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Losing Africa through the environment

First a few facts about Africa

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain on the continent. It towers over 19,300 feet, which is so tall that glaciers can be found at its summit even though the mountain is near the equator.

The longest river in the world, the Nile at 4,132 miles is located in eleven countries in Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt.

Africa has over 85% of the world’s elephants and over 99% of the remaining lions are on the African continent.

Africa has over 25% of the world’s bird species.

By 2025 there will be 30 million people younger than 24 years old living in Africa.

By 2050, Africa is projected to be home to one in every four of the world's inhabitants, and almost 40 % of its children under 18 years.


Losing Africa through the environment

June 2013 spokesperson Najia Bounaim of Greenpeace Africa stated in an interview with ABC News South Africa; African governments face several challenges in implementing environmental protection mechanisms. Africa below the Saharan desert suffers from some serious environmental problems, including climate change, water pollution, coal mining, nuclear waste, deforestation, overfishing, and industrial agriculture etc.

Over 180 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone could die as a result of climate change by the end of the century. Currently, an estimated 93% of South Africa’s electricity comes from coal. There are presently 13 operational coal-fired power stations in the country. These new power stations will be the third and fourth largest coal-fired power stations in the world, and Kusile will require a massive 17 million tons of coal per year.

South Africa is a water scarce country, yet every step in the chain of using coal to produce electricity pollutes and consumes vast amounts of water. Together with coal mining, burning coal for electricity generation has a number of serious implications for both water quantity and quality.

Nearly a million South African households have no access to the clean water. Nuclear While governments around the world are rethinking nuclear energy after the Japan nuclear disaster, South Africa is planning to build new nuclear power stations.

Africa has over 25% of the world’s bird species.

True or False



West African nations have some of the richest fishing grounds in the world; yet their food security is under threat.
Fishing in Ghana
Furthermore, after 60 years of nuclear power, there is still no solution for safe, long-term storage of radioactive waste anywhere in the world. The energy choices being made by the government regarding this nuclear proposal will fundamentally affect our country’s ability to combat climate change and create a clean, safe and secure energy future for all South Africans.

Deforestation in Africa is a real threat. Up to a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions come from tropical deforestation; more than emissions from all the world’s planes, trains and cars put together. In Africa, 40 million people depend on the Congo Basin rainforest which is also home for 270 species of mammals, including the endangered gorilla, the chimpanzee, and the bonobo, as well as 39 unique species of animals that are only found here.

Most parts of Africa are already suffering from increasing land-grabbing tendencies for the expansion of large-scale plantations, industrial logging, agribusiness, oil, mining, and infrastructure operations.

Overfishing According to the United Nations, over 75% percent of the world's fisheries are fully exploited, overexploited or significantly depleted. Some species have already been fished to commercial extinction; many more are on the verge. West African nations have some of the richest fishing grounds in the world; yet their food security is under threat. European and Asian fishing fleets have moved into West African waters over the past 30 years after depleting their own fish stocks. Sub-Saharan Africa is now the only region on Earth where per capita fish consumption is actually falling, partly because foreign fishing fleets have removed so much fish.

Industrial farming presents one of the most urgent threats to environmental sustainability and food security facing the world today.
Small farmer in West Africa
Industrial farming presents one of the most urgent threats to environmental sustainability and food security facing the world today. It relies on inputs of fossil-fuel intensive synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and genetically engineered seeds.

These expensive inputs result in debt and economic insecurity for farmers, especially smallholders. This debt-driven agriculture is a big contributor to global climate change, and it destroys biodiversity, degrades soils, pollutes land, freshwater and coastlines, creates health risks from field to fork, and consolidates control over the food system amongst a handful of corporate giants.

Those problems are aggravated by lack of financial resources, poor governance, corruption, significant illegal logging of natural resources and lack of local participation in environmental decision-making processes.

Currently, an estimated 93% of South Africa’s electricity comes from coal.

True or False






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