Sample Environmental Studies Paper on The great plague (of locusts)

There has been an extremely dangerous increase in locust swarm activity reported in Kenya, the East African regional body reported this week. One swarm measured 60km (37 miles) long and 40km (25 miles) wide in the country’s northeast, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said in a statement. The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species, has also affected parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea. Parts of South Sudan and Uganda could be next, the IGAD warned.

Locust swarms devastate crops and cause major agricultural damage and attendant human misery—famine and starvation. They occur in many parts of the world, but today locusts are most destructive in sustenance farming regions of Africa. The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is notorious. Roughly the length of a finger, the insects fly together by the millions. They devour crops and destroy grazing plots, threatening food production and local economies. Desert Locust plagues can develop in a recession area that extends from West Africa to India; an area equivalent to about 16 million square km. Scattered solitarious locusts breed on winter, spring and summer rains that fall sporadically in this area. If heavy rains fall in successive seasonal breeding areas, the locusts will gregarize and, unless prevented by control, drought or migration to unsuitable habitats, plagues can form.


The current outbreak is making the region’s bad food security situation worse, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with hundreds of thousands of acres of crops destroyed.

Desert Locust swarms in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia – already unprecedented in their size and destructive potential – could swell exponentially and spill over into more countries in East Africa if efforts to deal with the voracious pest are not massively scaled up across the region, FAO warned today. “This has become a situation of international dimensions that threatens the food security of the entire subregion. FAO is activating fast-track mechanisms that will allow us to move swiftly to support governments in mounting a collective campaign to deal with this crisis,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “Authorities in the region have already jump-started control activities, but in view of the scale and urgency of the threat, additional financial backing from the international donor community is needed so they can access the tools and resources required to get the job done,” Qu said. “FAO stands ready to leverage our expertise and facilitate a coordinated regional response,” he added.


According to the FAO, In Ethiopia, the insects are moving steadily south towards the Rift Valley, the country’s breadbasket. Ethiopia and Somalia have not seen Desert Locust swarms of this scale in 25 years, while Kenya has not faced a locust threat of this magnitude in 70 years.


Food and Agriculture Origination of the United Nations. 2020. Massive, border-spanning campaign needed to combat locust upsurge in East Africa. Ravenous swarms threaten entire East Africa subregion – FAO scales up its emergency response. URL available at:\


Hervey, G. 2020. Locusts swarm into Kenya as UN warns of ‘extreme danger’ to food supply. The Guardian. URL available at:


Kasina, M. 2020. What you should know about desert locusts and how to handle them. Daily Nation. URL available at:


Locust watch. 2020. Climate change and Desert Locust. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. URL available at:

Mwangi/Reuters, N.2020. In Pictures: Locust outbreak spreads across East Africa

Officials warn numerous swarms pose ‘unprecedented’ threat to food security and livelihoods in parts of the region. Aljazeera. URL available at:

Peckham, M. 2013. Locust Swarms Descend on Egypt Like Biblical Plague. Time. URL available at:

Symmons, P. M &Cressman, K. 2001. Desert Locust Guidelines 1. Biology and behaviour. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome. URL available at:



Climate what?

When we think about climate change, our government leaders and politicians must begin to think beyond their term limits and lifetimes. They must ask themselves how they can contribute to our species progress. They must think beyond the short term economic benefits of fossil fuels, and consider the long term costs to our planet.

The United Nations Environment Programme on the 12 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland, saw 15 international organizations jointly announce a commitment to make their operations climate neutral.  The organizations will measure their greenhouse gas emissions, reduce them as much as possible and compensate the currently unavoidable ones with credible carbon credits.   Some of the participating organizations have already achieved climate neutrality, while others are getting started in this journey. However, others that were advanced in their sustainability strategy are now going further by committing to go all the way to climate neutrality.

USAID have written various reports depicting that these organisations, together with government can play a big role by enacting policies that encourage a speedy transition to clean energy such as wind and solar. The world has made a lot of progress in this direction in recent years, but we still have a very long way to go. Governments – state, local, and federal – have a lot of tools at their disposal to accelerate this.

Jeff Goodell author at Rolling Stone has mapped out important tools to accelerate the transition to clean energy include setting state-wide standards for renewable energy production (renewable portfolio standards), such as changing laws and regulations that make it difficult for solar and wind generators to connect to the grid, maintaining aggressive vehicle emissions standards, and cutting subsidies to fossil fuel industries. The biggest and most powerful – and most controversial – would be to put a tax or a fee on carbon.

Many countries have adapted their legislations to create a better and healthier environment.  The Climate Change Performance Index has noted Denmark as the most climate friendly country in the world and is on the path to be completely independent of fossil fuels by 2050. With the most effective policies for reducing carbon emissions and using renewable energy. However, the index has further stated that while Denmark is placed fourth by many rankings, it is actually the highest-ranking in the world. Sadly, there was no actual first, second or third place in the rankings since no country was considered “worthy” of the positions. the Climate Change Performance Index leaves the top three slots of its rankings blank with a footnote that reads, “None of the countries achieved positions one to three. No country is doing enough to prevent dangerous climate change.” As global temperatures and sea levels rise and the agricultural patterns, we depend on for sustenance are disrupted, the index is a reminder that no country—not even France or Sweden—is doing everything right.

Comparing Kenya to Denmark cannot be done, however Kenyan government has worked intensely over the past few years and has passed a Climate Change Bill, has in place a National Climate Change Strategy and National Climate Change Action Plan, and has prepared a draft national climate change framework policy and a draft climate finance policy. These identify the government’s priority actions for increasing resilience to climate change. They also enable the government to establish specific institutions empowered to coordinate and implement these priority actions.

USAID has further stated that Kenya is developing crucial climate change policies and legislation, such as the Climate Change Policy Frame Work, Climate Change Bill, and the National Climate Change Finance Policy and Budget Codes. In addition, over $13 million private finance will be leveraged through USAID’s Power Africa initiative to support household access to renewable energy and connection to the national grid. USAID has also partnered with scientific organizations to build the capacity of Kenyan institutions to use climate data for improved decision-making.

We know that this problem is so vast that no one country can solve it alone. No country too small can sit on the sidelines either. Everyone must do their part. There are many ways to help reduce your own personal carbon footprint, but there are also ways to get involved at the community level.



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Goodell, J. 2018. What Should the Government Do To Fight Climate Change? Forbes. URL available at:


Kolb, E & Stebbins, S. 2019. Countries doing the most (and least) to protect the environment. USA Today.  URL available at:


Law, T. 2019. The Climate Crisis Is Global, but These 6 Places Face the Most Severe Consequences. World. Climate Change. Time. URL available at:




Modak, S. 2017. 10 Countries Doing the Most to Fight Climate Change. Conde Nest Traveler. URL available at:


Nakagawa, M. 2020. Everyone Has a Role in the Fight Against Climate Change.  Young African Leaders Initiative. URL available at:

Ridley, S. 2013. Why Climate Change Is Good for The World. Don’t panic! The scientific consensus is that warmer temperatures do more good than harm.  The Spectator. URL available at:


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USAID. 2020. Kenya. A Global Knowledge Portal for Climate and Development Practitioners. Climate Links. URL available at:


Marketing disruption in Kenya due to the Standard Gauge Railway


A market disruption is a situation wherein markets cease to function in a regular manner, this can result from both physical threats to the stock exchange or unusual trading, as in a crash. Disruptive marketing is a clever technique that allow brands to tap into this desire for change and implement it into their vision for long-term success. A disruptive marketing strategy is the opportunity to take the marketing rules you’ve lived by for the last decade and throw them into the trash. The new Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has created great rifts of marketing disruption since the beginning of its planning and construction. It is important to note that the SGR is not just a new track, but the foundation for an efficient transport corridor to catalyse Kenya’s growth into 2030 and beyond, this shows the brands technique and desire for change which will result in positive impacts on the Kenyan economy.


A disruptive technique such as the one constructing the SGR  has one of two goals: design its product or service to match the demand of an emerging market, or re-shape an existing product or service to meet the demand of customers unsatisfied by the current offering. From this starting point, a marketing team designs an advertising campaign with disruptive messages that either challenge the conventional thinking in an existing market or speak to a new one. This has been effective in the Kenyan economy as the disruptive marketing strategies has been promising since the official opening of the railway line, there has been effective plans to revitalise and reinvent an existing structure to the benefit of the economy. The hospitality industry is also aligning itself to take advantage of the sudden urge by Kenyans to travel to the Coast with data showing that the trains have been full for the past 17 days since the launch of Madaraka Express, however bus companies and airlines are taking a beating due to a dive in passenger numbers.


The Mombasa-Nairobi SGR is the biggest infrastructure project in Kenya since independence. With the disruptions brought about with the SGR construction, it is evident that the marketing techniques has brought about a positive influence, as the SGR will highly benefit the economy, passengers and people affected by trade and cargo transportation. Alongside those benefits, it will shorten the passenger travel time from Mombasa to Nairobi from more than ten hours to a little more than four hours. Freight trains will complete the journey in less than eight hours. At least 60 new jobs a kilometre of track or approximately 30,000 jobs are expected to be created during the construction. Passengers can enjoy a faster and cheaper journey compared to eight-hour bus trips between Nairobi and Mombasa. This will help reduce wear and tear on highways; thereby reducing roads maintenance cost, with fewer trucks on the road it will be safer for cars resulting in fewer road side deaths and accidents. With the efficiency of the SGR line, the cost of transporting cargo from Mombasa to hinterlands will reduce. According to the Kenya Railways Corporation, it will cost about Sh50,000 to transport a container through the SGR cargo trains compared to Sh90,000 by road from Mombasa to Nairobi.


Achuka, V. 2017. Firms scramble to adapt business to SGR disruption. Standard Digital. URL available at:


Bulzomi, A. Danssaert, P. Finardi, S & Matthysen, K. 2014. Supply chains and transport corridors in East Africa. International Peace Information Service and TransArms Research. URL available at:


Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2019. Kenya: Transportation and Communications. URL available at:


East African Community. 2019. EAC Railways sub-sector Projects. East African Railways Master Plan. URL available at:


East Africa Living Encyclopaedia. 2019. Kenya: Transportation. African Studies Centre. University of Pennsylvania. URL available at:


Enzi Museum. 2017. Construction of the Kenya-Uganda Railway. Archives. URL available at:


Kahyarara, G. 2018.  “Maritime Transport In Africa: Challenges, Opportunities, and an Agenda for Future Research.” Opportunity and Growth Diagnostic of Maritime Transportation in the Eastern and Southern Africa.  University of Dar-es-Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania. URL available at: