Stephen Mpofu Correspondent
Until just days ago post-modernity must have prided itself on having as its intrinsic characteristic the global community with which to fight any challenges as one unassailable force. However, any belief by any country in a universal fight against the world’s common environmental enemy may have been rendered a pipe dream by the United States’ decision to pull out of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference Agreement in Paris to protect mother Earth from further harm by toxic carbon gases being spewed into the atmosphere by irresponsible human behaviour.
Thus, USA President Donald Trump’s shock retreat from the Paris environmental treaty will go down in the annals of world history as a kind of unilateralism that is not only infamous, but universally catastrophic.
For lack of better words, the impact of America’s withdrawal from Paris has been such that it left many countries around the world suffering from high blood pressure.
France and Germany are among big European countries that have condemned Mr Trump’s decision for his country to opt out of the accord, with the new 39-year-old French President, Emmanuel Macron, inviting American environmental scientists who are themselves perplexed and angry at their government’s move to leave their native country and work from France.
Elsewhere, Cape Verde, an island state off Africa on the Atlantic Ocean, is known to have protested the decision by Trump to thumb his nose at the Paris environmental deal, aware of the devastating effects posed on it by heated up sea waters as a result of global warming.
But then guess what?
Not a whimper of protests at America’s grand environmental betrayal of the global village has been heard from African countries that stand to suffer the brunt of negative environmental consequences arising out of increased global warming since they themselves boast no advanced technologies for mitigating the effects of global warming.
It is certainly not uncharitable of this communicologist to suggest that the dependency syndrome on aid from America and the West in general appears to have mummified African leaders for fear that any comments construed as being unduly harsh will upset the apple cart ferrying aid for their impoverished countries.
But if the leaders’ loud silence is not a tragic irony then what is since a healthy environment augurs well for food production on which the continent concentrates?
Which is why Director of Communication and Marketing at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo, Felix Moyo, also expressed surprise at the lack of protests by African countries at America’s sabotage of the Paris accord — and with that also of the United Nations — since, he said, a good environment is a basic necessity for the production of food on which the leaders are concentrating to fill their people’s bellies.
Also an accomplished communicologist and environmental guru, Mr Moyo said because African leaders failed to stand up and be counted with others against endangering the world’s environment, the continent risked being lumped with toxic-contaminated products as well as with cheap technologies from the West which itself benefits from the continent’s gold and other precious minerals that bear no taint imperfection.
Needless to say, some countries in East Africa have in recent years had their crops washed away by floods as a result of global warming with Zambia and Zimbabwe in this part of the continent experiencing droughts that wiped out crops, causing food shortages and hunger with the result that much needed capital had to be spent on importing food from oversees.
Cyclonic weather patterns spawned by global warming have also caused incessant rains that left trails of disasters, including human drownings as well as the destruction of homesteads — an indication that worse is to come should the world not work in unison to prevent environmental degradation getting worse.
As it is, the ozone layer which shields the earth from the sun’s dangerous, ultraviolet rays is in a state of rigour mortis, thinned by toxic and other carbon gases in the atmosphere that trap the sun’s rays bouncing back from earth, thereby resulting in recurrent droughts and floods.
The Paris Environmental treaty seeks to change irresponsible human conduct vis-a-vis the environment to make the world a safer place to live for all.
Unfortunately, however, the American administration of mostly millionaires and billionaires with Mr Trump in the latter category, appears more concerned with protecting coal plants that generate power in their country and contribute significantly to environmental degradation.
It would appear that in spite of the coal plants becoming more expensive to run, the president of America nevertheless wishes to fulfil his campaign promises that coal plant workers among others would not lose their jobs if he became their head of state.
Moreover, the world should take cognisance of the fact that American factory owners have long been reluctant to modify their factory chimneys which have continued to pump toxic fumes or gases into the atmosphere.
They apparently fear that since a lot of money will be spent on such modifications, the cost would be passed on to consumers, making American products less competitive on the world market.
It appears, therefore, that in his desire to “make America great again” Mr Trump does not care what happens to people in other continents as long as Americans remain “great again” by also withdrawing aid to poor nations in order to build his military, as he has pledged to do.
Surely a great country is one that is respected for its illustrious leadership, including its concern and assistance for poorer nations, rather than being dreaded for being ferocious on account of its awe inspiring military, for instance.
As THE superpower, America should be exemplary in its leadership; otherwise China, an economic giant after the USA, might take over the superpower status from the West, with Russia working at full-throttle to wear the superpower mantle that the Soviet Union boasted before its disintegration.