a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
It was a Tuesday afternoon as the sun hung boldly unto the sky gleaming upon all below. Mr. Johnson had just got off the airplane in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, and was immediately led into the already waiting Sedan car with a motorcade. Mr. Johnson, a United Nations envoy, was on a three day visit to Kenya in order to sensitize and throw more light on the issue of global warming and its dangers as an effort by the United Nations to battle this looming disaster.
Mr. Johnson was to meet the Kenyan Foreign Minister before embarking on the three day sensitization programme most especially in the rural areas where he will have to go to houses one after the other if possible to sensitize them about global warming and the impending doom associated with it and in most cases, present to some communities solutions to curb the emission of greenhouse gases. Soon, he arrived the GRA located within temple road Nairobi, the residence of the Kenyan foreign minister.
Good afternoon sir, welcome to Kenya
said a heavily built guard with a smile as he opened the door for Mr. Johnson to alight, he simply replied with a smile and got serious again, he had seen a large cloud of smoke rising tirelessly into the clouds about four poles away from the foreign minister’s residence and it slightly angered him since he thought the menace would have been curbed by now and if not, at least not near the minister’s house
It’s nice having you Mr. Johnson Smith, welcome to Kenya
Ambassador Kigamu said as they shook hands with a blend of diplomatic poise. Mr. Johnson when asked, could describe his reception in Kenya as a good one or better still, above average; the motorcade, the red carpet reception and the great culinary skills displayed by the Kenyan chefs, at least, he could rate above par but couldn’t the government for God’s sake make proper use of this money to develop their energy sector and improve the standard of living so as to cub the release of greenhouse gases and by effect, save planet earth?
He was almost thinking aloud again perhaps in a situation which one could say is triggered by passion which of course Mr. Johnson had for his job, he had traveled to over forty countries in the quest for the implementation of means to curb the emission of greenhouse gases as it does nothing but destroy the ozone layer, thereby giving free access to the sun’s scorching temperature which leads to global warming. A reasonable amount of success had been recorded, but this was his fifth time in Africa and first time in Kenya. Soon he was called up to the podium to address the members of the Kenyan government, as he rode upon the waves of passion dishing out with smart tides the importance of ending release of greenhouse gases and the good it would do to earth. He was applauded by what could be termed a minority of the government officials while others spoke in whispers wearing long faces.
Mr. Johnson perhaps via rumor heard about some government officials being importers of generators into the country which they make lots of money from, while they hoard solar panels sent in from the United Nations to the masses and sell them at exorbitant prices which can only be afforded by the rich, he confirmed this rumor to be true, and swore to dismantle this nonsensical structure, but had to be very smart about it. The following day was scheduled for visitations to rural areas, he had to do his best, which in an attempt to, he got an interpreter, Dr. Ukimu, a polyglot and Ph.D. holder in Linguistics, fluent in English, Spanish and some Kenyan indigenous languages, who would help translate all he would say to those who doesn’t understand English.
The next day was sunny, Mr. Johnson was happy, at least he wouldn’t be disturbed by the rain as early ember months were characterized by occasional rain storm, he needed as much people as possible to receive a portion of the knowledge which could save our planet, perhaps the incessant thunder bolts and lightening that made brief announcement of its presence was for sure a phenomenon which usually marked the disappearance of weeping skies, in other words, Mr. Johnson was sure it wasn’t going to rain, with the arrival of the driver attached to him, they left with Dr. Ukimu for the market square.
Upon arrival, Mr. Johnson was so happy at the sight he beheld, not less than five hundred people from the various tribes within and beyond the borders of Nairobi gathered for the seminar, he was indeed happy that this number of people were concerned about global safety and would leave their various areas of specialization cum comfort zone to attend this enlightenment programme. The Seminar began on a good note as Mr. Johnson went forward to define and explain global warming, drawing illustrations from factual events
The world average temperature is rising due to the greenhouse effect caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide. When the global temperature changes the changes in climate are not expected to be uniform across the Earth. In particular, land areas change more quickly than oceans, and northern high latitudes change more quickly than the tropics, and the margins of biome regions change faster than their cores.
He paused, took a sip of water, and went further to produce a map highlighting cities in Africa at risk due to sea-level rise, and their dimensions.
In the 20th century, sea levels rose by an estimated seventeen centimeters, and the conservative global mean projections for sea-level rise between 1990 and 2080 range from twenty two centimeters to thirty four centimeters. Oceans, which have been absorbing eighty per cent of the temperature increase attributable to global warming, are expanding as ice sheets in the north and south poles melt. These events have led to a rise in sea levels and increased flooding in coastal cities. The projected rise in sea levels could result in catastrophic flooding of coastal cities. Thirteen of the world’s 20 megacities are situated along coastlines.
He continued with a rather displeased facial expression as Dr. Ukimu’s translation planted the same expression upon the faces of the people, an evidence which showed how much they loved their environment and how willing they were to prevent the happenstance of losing it to any environmental hazard such as global warming. Mr. Johnson finally ended the seminar by making reference to the Great Barrier Reef which is currently at the verge of extinction due to the increase in temperature thereby killing off some aquatic creatures
I will now take your questions
He said, confidently, in a rather pleasant tone, Dr. Ukimu selected few questions which he deemed thoughtful and important wrote them down, got their answers from him and translated them to the curious waiting ears, such questions included the proper way of burning unwanted waste or dirt so as to cut down the emission of carbon dioxide, to which he answered that the installation of advanced incinerators at strategic points would solve that problem. The seminar came to an end once Mr. Johnson was sure that the curious faces of the locals had relaxed with satisfaction, he knew it was time to retire to his room in the hotel.
Once he was dropped off at the hotel, he got to his room, sank into the sofa and sunk into a pensive mood
How can the property of the United Nations given to the people to help our planet be hoarded and sold off by the foreign minister and his cohorts?
He soliloquized, pacing up and down the length of his room, he got across to the chairman of the U.N. security council via telephone and upon reporting the crime of hoarding supervised by the Kenyan foreign minister, he asked for the release of six Interpol officers incognito before dawn as they would be very much needed. Mr. Johnson soon became really worried, he had just received a mail that the rise in sea level was rising to twenty meters above the normal sea level and of course, this called for an immediate response.
The next morning was bright as though the Sun learnt of a new occurrence waiting to go nude to reality’s curious eyes. It stood boldly in the sky shining brightly upon all beneath it when a knock was heard at the residential building of the Kenyan foreign minister, the Interpol was in Ambassador Uhuru Kigamu’s house with Mr. Johnson leading the way. Co-incidentally, the foreign minister was on his way out and upon his appearance from the entrance, he was arrested and taken down to the secret warehouse where all the materials being donated to the people were stacked and piled up for sale
So this is how you defraud the United Nations, I hope you know the gravity of the offence which you have committed and very much ready to dance to its soundtrack?
Mr. Johnson said wearing a sad look on his face
I am highly disappointed in you Ambassador Uhuru he continued
It wasn’t intentional
Replied the foreign minister as he wore a pitiful expression reeking of regret
I hope you explain that to the international criminal court
Two Interpol officers arrested and moved him into one of the Land Cruiser SUVs.
They will be moving him to the U.N. headquarters in New York where he will be charged for the crime he committed
Mr. Johnson said as he turned giving Dr. Ukimu a handshake for revealing such a top hidden secret. A crowd had gathered to watch their oppressor get whisked away and a sigh of relief graced their various faces rumpled by sadness and denial of basic amenities, Dr. Ukimu since taking up the job of becoming Mr. Johnson’s interpreter had briefed him on the secretive means by which the foreign minister always transported the materials brought in by the United Nations, to a safe house located off the outskirts of their town and would always come up with a flimsy excuses to douse the curiosity of the educated few who dared to be inquisitive.
Mr. Johnson had his stay in Kenya extended to a week, as he supervised the fixing of solar panels, windmills, as well as the mounting of incinerators at strategic points to curb the production of greenhouse gases. The following week began quite solemn on a Monday morning, the morning he was getting ready to travel to Uganda for the supervision of solar panels and other eco friendly materials, the cloud wore a vile look as the sun hung weakly upon fluffy clouds, so it seemed. Mr. Johnson got a phone call and after a minute his face melted into a mixture of disappointment and surprise, it was a call from the climate change arm of the United Nations. The Chief meteorologist, Pilkins Glen, had just told him about the slow and alarming disappearance of the Great Barrier Reef as he read out an important piece from a paper on the findings so far
After inspecting every one of its reefs, and surveying them on an almost species-by-species basis, the paper reports that vast swaths of the Great Barrier Reef were permanently transformed in the summer of 2016. The reef’s northern third, previously its most pristine section, lost more than half of its corals. Two of its most recognizable creatures, the amber-colored staghorn corals, and the flat, fanlike tabular corals, suffered the worst casualties.
Mr. Johnson shuddered as Pilkins went on to inform him about the biggest iceberg within the Antarctica region melting completely during the past week thereby predicted a hundred feet wave, making an inland hit within seventy two hours into Lagos, a Nigeria state.
Maybe we haven’t done enough, more should be done!
He exclaimed, picking up his jacket as he left for the airport.
Iwuagwu Ikechukwu is an African poet, a graduate of English and Literary studies from Imo State University, Owerri. He won the poetrynook week 190 poem of the week and week 194 honourable mention respectively which are now in the volume five paperback edition of the poetrynook anthology available on Amazon. He was also a runner up in the 2018 first edition of the krystalpen poetry spoken word contest.