Energy crisis or environmental catastrophe?

Energy is one of the major drivers of the economy but that should not come at the expense of the environment. Zambia, being a member of the United Nations and a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals Charter, needs to promote clean sources of energy.  

Energy is one of the major drivers of any economy and plays a significant role in the improvement of lives of the people in any place. Energy is  a basic necessity in people’s lives. The energy sector in Zambia has had its fair share of challenges. From the 1970s until about the year 2015, the level of investment in the energy sector in Zambia significantly declined. The major source of energy in Zambia is hydro power which does not meet the demands of a growing population and a burgeoning economy.  

According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on Energy, ensuring universal access to affordable electricity by 2030 means investing in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal. Adopting cost-effective standards for a wider range of technologies could also reduce the global electricity consumption by buildings and industry by 14 percent. This means avoiding roughly 1,300 mid-size power plants. Expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean energy sources in all developing countries is a crucial goal that can both encourage growth and help the environment.  

The Zambian law makers have serious decisions to make regarding the protection of the environment and the adoption of clean energy practices for the long-term benefits of the country and the citizens at large. Zambia being a signatory to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Charter means that the country needs to be more proactive in promoting cleans sources of energy.  

The Zambian economy is becoming more industralised and technologically advanced. Therefore, this requires that the energy sector is on par with the growing demands for energy. The country needs to have adopted different forms of energy for the full accomplishment of its economic potential coupled with the growing population.  

Zambia is a country blessed with vast space of land which is covered in vegetation. To meet the demands of energy, many locals turn to the cheaper and easier to find source of energy which is charcoal. This source of energy comes at a cost of cutting down trees. The sound of trees being cut or falling in the thick forest of the Southern African nation is a sound of an environmental catastrophe.  

Zambia is blessed with many tree species and these tree species are slowly being lost to the quest for the cheaper source of energy. The artificial vacuum that has been created by lack of meaningful investment in the sector s is also a blessing in disguise. The charcoal process has been a source of employment for some people who are able to cut down trees and produce a fine article called charcoal. They have been relentless cutting down trees to meet the growing demand for the commodity. Zambia’s natural forest is slowly vanishing to charcoal burning activities.   

The cutting down of trees for charcoal burning purposes is seriously posing a climate change threat. The country is also losing some of the endangered tree species which are also being protected by the international community. The trees provide good shield of the ground from direct sunlight and prevents the environment from experiencing high temperatures. The trees are good wind breakers but since the trees are no longer there to provide the necessary cover, the environment has been experiencing extreme conditions.  

Due to the environmental activities of willfully cutting down trees, the country has experienced unprecedented levels of catastrophic moments. The country has experienced floods in diverse places. Currently, the most affected region is the Luapula Province with much of the province covered in floods. The Southern Province recently experienced a dry spell by not having rains for much of the previous rainy season. The winter season has been extremely cold at times and the summer has also been extremely hot at times. All these can be attributed to the environmental activity of sourcing cheaper form of energy.  

The country is now faced with a major decision to make, either to improve the energy sector for the betterment of the environment, or remain content with the current situation and see the country lose the environment to the cheaper and affordable source of energy for the citizens.  

The country should protect its environment and improve the energy sector in order to strike a balance. The country should prioritize the energy sector by educating the citizens to go for clean sources of energy and enacting laws that promote sustainable sources of energy. This will help the country avert a looming environmental catastrophe.   

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