Climate change and religion
By John Njue
It is said that there has been gradual change since 1997 after the Elnino rain. The residents say that there has been unpredictability and uncertainty of the climate. Research has found that climate change has got a lot effects/impacts and people are trying their level best to adapt.
Literally there some factors that shouldn’t have been compared whatsoever. Climate change and religion is one of the factors. Climate change seems to be very different from the latter .Climate change is affecting religion as an adaptation strategy. One of these is an atmospheric and another one is a social factor.
Kyuso District is one of the Districts in Eastern Province of Kenya, where drought is one of the main problems affecting farming process. The District borders Kitui district to the south, Mwingi district to the west, Mbeere and Tharaka to the north and
According to the 1999 population census data the district has a population of about 303,828 persons. The district was said to have a population density of 30 persons per km square in 1999.people from these area lives away from town and therefore the population density of Kyuso market is expected to be lower.
Apart from the district having less population there has been emergency of numerous churches. In Kyuso market which is one (1) kilometer diameter there is over 10 churches. The interior of the district such as Twimyua, Mataka, Nguni, Kamuwongo, Mumoni ,Katse, Tseikuru and Kimanago has got other churches and branches of churches found in the market. The people who live in the market are people from other areas of the country. These people are working in Government ministries, Parastatals, Non-governmental organizations and Community Based Organizations. The churches found here are classified as Protestants, catholic, Pentecostal and evangelical churches. Some of these institutions are weak because of lack of funding
In the time of our grandfathers, family members used to be very busy in their farms, hunting, Weaving, modeling and grazing. Due to climate change there has been extensive drought in Kyuso, lack of pasture and wild animals have migrated due to destruction of their habitat .The animal also ceased due to killing and slaughtering by residents for meat in their homes. Due to reduction of these activities the people have become idle.
As an adaptation to climate change effects, Kyuso residents have thought if they stay near their God everything will be okay. Most of people from this area have lost hope and therefore have no otherwise than starting and joining churches so that when almighty lord will come they may be found holy. The community believes that the extensive drought is an indication that it’s the end of the world.
Due to inadequate rainfall, level of poverty in Kyuso is high because most of the residents are farmers. Per house holds of 5.16 that is available land per person is 3.0 ha. These seeming to large hectares attributed to farming. People have developed a different income generating activities as an adaptation to climate change. Many people have started churches not as social/religious site but income generating sites. Pastors/priests and fathers are doing their level best to market their churches so as to attract more ‘customers’. Mediums like brochures, fliers, and door to door initiatives are used.
However much the people are starting churches as a coping strategy, there has been a big challenge of inadequate infrastructure in the area. Kyuso district has a few road network and hence making traveling or moving of Goods and services from one place to another near miss .The main road serving Kyuso is Mwingi-Tsiekuru road which is a weather road with a lot of corogation. The other road networks are worse than this .The church might be good but there might be inaccessibility due to poor infrastructure.
Due to increase in temperature ,an impact of climate change shelters are usually very hot .The average day temperature in Kyuso ranges from 230C- 42OC.Due to extreme temperature in churches during the day ,worship and prayer meeting are organized at night. The meeting starts at 6.30pm and ends at 2.00pm and sometime the following day. This is an adaptation mechanism to cope with extreme temperature.
Open air fellowship locally known as “kesha” have become very common in this area. At the evening the congregation gathers in an open place usually along the road for prayer/worship .Men, women, and youth and children inclusive worships through out the night in the open. This open air meetings has brought about the issues of prostitution. Despite the fact that the night is the best time for these activities. Some men, women and children have taken an advantage of these opportunities for practicing prostitution for cash. Climate has change and there has been reduction in farm/livestock productivity and therefore prostitution is mistaken for an income generating activity here.
The average daily condition recorded over a period of time usually 30years and above has changed. Climate change has brought about a lot of effects. These effects and impacts is the cause of daily problems we experience. It has happened and people should encourage efficiency trend in consumption of energy as an option to limit the emission of carbon in the air.
In the issue of emergency of churches the government should provide a regulatory framework to people starting new churches and denomination. Condition should be put in place to avoid business in churches although this is an adaptation .People should develop better adapting ways .Ability to shape or respond to the change is the best way, where people develop positive ways of living.