|ECOLOGY AND AFRICAN UNIFICATION
THE STRUGGLE TO END ECO-COLONIALISM
Satellite Image of Invasives Choking Lake Victoria
The EU and the US are spending $500 billion a year subsidizing the destruction of oceans, atmosphere and land $100 billion on power stations that worsen global warming, $300 billion encouraging destructive farming and overgrazing and $50 billion on promoting overfishing.
The neocolonial model of accounting for the world economy continues to report fair results and growth, when in fact maximizing already huge margins of profits in the process of destroying our life support system. African communities are burning huge expanses of forest and grasslands to accommodate agricultural expansion in order to service the global market with cheap raw materials from extraction and plantation industries. In recent years Africa has been raising up industrial output, which has broadened the continent's effect on the world's economy and ecology.
Because of the size of the land Africans occupy, Africa has enormous global bargaining power for both the exploitation of natural resources and for the sound environmental management of those resources, in order stabilize the global environment. For example depletion of Africa's forest cover will aggravate severely the Earth's ability to recycle pollutants secreted into the biosphere over the course of centuries of dirty development, and will have other unforeseen negative consequences.
GLOBAL WARMING & THE WORLD'S WORST OIL SPILL
Between 1986 and 1996, 2.5 million barrels of oil were spilled in the Niger Delta, according to a just unclassified CIA report. "This is equal to 10 Exxon Valdez disasters," according to the report in which oil companies also acknowledge that at least 100,000 barrels of oil were spilled in 1997 and 1998.
A Washington Post report on the Niger-Delta quoted the CIA study at the weekend. It added: "And everyday, eight million cubic feet of national gas are burned off in flares that light the skies across the Delta, not only hurting the fishing and poisoning the agriculture, but contributing to global warming."
The CIA study found that while oil extraction "generated immense profit, the Delta's inhabitants have suffered increasing poverty and a general decline in the quality of their lives due, in part, to the environmental impact of oil extraction."
"Corruption and bureaucratic incompetence have led to an almost total absence of schools, good drinking water, electricity or medical care," the report said.
The Niger River Delta, a fragile wetland of about 42,000 square miles which currently yield over two million of crude oil per day is home to about seven million Nigerians.
ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH & SAFETY AUDITS
The AUF will maintain a program evaluating Africa's health, safety and environmental performance against legal requirements and policies. At the present time we need a consistent, integrated and comprehensive framework for continuous improvement by identifying strengths and weaknesses in Africa's environmental management system. Auditing programmes will utilise innovative approaches for integrating environment, health and safety into business goals and operations. There is need for improvements in training, emergency planning and contractor management.
The AUF will oversee the creation of an integrated continental fund for external environmental audits to be conducted on water management facilities across Africa. As well the future budgets approved by the parliament of Union of Africa will include annual environmental reports.
All these issues can no longer be approached by sector or localization, nor approached separately. On the contrary, the solutions must associate the continental and local authorities with the users, in an integrated approach, respecting the natural environment, organized on the scale of hydrographic units (basins) and aiming at the sustainable utilization of water resources. See Catchment Zones
The AUF aims to augment strategies, programmes, financing and monitoring at the river basin level, and guarantee coordination of formalized relations between riparian local authorities regarding large shared rivers, lakes and seas. It is important to recognize that Africa's ecological structures have a disproportionately important impact on the world's environment. Africa's manageable land features, as well as the structures beyond the capacity of humans to alter significantly, such as the continental shelf, and plate tectonics, have a massive impact on the rest of the world.
For example the African atmosphere has a major effect on the air quality worldwide. Researchers found out that in the Amazon the dust that comes in with the big rainstorms comes from Africa's northern interior (Sahara). Dust from the Saharan in Africa is transported across the Atlantic Ocean into the Amazon basin in South America by equatorial gusts. Increasing agricultural activities in regions that were largely pastoral also release into the windstream common soil microbes that have an adverse effect on the coral reefs in the Atlantic ocean.
This tragic state of affairs has been brought about by the failure of the neocolonial international regime to attach a high level of respect to the traditional African systems of soil management. Instead logging and plantation agriculture have put excessive strain on communities, water resources and on the land.