If you feel a news story does not measure up to expected journalistic standards, bring it to the Journalism Dry Cleaner. Through our collective wisdom, we will strip it of all offensive dirt.




Wednesday, 9 December 2009


On a day I endure the coldest temperature inside a classrrom, in my entire life, the UN weather agency says the past decade could be the warmest in recorded history. Environmental matters can't be easily generalized.

As I trashed the week's garbage, mostly comprising of paper, unedible leftovers and discarded containers or wrappings, my temporary neighbour in the UK, calmly walked past me carrying a 20-inch colour television and dumped it. Environmental matters can't be easily generalized.

Hundreds of media outlets report on the push for green energy like harnessing wind power and adopting electric or hybrid vehicles in place of petrol-fuelled ones. Some media outlets report that all these alternatives need components made from rare earth metals, of which over 90% comes from China, mined in heavily polluting conditions. Environmental matters can't be easily generalized.

Brazil's environmental dilemma

Being the world's 8th largest economy in the world, Brazil has done extremely well in tapping into renewable energy like ethanol and other biofuels. But in the recent past, the country has discovered huge oil deposits and now has to contend with exploiting fossil fuels and producing harmful gas emissions. Environmental matters can't be easily generalized.

While Kenyan Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai connects many of Africa's problems with neglecting to protect the environment, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni thinks conservation is a luxury that can't be afforded by poor countries. Environmental matters can't be easily generalized.

Thousands of delegates and journalists gather at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference to chart ways of rescuing the planet from imminent danger. But how much damage do they do to the same planet earth, through their own carbon footprints? Environmental matters can't be easily generalized.

Environmental conservation or commerce

Concerted efforts are continuously made to relocate Nairobi's main dumpsite, away from residential areas. Some forces put up a spirited resistance insisting that would rob them of a means of making a livelihood. Environmental matters can't be easily generalized.

A few rich countries, it is widely accepted, produce the bulk of the harmful green house gases. Developing countries suffer the most from the effects of global warming but are led to believe they can make money from carbon credits. This allows industrialized nations to continue with their harmful CO2 ways, by paying the poor countries shameful amounts, to shoulder the burden of neutralizing the effects of their pollution.

Environmental matters trully, can't be easily generalized. And journalists especially, should not lose sight of this point.

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