March 9, 2021
  • 3:21 pm Glocal Sustainability- What we do…
  • 1:28 am Impact of Community Programs on Climate Change and Environmental Conservation
  • 2:39 pm Review of Human Element Movie (2019) By Moses Gitonga
  • 4:11 pm Benefits of agroforestry for smallholder farmers in Sub Saharan Africa
  • 10:17 am Tips for Living with Less Plastics
  • 10:48 pm No longer the opium of the poor; Linking Faith and Glocal Development

“We humans are a force of nature. At the same time human activities alter the basic elements of life – earth, air, water, and fire – those elements change human life in turn”. James Balog

James Balog, an experienced photographer and explorer, introduces the audience to how human activities suppress all other forces and re-shape the world. The movie has been developed to challenge us as humans on the role we play to change the world. For instance, Balog in the film investigates how altering our lifestyle affects the environment. For example, preference to use more gas tank private cars for movement will likely result in increased extraction of fossil fuels, which ultimately contributes to greenhouse gases that primary gas resulting in climate change. Besides, Balog in the field has showcased on the impacts of climate change, if humans fail to take the initiative to shift their lifestyle. As a result, there are impacts felt by the communities such as a rise in sea level which has affected the Tangier Island residents, increase in wildfires in California and Yadira Sanchez children living in Denver Colorado affected by asthma. According to Balog, he is hopeful with humans enlightened on the dangers they put themselves as a result of their human activities; there is hope in the fifth element, the human element which will ultimately restore the whole system to balance.

A firefighter putting out a fire

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James Balog documentation on the effect of climate change and how humans are chief responsible for the current devastating effects can be viewed as half-truths. Critiques may question the human element film given that urbanization and industrialization are needed for global development; it is not possible to halt development to preserve the environment. Besides, the human population is on the rise; an increase in human population directly affects the different natural resources given human now depends on their natural environment for survival. For instance, an increase in the human population required additional food production, which has resulted in the preference of using more greenhouses to increase food production and more land clearance to farm. Indeed, clearing of forest reduces greenhouse gas sink, but it is necessary to produce the needed foods to cater to the increased population. Thus, despite the knowledge on humans’ activities being held responsible for the increase in climate change some of the activities such as the need to increase food production, urbanization and development are integral for overall global economic growth. On the other hand, Balog has indicated humans can restore order in the environment. But this has not been easy with the significant international divisions in different climate talks. For instance, the United States is one of the significant contributors to greenhouse gases, yet under President Trump, it decided to pull from the Paris agreement. Despite the current president Biden restoring the Paris Agreement, it indicates different influential global leaders. They are not united to fight climate change as desired. Unlike other disasters which are regional climate change is global, despite the contributors of greenhouse gases, the effects are likely to be felt across the globe.

Climate change is a natural phenomenon, but due to increased human activities, climate change is being felt within shorter periods. After several years, the natural phenomenon such as floods, hurricanes, and typhoons is now being experienced several times a year. Climate change is real and being felt across the globe. For instance, as a result of climate change, the coastal communities are at risk of flooding, which will likely disrupt many coastal lifestyles as most depend on fishing as their primary economic source of income. Also, a rise in seal level contaminants inland freshwater systems. On the other hand, the political debates surrounding the best ways to deal with climate change can only be resolved when the global community agrees on a particular baseline. For instance, all nations need to decide how best to deal with climate change based on their development projections and possible effects they will cause to the environment. Majority of the developed countries such as Poland, USA and Czech often raise concerns on the baseline put to measure the level of their impact on climate change. Primarily Poland and the Czech Republic still depend on coal to develop and terminate coal mining will crumble their economy. Hence, for these nations to commit to dealing with climate change it is prudent that there be a baseline that can aid them financially to start on cleaner sources of energy for them to agree to disengage use of coal as their primary source of energy.

In summary, James Balog films the human element is an intriguing film allowing the viewers to have an opportunity to reflect their contribution to their environment. Climate change is real, and the effects of climate change are already being felt, as James Balog explained in the movie.

For instance, high asthma cases, wildfires disaster in California, and sea-level rise in the coastal region are evident issues due to Climate Change. Dealing with climate change needs a global commitment from all nations to undertake sustainable development.

With the increase in population, need to produce more foods and development initiatives, it has proved to be a challenge to undertake sustainable development.

Moses Gitonga



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