The Green War Archive – November 20, 2020

Compiled and annotated by Yutaka Yokoyama (yokoyama10[at]gmail[dot]com)


November 8, 2020
“NOVEMBER WARMTH THAT JUST KEEPS ON GIVING”

MSN/The Weather Network (Canada):

“[T]here’s still one more full day to soak up the record-breaking, glorious late-fall weather … this stretch of November warmth that just keeps on giving, several new daily temperature records have already been broken. Some of these records, especially in northern Ontario, smashed the previous one by several degrees. … Toronto’s Pearson airport hit 20.1°C, beating out the previous record … the city of Ottawa … beat the last 21-degree day reported on November 8 … Peterborough, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie also all broke records …. Records fell again Monday, with eight Ontario communities setting new all-time November records. … In the north, Kapuskasing recorded its first 20-degree daytime high in November, reaching 21°C on Monday. Timmins hit 21.8°C, Sault Ste Marie reached 23°C and Moosonee warmed up to 19.6°C.”
Scripps Institution of Oceanography:
November 8, 2020, CO2 412.10 ppm
November 8, 2019, CO2 410.50 ppm
November 8, 2018, CO2 407.06 ppm
November 8, 2017, CO2 404.36 ppm
November 8, 2016, CO2 402.90 ppm
November 8, 2015, CO2 399.65 ppm
November 8, 2014, CO2 397.07 ppm
November 8, 2013, CO2 394.68 ppm
November 8, 2012, CO2 392.49 ppm
November 8, 2011, CO2 389.86 ppm
November 8, 2010, CO2 388.10 ppm
November 8, 2009, CO2 385.68 ppm
November 8, 2008, CO2 383.70 ppm
November 8, 1992, CO2 353.49 ppm (year of UNFCCC)
November 8, 1980, CO2 336.45 ppm
November 8, 1970, CO2 323.98 ppm
November 8, 1960, CO2 314.99 ppm

November 10, 2020

MORDECAI OGADA
Ecologist Mordecai Ogada talked to Wandia Njoya about “the decay of Kenyan intellectual life” (in a 51-minute interview posted to YouTube):

“Before [the structural adjustment programs of the 1980s and 90s] university was something you qualified for, and [then] you get funded to do your university studies. No one cared if you’re doing political science or arts or whatever you’re doing. You get the funding, and you pursue your dream or your vision to whatever fruition it reaches. When that ended, suddenly education got to be directed by who is giving you money or who you expected to get money from when you’re finished. And if you could not immediately perceive money, you don’t do it. …”

“And if you look at the time frame when this happened – this was the late eighties, early nineties – those people who started pursuing the whims of those who have money are now the senior professors. So there is no place a student in Kenya today can find a trajectory, because the person supervising him is intellectually hollow. And this is very clear from the academics who have found their ways into the Kenyan government or state machinery. They are prominent by their bluster, by their loudness, by their crassness …. They’re bullies. And you can talk to them for hours and – not just them but many academics in Kenya today – you can talk to him or her for hours and not get any hint of what he or she studied for her PhD. … Yeah, because it’s about ‘DR.’ It’s not about ‘I’m an expert in this’ or ‘I have these ideas.’ …”

“I’m not teaching in any Kenyan university and it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve applied in a number of Kenyan universities. And each time, I’ve got to the interview stage, and people get uncomfortable with my style, the way I present my ideas, the fact that when I’m asked about policy things I give current examples, in Kenya, where they’re failing, etc. So people get worried. … I’m not teaching in the system but I’ve done all my education from undergraduate to PhD in Kenyan universities, so I’ve seen and observed a lot of these teachers. And they’ve taught me for many years, and some of them became friends. …”

“[W]hen the AIDS pandemic hit the world … a couple decades ago – there was all this money mobilized to combat AIDS. Universities were identified as one of the hot spots in Kenya for HIV transmission, and every university got a bunch of money to set up AIDS control programs, awareness programs, put up posters, hand out condoms, all that kind of thing. And this was a very well financed office. And professors were put in charge of condom distribution. One of my… one of the best biostatisticians – I think he’s the best, he taught me all my biostats – he got moved to that office in Kenyatta University. And so we lost his biostats expertise, like that, because he was put in the AIDS control office. And it was seen actually… It was seen as a plum posting, because you’re in charge of some nice healthy budgeting, you’re in charge of good money there, and you basically don’t do anything. But it’s a grave loss to the students. Like right now … you find there’s a professor in charge of producing noodles, or yogurt or something. A full professor. …”

“When you take an expert in, let’s say in governance, and you put him in the accounts office, you’ve killed that questioning of governance. Because that guy’s stuck in the accounts office. If he’s a conservation person, you’ve killed those questions about how we are managing our parks. … A popular term for many years, although less used now, was ‘brain drain’ …. [But] the worst, crucial, brain drain is here within the country. The drain is here. … We don’t have nearly enough doctors in Kenya, but do you know how many doctors are in government positions that have nothing to do with medicine? Or in the banking sector? … You have engineers heading banks, yet we have infrastructural problems in this country. We’ve created a system where education is not for knowledge, it’s for papers. And the papers are to climb the ladder, not to advance your field, it’s to advance yourself. It’s to advance yourself, and [you] serve somebody for the sake of advancing yourself. … You’re a professor just by name. If I’m an engineer and I’m working in the bank, my engineering skills are dead. They’re gone. They’re flushed down the toilet. … And our youth, looking at this, our youth starts thinking, truly, justifiably, they start thinking, it doesn’t matter how hard I study at this thing I’m doing. It doesn’t matter. … The same cabinet, where a medical professor is running schools, has a PR expert running health. …”

Wandia Njoya: “Now, the other thing I wanted to ask about is race, the role of race in this whole mess that we have ….”

Mordecai Ogada: “The role of race – I’m coming from the conservation world – race in the conservation world in Kenya is everything. … When a white person enters into a room … where conservation issues are being discussed, the black Kenyans defer to him or her. It happens automatically. I’ve had this very strange situation where I’ve gotten into a meeting accompanied by a white person who is my student. And people start asking my student for her opinion … thinking, oh there’s the expert. … This happens all the time here. … A Kenyan with a PhD having studied wildlife ecology to PhD level within this country struggles to be heard over a white person with a high school education – often fails to be heard over that person.”

Wandia Njoya: “And what is your experience trying to raise this issue with fellow Kenyan academics?”

Mordecai Ogada: “Most Kenyan academics … in the conservation field, I’d say 97% of them — ‘As long as I’m getting per diem it’s fine, as long as I’m getting my salary it’s fine, as long as I have that office it’s fine.’ … And having a black face with a PhD is very helpful to any conservation organization. But you’re put in an administrative office, where you sign forms and [you sign] vehicle work tickets and stuff, and you earn a good salary, and you never talk science or policy. … We have drained our university without even losing the staff. We have drained it from within. It’s like cancer. It destroys from within.”