Summer time is always the best time of the year and most activities take place such as fishing boat cruise among others. Just nearby the natural waters I saw two young men fishing, a group of children enjoying a mid-afternoon splash and a solemn religious ceremony of baptism by total immersion slowly progresses.
On the other side of the water body, a number of local community members busy working on their home gardens of beans, maize, and bananas. The wet, dark dambo and fertile soils make gardening possible when it is dry elsewhere.
The edges of the water bodies are usually covered with reeds, flock of ducks that swim randomly, birds, grass, trees and shrubs giving it a unique ecological system or life form. Different life forms are present parasites, birds of prey that hover over and settle in the short dambo grass and animals that come to drink water too.
Presence of variety of life forms closer to the water’s edge is an evidence that it is important to conserve them although many others are not quite visible. Among the other things that can be seen are several ponds with insect life and full of tadpoles, the frogs of tomorrow.
The type of vegetation and animals present there are a part of the web of life between living and non-living things within that environment. Flora and fauna activities are an important part of the changes and cycles that take place in order that conditions are maintained to enable them to grow and reproduce in that natural environment.
As result of the maintained conditions created, it becomes possible for the fish to be there, the fish for human come to catch; the good soils for cultivation purposes; the small animals that birds of prey feed on. One community made of different communities.
The water in this particular case provides the main influence and attraction. In other areas it is something else-mountains, forests, sand, or a combination of others. Whatever the case, there is always a community of living things, surviving.
Unfortunately, an increase in the activities of, human always means a decrease in the number of species of animals and vegetation in a community. Human imposes the most destructive influence on the abundance of flora and fauna in a given ecological area. It can be put simply that man does not care; in short nature does not need human beings.
The more species there are in an area, the more naturally healthy the environment is. The concern today is that hundreds of species of plants and animals are being lost even before science understands them or before they are even documented. Furthermore, the importance of maintaining a healthy environment is so that those natural changes and cycles which create conditions for life to exist can continue.
Negative activities such as cutting down too many trees, throwing rubbish carelessly, putting dangerous chemicals in water, cultivating very dry or very wet areas, overgrazing, fires, disrupt natural changes to mention a few. The mentioned activities are a products of our daily lives of which we need to run-away. The continual of such activities becomes more dangerous when tolerated and if an end to it is not put or control measures been put in place. Think about it critically!
Natural changes in an environment such as the seasons of the year, and/or the water cycle, when thrown out of balance. What happens? When these natural cycles are disrupted, loss in fuel wood, water scarcity, reduced food production, polluted air, loss of habitat, loss of wild animals and domestic animals. That is not all, why are we depriving ourselves and our children’s children, of the opportunity for a better living in future.
You ask: so, what should I do? Well, in your day to day life think about the natural resources that you need, how much you use and how much you waste. Try to cut down. If it is charcoal, try the more efficient mbaula which loses less heat. If you have access to electricity, use it more. It is cheaper than charcoal or wood and fewer trees have to be cut down. Planting a tree is a way of giving back to nature so we can take again, later.
Old envelopes can be re-used and pieces of paper written on both sides rather than one. To save paper is to save trees. Unwanted bottles could be sold and plastic bags cleaned to be used again. Food left overs are ideal for compost to be used for gardening or to apply in the field.
Water is the abundant natural resource and it is used by everyone. Look out for water taps left running. Turn them off or report them to the authorities for repair. After washing your dishes and pots, that water can be used in your garden or to water lawns.
Less wastage and more efficiency is the one best adaptation that the human community needs, to care for its resources and to survive. What am I saying? To protect ourselves we must protect our environment; not to go by the distorted view of Darwin’s theory. Additionally to accept the limit of what we take away from environment.
Comment: Wildlife & Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia
P.O. Box 30255, Lusaka, Zambia.
Telefax: 260-211-251630, Cell: 0977-780770