Kenyans don’t need to be convinced that global warming and climate change are real. They experience them every day, be it as drought or floods, crop failure or famine.
Kenyans know climate change is not ‘fake news’, nor is it a hoax. But it has taken the world decades to understand first hand that climate change is not only real but it’s a man-made phenomenon that is causing what may be irreparable harm.
The Swedes are especially sensitive to Climate Change since they were the first to hold an international conference in Stockholm on the topic way back in 1972. Unfortunately, few governments took it seriously at the time. Neither did many ordinary people since the effects of global warming were not so pronounced then as they are today.
Sweden had a second international conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen in 2009 and ever since then, the Swedish Institute has been working with cartoonists to raise awareness and ideally affect change in both government policies and public’s consciousness.
Between 2009 and 2016, SI in collaboration with Swedish cartoonists assembled over a hundred cartoonists from five continents to create cutting edge cartoons that could convey the Global Warming message. The reason SI focused on the cartoon is because the Swedes believe that humor and satire are the best ways to raise awareness and persuade a wider public to think more deeply about the problem without getting defensive or denying the facts.
Currently, the Swedish Institute together with the Swedish Embassy in Kenya have enlisted some of Kenya’s finest cartoonists to create an inspired exhibition entitled ‘Facing the Climate.’ The Swedes selected Buni Media to work closely with and Buni called upon one of our most esteemed cartoonists, Victor Ndula, to curate the collection which includes mainly pen and ink drawings on paper by cartoonists from Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya and Sweden.
Victor has put together an awesome exhibition that includes Kenyan cartoonists like Gado, Madd , Celeste, Gammz and Victor himself among others. Personally, I found our Kenyan cartoonists the most expressive, satirical and clear in conveying the message as well as the urgent foreboding that can ensue if humans don’t change their ways fast and work towards reversing all the destructive short-sighted policies and practices that are not only polluting our air, rivers, lakes and oceans but killing our crops, livestock and whole eco-systems.
Last Thursday night, the Swedish Ambassador to Kenya gave an excellent introduction to the exhibition. And by inviting UNEPs chief Scientist Dr. Jacqueline McGlade to underscore the magnitude of the problem of global warming, the message came home loud and clear that time is running out and if we don’t act quickly, we may arrive at an apocalyptic moment when it’s already too late to revive Mother Earth and reverse the lethal consequences of ignoring our duty to the planet as well as to humanity and all living beings.