepare for even worse times are the stories:
You’d think that after years of being depressed, the escalation of coffee prices would be a boon to the highlands of East Africa, and it is … if they can grow it! Coffee is extremely sensitive to temperatures, especially night-time temperatures. The rise of a single degree centigrade is decimating East Africa’s highland coffee plantations.
Inevitably the disruption of the normal climate for people who already live in climate-stressed areas pushes them to a breaking point. One effect is increased conflict, as demonstrated this year in Kenya’s Northern Frontier among tribes who have always had limited resources, but who are now fighting among themselves for what’s left.
Many believe these kinds of incidents will soon combine into a massive, unorganized but global uprising.
Yet Africans are trying to do something about it, and their efforts are definitely part of the reason this is the number 2 story of 2015.
South Africa, which has lots of coal and even nuclear power plants, is investing heavily in mega solar power projects.
I’ve actually written about a number of these massive mega-projects throughout Africa. But there are also thousands of smaller, individual and truly heart-rendering initiatives as with the young entrepreneur Tom Osborn of Kenya.
As the years pass and the rain tumbles doesn’t it seem strange that some still deny climate change? How inconceivable that we would elect people like James Inhofe, and worse, give him a platform for his denial!
Most people right around the world know this is the world’s most pressing single issue. ISIS might topple Mosul, but climate change will topple the Himalayas.
(For my summary of the top 10 stories in Africa in 2015, click here.)