One of the topics that I enjoyed reporting on in the United States was environmental issues. Many scientists around the world say we are experiencing extreme climate change as a result of human actions such as driving and our overuse of energy. The main concern has been the release of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere from cars and factories, which has led to global warming that many scientists fear will be disastrous for life on Earth.
As I walk around Freetown, trying to avoid getting hit by oncoming traffic, I constantly must cover my mouth as black smoke shoots out of the tailpipe, leaving an ugly black cloud in its wake. Freetown is slowly trying to improve its infrastructure and industrialize itself to reach Western standards, but I hope this small country can learn from the mistakes of my own country as they transition toward an easier and more luxurious life. I understand Sierra Leone already has a number of social and economic issues it needs to focus on; but if the government can focus on the country’s environmental problems, then they can put themselves steps ahead of other African nations.
The United States is addicted to oil from Arab countries. We whine and complain about how expensive gas prices are, yet that doesn’t stop us from buying it because we need it. We never cared about the implications that oil would bring upon us, such as unclean breathing air. Despite the country’s attempts to transition to wind and solar energy “greener” energies, as Americans love to call it people still buy gas and buy cars that are not fuel efficient. We are wasteful with our resources. In doing this, we have harmed our environment, not just for ourselves, but for the entire world.
I hope as Sierra Leone slowly industrializes itself, the government can make valuable investments in wind and solar energy so as to benefit a people who have suffered enough tragedy already.
I say this, not to impose my Western ideas on a people who may not want to hear them, but to suggest that Sierra Leone can be a leader in energy efficiency if it does industrializes itself right the first time. Right now, concern is focused on countries such as China and India for their fast-paced industrialization. Huge skyscrapers were built; more cars were being driven; more factories were being open and as a result, more carbon dioxide has been released into the planet’s atmosphere.
Sierra Leone is a beautiful country with resilient people who have endured tragedies I could never dream of. The people here deserve a better lifestyle and I hope the government can do it right the first time as they slowly make that transition to a life that Westerners take for granted.