Issues and Analysis of “Loss of Fertile Land Fuels’

As issues involving politics in the United States continue to dominate the world media, lesser-known problems in other parts of the world, most notably in the continent of Africa, are being less looked at or completely ignored. If asked, current problems in the US are ignorance of climate change, police brutality, racism, classism, etc. However, these issues are also plaguing African countries with the same levels ranging from the same to more extreme. Jeffrey Gettleman writes in his New York Times article detailing Kenya and the “loss of fertile lands” ravaging the country, and how people are losing not only their homes, but way of life for people in Kenya and other nations inside the continent. Added with the rise in population of many African countries, what are the issues that caused these current situations? With many issues happening in Gettleman’s article, finding the main issues is the theory to really get a grasp of what is currently happening not only in Kenya but also in all of Africa. One issue is with the rise in better health care, population growth, and living longer. This is making way for big families to compete for bigger and better land. “More than in any other region of the world, people in Africa live off the land.” (Gettleman, 2018) With bigger families comes bigger needs, a constantly growing family needs access to food, and water. As the quote mentions, living off the land is key and another issue that has arisen is climate change. Nevertheless, climate change is a topic that has many levels and with the case of families in African nations, it is clearly affecting them at a high level. With climate change comes different seasons from a year ago. Rain may take longer to fall or not fall at all. This can cause famine, since plants cannot grow for both people and animals that graze and farm the areas. “Scientists say large stretches of Africa are drying up, and they predict more desertification, more drought and more hunger.” (Gettleman, 2018) With large portions of Africa being devastated by climate change, it brings up more problems of overuse. Consequently with less and less of growing wildlife and overuse of what there is, has become a problem intersecting these problems and creating a cycle which is causing the current situation to unfold. With as previous mentioned growing population, climate change, this is causing the issue of overuse. “Fast-growing populations mean afford the land to sit fallow and replenish.” (Gettleman, 2018) Humans are not the only ones to take a hit. The wildlife preserves with lions, rhinos, cheetahs, and other animals are also struggling as poachers and deforestation run rampant in the continent because of previous said issues. In places like Gabon and The Democratic Republic of Congo, rainforests are being cut down for better farming prospects, but crippling the environment at the same time continuing the cycle of what is causing tougher access to food and water. “Cutting down all those trees to make way for farms could have serious consequences for the climate of the entire earth.” (Gettleman, 2018) With all these issues arising, the governments are not helping much of the situations. As the romanticized wild west of the US is seen by Americans is being lived now by Africans. Poor herdsmen, wealthy landowners, and farmers of all sizes are dealing with stressful and deadly situations right now. The issue of territory warfare has been a constant struggle happening for many years, but seemingly getting deadlier every passing year. As said in the article, the community of Laikipia, Kenya like many other West African villages are going through the territory bloodshed. In Laikipia “at least 80 people have been killed, and the violence has not stopped. In mid-July, a large group of herders killed a half-dozen police officers and stole their weapons.” (Gettleman, 2018) Where does the government play a part in this issue? It can be discussed that many parts play into the government involvement of territory fighting for landowners in Africa. Kenya’s politician Mathew Lempurkel a district politician of Laikipia seen as con-man or villain in the community. Lempurkel uses not only bribery, but also bigotry of ethnicity to get more votes. “Some contend Mr. Lempurkel is trying to displace people in Laikipia who members of his ethnic group the Samburu are not, so that he can bring Samburu into his district and get more votes.” (Gettleman, 2018) Mr. Lempurkel would say thought that all of this is caused by “a problem of drought and climate change” (Gettleman, 2018). In doing so, this brings all these issues back together. So, what is the cause of all of this? There is no simple question, answer or maybe even the solution. Politics, ethnicity, class, and other issues are plaguing not only Kenya but also all of Africa. Gettleman gave multiple underlying issues of what is happening in Africa when it comes to the current climate in life, land, and politics and this is what we need to know if we can ever help the problem and hopefully fix it.

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