We are celebrating Earth Day by amplifying voices of people from our local climate community! The first Earth Day was observed 50 years ago on the other side of the planet in the United States but today it has become earth-wide. Here’s why a clean planet and environment matters to us and some solutions to we can pursue to protect it this Earth Day and every day after that! Thank you to all who contributed to this feature.
Vusi Matsebula “Protecting our planet is important because our lives depend on the environment, our oxygen comes from plants, our good comes from plants, our basic medicine comes from plants, and most of our shelter comes from plants. And good plants depend upon a clean, healthy environment. We need to first change our attitude towards our environment, then we do small acts that are geared towards improving the environment. We also need to awaken a revolution on climate change initiatives.”
Lwandle Dlamini “I think it’s important for us to protect our natural environment in Eswatini firstly because it is green, beautiful and peaceful. But also because we are in the early developing phase of our economy and industrial era. By setting limits and rules earlier on as we continue to develop we hold great prospect and great leverage in reducing future climate crisis.”
“In order for us to achieve this as a nation, we need to spark conversation; not only to raise awareness of the possible effects of climate change but to discuss new, innovative ways that work well within our own context. Although working in coalition with higher authority such as government and businesses is necessary, within our surrounding communities and homes we can encourage each other to adapt our ways of living in our own small ways in order to make changes, whether its recycled bags or a small backyard garden.”
Joy Kibere and Abu Waligo “Earth day is truly a calling. A calling for us to be better to the environment and show how much of an impact we do have on our ever-changing planet. Having lived in Eswatini for two years, I believe was able to get insight as to why it is important to save the environment. Eswatini is indeed a small country and would significantly have less of an impact globally in regards to pollution but that shouldn’t discredit the fact that there are a few changes that can be made.”
“I believe the farming industry, in particular, the sugarcane industry can definitely make significant changes in farming practices. Understandably, sugarcane farming is definitely one of the backbones holding up Eswatini’s economy but I do believe better and more environmentally friendly practices can be used. For instance, the reduction of artificial fertilizers, as well as the implementation of better watering systems such as drip irrigation, can play a big role in the long run for not only the environment but also the sustainability of the crops being grown and the conservation of the soil being used. I truly believe that everyone has a role to play not only on earth day but also every other day to try and be more sustainable and environmentally conscious in their daily life decisions.”
Fiona Mohammed “My survival on this earth depends partly on the natural environment as it provides nourishment and awakens my vulnerable senses and it is my duty as a Muslim to protect the natural environment. We need to constantly remind the community of Eswatini of the importance of the environment and teach our children how to live in harmony with the environment.”
Zana Mziyako “A healthy Earth system requires interactions to form synergies and self-regulation. For me, how we interact with the Earth is therefore key. We need to love our surroundings and understand how they operate. Love propels us not to harm.”
Pamela Cawood, (Peco Eswatini, Eco-Friendly Reusables) “When you think of the earth as living trees and vegetation that cleans the air as the lungs; waterways carrying life through rivers and streams as arteries and veins; species and ecosystems as cells with special functions that maintain and sustain the body as a whole. In this analogy we as humans are cells. Cells within the system of humanity that have a role to play in keeping the body healthy. Why does it matter to have a healthy earth? We are intrinsic. We cannot poison the lungs and hope for clean air, we cannot clog the arteries and hope for clean water. We cannot destroys cells and cripple systems and hope for sustenance. We cannot hope for a healthy thriving human race if we do not contribute to a healthy thriving earth. In Eswatini we can plant indigenous trees, stop littering, pick up litter, recycle what you can, reuse what you can repair what you can, donate what you can, buy local, be conscious of our individual impacts and understand small efforts by many means big impact. Because I think of the natural environment as the essence of humanity’s being therefore we have to protect it in order for it to “protect” our existence in return.Protecting the natural environment also enables the preservation of culture and bio-diversity. It’s also essential in preserving indigenous plants,animals, habitats and water sources and eradicates the chances of extinction.”
Mbali Dlamini “I think of the natural environment as the essence of humanity’s being therefore we have to protect it in order for it to “protect” our existence in return… Protecting the natural environment also enables the preservation of culture and bio-diversity.It’s also essential in preserving indigenous plants, animals, habitats and water sources and eradicates the chances of extinction. We can protect our environment by:
- raising awareness about environmental conservation
- planting trees
- encouraging more people to volunteer in activities that involve environmental conservation
- Forming eco-clubs in schools”
Maru Attwood “I have been lucky enough to grow up surrounded by a beautiful natural environment and this has given me an intense appreciation of the fact that we rely on a resilient environment more than we imagine. Without the environment, none of the extraordinary, beautiful and compassionate things humanity has done matter. I am worried about the climate crisis because I know that the negative impacts on human society, especially in places like Eswatini that are susceptible to climate disasters, are going to be irreversible unless we act with urgency. In Eswatini, I think we need to work hard to combat environmental apathy and to challenge the systems like consumerism and rampant capitalism that caused climate change. I also believe in the power of personal actions, we can all eat a more climate-friendly diet, set up climate-conscious infrastructure in our lives and engage with government and businesses to encourage them to peruse renewables and climate mitigation.”
S’boshwa Garden – A Community Garden in Mbabane “With the socio-economic changes in our livelihoods and the issues pertaining to climate change, I find that the garden is the only place that rejuvenates wellness. This includes environmental wellness, spiritual wellness, financial wellness and physical wellness.Our garden attracts the habitats that can be found at any litete, that will be the pond which has attracted vegetation and birds, small creeping and crawling habitats which have found an abode in the pond. This is because its half natural element of a litete is encouraged. The garden produces freshness of the air, such freshness is good for the mind, soul for meditations which is key to spiritual wellness and well being. The garden encourages cleanliness, hence no littering is permissible even on nearby surroundings thus improving environmental wellness. The garden is also an investment, value can be attached to it, with more resources ploughed, investments grow.”
Vusumnotfo – Parenting for a Sustainable Future “Why should we protect our environment? For our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren… We can do it through parenting practices that respect and work within natural systems.”
What you think we can do to better our planet in Eswatini? Add your voice in the comments below!
*Earth Day contributions have been slightly edited for grammar and clarity.