Africa is the cradle of humankind. Our earliest ancestors appeared in eastern Africa about 300,000 years ago, then spread around the globe. Today, we are so prolific, and yet so disconnected from the true source of life, that our actions have placed us on the brink of extinction. But Africa has the power today to be our champion in calling us back to a healthy world. Here is why.
As 14,000 tons of Arctic ice melt away every second in a growing humanitarian and environmental crisis that threatens coastlines and food and water supplies all over the world, the call has never been more urgent for humanity to set aside differences and come together as one Earth family to safeguard our future.
We have that opportunity with MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. It protects our planetary life support system. It gives a much needed catalyst to our global pivot away from fossil fuels to renewables. And it unites our world in affirming the long-term good of all life over the short-term gain of a few.
The United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) taking place in Nairobi, Kenya this March 11-15 will see a convergence of high-level government officials from around the world. It is the perfect event for humanity to declare that the short-sighted business-as-usual consumption of our planet must give way to a new vision of peace, interconnection, mutual respect, and global prosperity. MAPS represents the best parts of what make us human. There is no more appropriate and powerful place for this vision to take root and spread across the world than from the birthplace of our species.
Parvati.org will be on site in Nairobi, led by Director of Strategic Initiatives Darcy Belanger (featured in this month’s MAPS Ambassador column) and Africa Lead Omesa Mokaya, advocating for MAPS among the 54 African nations.
Omesa has been campaigning for environmental conservation since completing university in 2015, and has been involved in policy dialogues aimed at informing climate action, especially in Kenya and in Africa. Vocal in advocacy and lobbying, peaceful protests and marches, writing and social media, he has been repeatedly quoted in print and broadcast media.
He says, “As the Africa Lead for the organization’s MAPS UNEA 4 Signature Campaign, I look forward to leveraging this assembly to have all the African Governments sign the MAPS Treaty that is geared towards protecting our common home. There is no Planet B. Therefore, the best time to act is now.”
Omesa is a strong supporter of sustainable development through addressing the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). MAPS directly supports nearly 80% of the SDGs. In the broadest sense, MAPS helps accelerate the realization of them all, because MAPS protects all life. MAPS has been endorsed by a growing signmaps.org coalition that includes luminaries such as Dr. Jane Goodall and former Seychelles president James Michel.
Omesa adds, “I am standing for something bigger than myself or any other individual. And that is what I want to be remembered for long after I am gone: the one who ensured future generations after him found and had a habitable planet.”
Other members of the dynamic Parvati.org MAPS team on the ground in Nairobi will include Abigael Kima, who is completing her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at Kenyatta University and works to educate children and youth about environmental initiatives; and Dorothy Akende, a Nigerian social entrepreneur and humanitarian. Abigael says, “My goal for UNEA is that we get our country Kenya to sign the MAPS Treaty, and also create awareness of how individuals can play a role.” Dorothy adds, “Please sign MAPS to protect the world’s smallest yet most crucial ocean.”
Many more MAPS team members are already active in their respective countries across Africa in support of UNEA, like news reporter Caroline Wambui Gacheru and social entrepreneur Pauline Owiti in Kenya; Team 54 Project National Coordinator Samson Sehgren in Liberia; and My Self Uganda director and founder Ssemujju Abdallah Lawrence in Uganda.
The MAPS Africa team knows what happens in the Arctic affects them and us all. Its members are passionate and enthusiastic advocates for a healthy planet. They catalyze Africa’s nations to send reverberations across the world for MAPS that cannot be ignored. These nations have the power to roar in the voice of a mighty mother lion, reaching down through the millennia and along the infinite paths that her children have wandered, to wake them into alertness and call them home to safety.
Parvati.org is a not-for-profit dedicated to a healthy world. Its first order of business is the realization of MAPS: the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary, an effective step to cool our planet and keep our oceans alive.