Climate change is frequently blamed on the streets of Lusaka, whenever there is even a slight bit of unusual or extreme weather. However, how much do we really understand about climate change in Zambia and how it is impacting our daily lives?
Climate change is a global phenomenon that is having significant impacts on Zambia and its people. As a developing country that relies heavily on agriculture and natural resources, Zambia is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
What is Climate Change?
Climate change refers to the long-term changes in the Earth's climate, including changes in temperature, precipitation, and weather patterns. The primary cause of climate change is the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, which trap heat in the atmosphere and cause temperatures to rise. These emissions are primarily the result of human activities such as burning fossil fuels for energy and deforestation.
We already know that Zambia although Zambia has many natural woodlands, the rate of deforestation is alarmingly high. This is caused by clearing land for development and also cutting wood for charcoal or logging. According to Global Forest Watch 'from 2000 to 2020, Zambia experienced a net change of -2.87Mha (-7.3%) in tree cover.'
How is Climate Change Affecting Zambia?
Zambia is experiencing a range of impacts as a result of climate change. These include:
As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, temperatures in Zambia and around the world are increasing. This can have significant impacts on human health, as well as on agriculture, wildlife, and ecosystems. The World Banks Climate Knowledge Portal shows a gradual increase in recorded temperatures, in Zambia, over the last century.
Erratic Rainfall and Drought:
Changing weather patterns are leading to more erratic rainfall in Zambia, with some areas experiencing droughts while others experience flooding. This has significant implications for agriculture, which is a major sector of the Zambian economy.
Flooding and Water Scarcity:
As rainfall becomes more erratic, flooding is becoming more common in some areas of Zambia, while other areas are experiencing water scarcity. This can have significant impacts on food security, as well as on access to clean water for drinking and sanitation.
The burning of fossil fuels and other human activities are contributing to air pollution in Zambia, which can have significant impacts on human health.
What Can the Average Zambian Do to Help?
We notice that the weather and environment are different now. We know that the environment is changing, but like people in other countries, only a few individuals have made important changes to their lives to reduce their impact on the environment.
While climate change is a global problem, there are things that the average Zambian can do to help reduce its impacts. These include:
Reduce Energy Consumption:
By reducing energy consumption in our homes and businesses, we can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This can include things like turning off lights and appliances when not in use, using energy-efficient appliances, and using public transportation instead of driving.
Support Renewable Energy:
Investing in renewable energy sources like solar and wind power can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.
Practice Sustainable Agriculture:
By using sustainable farming practices, farmers can help to reduce the impacts of climate change on agriculture. This can include things like using crop rotation, conserving water, and reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle:
By reducing waste and recycling materials, we can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and disposal of goods.
Green Constuction Zambia have a Youtube series where they show how they have developed a recycling program for their companies.
In conclusion, climate change is a significant threat to Zambia and its people. By taking action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.