Growing up in Webuye at the turn of the millennium, it was a joy to witness the splendour of the sprawling Chetambe Hills. My most intimate childhood memories recall revelling in their abundance and at the same time having my breath taken away by the beauty of their trees and vegetation. Today, Chetambe Hills are a pale shadow of their former self, a blanket indictment of our disregard for the environment.
Ever since the collapse of Pan Paper Mills in 2009, the state of my hometown is a little more than heart-rending. Once alive with trees and copious foliage, Chetambe Hills now stand dismal, a bald apparition in the outskirts of town. The local community—wholly dependent on firewood for energy—have all but cut down the last tree. And this problem is not just limited to Webuye; the health of the global environment has reached a crisis and calls for collective and urgent action.