The BBC World Service Have Your Say programme of 4th May, revealed something that made me shiver. On the subject of the introduction into the market of a device that helps expectant parents know the sex of their unborn child, some contributors to the programme supported its potential for causing widespread abortion of unwanted babies. They argued that the world is overpopulated and therefore the device can be good for population control.
Though shocked at that line of argument, I had chosen not to give it any more attention but it came back to haunt me when the programme went on to discuss global warming. Listeners were being asked what they thought about the fact that developing countries are being told that if they developed to the levels of the first world countries, planet Earth would not be able to cope with the resultant negative effects on the environment. It got methinking: if some people in the western world are concerned about the global population being too big, what would stop a deliberate move to increase carbon emissions thus triggering accelerated global warming that would decimate those most vulnerable in the third world in order to achieve desirable population levels?
This may sound a little far-fetched but if such questions were asked in their respective situations, the Holocaust and the Balkan and Rwanda genocides would probably have been foreseen and stopped before they happened. The thought of this has increased my resolve to support accelerated economic growth and industrialisation in Uganda at whatever cost because time is not on our side. Only a richer and self-sustaining Uganda can defend itself best against any threats including global warming as we now see with China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil and other countries. These countries have used economic growth to ensure that their people are insulated against many of the threats that Uganda is still very vulnerable to.
Contrary to what the Ugandan elite would like to believe, Uganda's is not a stand-alone environment. The whole world is warming up (that iswhy it is called global warming) not just because Uganda's forests are threatened but more because of the economic growth, industrialisation and increased consumption in developed countries. Tackling climate change is supposed to be a global effort with every country working in tandem. However, the world is far away from reaching any concrete agreement because of the inequalities among nations. The richer nations will not sacrifice their growth so that poverty-stricken Uganda can survive while, ironically, some Ugandans are willing to sacrifice human lives that would be saved through the gaining of livelihoods that comes with growth.
The Ugandan and third world elite and governments should look at global warming and industrialisation more as questions of national security, sovereignty and survival than merely issues of the environment and economics.