Fuelwood collection is not the major cause of deforestation, but development is the major cause. Government-sponsored development has forced farmers to switch to cash crops as a way of being part of the global economy. This, in addition to depleting already scarce natural resources, increases hunger and poverty. This calls for a clear understanding of the importance of fuelwood to the families in the third world. Kenya gives a good example as the home of the Green Belt Movement. It leaves one with questions whether the government extension workers the pain of spending hours fetching for firewood.
It leaves one in a dilemma of what to say to her children when you cannot prepare meals not because you are lazy but because all trees have been cleared. Many times the government blames the rural people, but I think the search for ways to solve the firewood dilemma should be our joint responsibility. World Bank Group records that while some theorists argue locals collecting fuelwood is the cause of vast deforestation, it is vividly clear that the cash crop other development policies are the true cause.
Since the time of British colonialism, tobacco has been one of the top freight to come out of Kenya. The British American Tobacco Company has intensified the problem of deforestation. This shows the impacts of cash crops in relation to deforestation. Many farmers have stopped food production and switched to growing tobacco. The Green Belt Movement along with other environmental organizations plans to sue the government on the basis that it is in violation of the Forest Act. The goal of Green Movement Kenya is to create a society of people who consciously work for continued improvement of their environment and a greener, cleaner Kenya and to plant one billion trees worldwide.
It organizes Kenyan poor rural women to plant trees, combat deforestation, restore their main source of fuel for cooking, generate income and stop soil erosion. Maathai has incorporated eco-tourism, advocacy, and empowerment for women and just economic development into the Green Belt Movement.
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