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Mary Nadenge Gabriel

I am Mary Nadenge Gabriel (Kenya-Nairobi) – An Educator and student as well. My view on “the good life” is that it is very subjective and that everyone has a different definition in the context of... read more I am Mary Nadenge Gabriel (Kenya-Nairobi) – An Educator and student as well. My view on “the good life” is that it is very subjective and that everyone has a different definition in the context of life depending on where they live and how they live their lives, how they have been cultured, their understanding of values and collective responsibilities and sharing. For me “the good life” is not about material comfort, luxuries and happiness, but rather a synchronized social set up and community where we all live in harmony, caring and supporting each other and taking steps and action towards bettering our environment and neighborhood. It is difficult to point to one factor as that which would otherwise shape my idea of a good life. It is everything- from family background and upbringing, values upheld by the family set up, the village and clan into which I was born and nurtured, the environment into which I got exposed to beyond my family, our cultural practices that I got initiated into, religion and belief systems, my gender – given that in the society that I was born, the male child seemed to be accorded more importance as compared to a female one. So my inner struggles to exert myself and get affirmation and sometimes inner jealousy and competition with the male in my society as we grew up. Media and especially social media have also played a role in shaping my idea of “the good life.” My interest in the topic climate change is informed by recent abrupt climate change events around the planet. I see the decreasing forest cover and natural vegetation due to burst in population in this country and so the need for space to bring up more residential areas. I see water towers and catchment areas being brought down and inhabited by people. I see the rainy seasons changing, and occasional flush rains at times when not expected. I see less and less food being harvested due to irregular rainy seasons and so more hunger and drought. I see receding water levels in some lakes and dried river beds too. This all affects us negatively and will continue to if local and indigenous peoples are not involved and are not educated on ways of easing or reducing the hazards. All these changes impact our ability to good life in the sense that, less land is under Agriculture. Less food, hunger and starvation, stressed up societies, children having less chances at a brighter future. Rainfall seasons have changed, whereas we experienced long and heavy rains between March and May and extreme cold seasons in June and July with the short rains coming in October and November - that has since changed. We haven’t had much rain the last to or so years; most water dams are almost empty, leading to dry taps in residential areas. People have to look for water from sunken wells which also pose health risks. My profile picture was taken at one among the many wells littering most residential areas. We can see both women and men having to draw and carry water for domestic use, women on backs, while men on bicycles. Action on climate change is more of a communal responsibility. Government need to be part of it by signing up to stop illegal sell of public lands especially those around water towers. Youth pressurizing and educating the public on these issues, signing petitions and continuing with our set projects of planting more trees to reverse the current scenario.

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