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Now The Taps are Dry: Poetry, Environmentalism and Water Conservation

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My Inspiration for Conservation: A Water Crisis and Wangari Maathai

I must start off with a confession, I never used to pay much attention to environmental conservation. I would listen to people talk about the importance of planting trees and saving forests and I would never do anything about it. The last time I planted a tree was in high school as part of the Green Belt Movement activities at our school. Well recently the importance of environmental and water conservation was driven home to me in a very personal and sobering way. For the first time in a very long time I woke up to dry taps. Now anyone who has lived through a water shortage crisis knows that this is a rather unpleasant experience, especially for those of us who take water for granted. I thought this was just a temporary problem but now two weeks down the line and many news briefs later it has hit me that we are having a serious water crisis in my country. This water crisis has been a long time in the making and is largely a result of deforestation. Now we are finally reaping the bitter fruit of our careless ways and I am not sure when we are going to get out of this mess. I hope the taps will start flowing again soon but in reality I doubt it. In the meantime we are living with water rationing schedules and for the first time many of us are having to take steps to conserve water. Furthermore, our citizens most of whom are poor are now faced with a situation where they are forced to buy water for their basic needs and for some of them it is literally a choice between buying water and other necessities like food. The purchase of water from dubious sources leads to all sorts of attendant problems such as contaminated water been sold and causing cholera outbreaks like the one we have recently witnessed. Aside from leading to drought and water shortages, deforestation is also a leading cause of global warming. It is unfortunate that a large segment of people do not realize the dangers we face from environmental degradation as a result of our destructive activities. Perhaps, because they are for the time being cushioned from the negative consequences of their activities. In the meantime poor developing nations and poor people continue to suffer most from the effects of enviromental destruction. It is my hope that the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference will come up with concrete measures to address the negative effects of climate change. But more so it is my hope that each of us will begin to take action to preserve the environment both for ourselves and future generations.The following environment poem was inspired by the sadness I feel over the current water crisis and drought in my country. The "She" alluded to in this poem is Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, a native of my country who was persecuted for warning Kenyans over the very situation that we are now facing. As they say, "A prophet is always reviled in (her) homeland." (Wangari Maathai passed away on September 25th, 2011 from ovarian cancer).

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Now The Taps Are Dry: Environment Poem by Injete Chesoni

She told us to plant trees
and we paid her no heed
And now the taps are dry.

They released
a water rationing schedule today,
a water conservation measure
they say,
Because the taps are dry.

We should have rationed our greed
and paid her heed,
when she told us not to cut down forest trees,
but we did not see the wisdom of her pleas,
And now the taps are dry.

We thought that the price of food was high
Until we had to choose what to buy,
Food or the liquid of life?
Yesterday, I had to explain to my daughter,
that the choice was between food and water,
Now that our taps are dry.

Who would have thought
That the day would come,
When we would stand under God’s glorious sun,
And buy water by the gallon.
We cannot say that we did not see it coming,
Because she gave us ample warning,
That soon the day would be dawning,
When we would wake up one morning,
And find that our taps were dry.

So now we are taking conservation measures,
A little too late
We are reclaiming our treasures,
That were squandered and plundered
To suit the whims of a few.
We lacked forethought,
And we should have fought,
Just as she taught,
To protect the liquid of life.
We should have been as far-sighted as she,
Who told us not to cut down trees,
Then perhaps today we would not be crying
Over the fact that our taps are drying.

Environment Poem by Injete Chesoni: Image Courtesy of:

Water Conservation Tips: Five Easy Ways To Conserve Water

1. Do not leave taps running.

2. Fix Dripping Taps.

3. Turn off the garden hose when you are not using it.

4. Take 5-Minute Showers.

5. Educate others on water conservation measures.

100 Ways to Conserve Water

Wikipedia Water Conservation Link

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