By April Kummerer
Climate change has recently made its effects more apparent to Americans with the growing prevalence of unseasonable weather. Characterized by frequent winter storms and varying conditions, global warming is becoming more of a hot topic with Americans, some of whom identify as climate change skeptics in the face of empirical evidence. Its affects in the United States have varied between the aforementioned frequency of storms and unseasonably warm temperatures, as well as the variation of drought and flood conditions that have worsened considerably for states like California, as demonstrated by its 2016-17 state.
As unwelcomed as our climatological changes are, other areas of the globe have incurred more severe and detrimental conditions. Multiple areas of the Horn of Africa have experienced the severely negative effects of climate change. The majority of Kenya, specifically the north, have experienced extreme droughts that have increased in both intensity and frequency. The region is no stranger to droughts that have left residents desperate for the simple relief of rain; however, the droughts recently experienced by the region are more exacerbated than those which commonly occurred. The recorded climate in Northern Kenya has been hotter and drier, and the region has reportedly dried faster in the last hundred years than in the 2,000 prior. In the last twenty years alone, the area has experienced four severe droughts that have left dead livestock and crops and malnourished populations in their wake.
Residents of this region have experienced starvation, severe dehydration, and economic hardship as a result of the effects of climate change reported by local scientists. Mariao Tede, a resident of Northern Kenya, reported an inventory of 200 goats prior to the 2011 drought. After the deaths in her declining livestock due to the succession of the 2011 and 2017 severe droughts, Tede reported that she was left with five goats. This quantity is insufficient for selling, milking, or slaughtering for meat. This epidemic has forced farmers, such as Tede, to pursue other, less sustainable sources of income. Tede told the New York Times that she now gathers wood to produce charcoal, however, this process further hinders their climate, as it strips the land of its trees. This process prevents the little rain received by the region from soaking into the ground.
These issues of climatological change have the “fingerprints of global warming,” as reported by the New York Times, and are human-induced. Scientists advise that farmers in the region reevaluate and possibly change the crops they grow due to the evolving standard of the soil and that infrastructure, such as reservoirs, be developed to accommodate for the unpredictable changes in the climate.