Correspondences World Leaders

Save our mountains

October 08, 2020

I am writing this letter because, Ethiopian mountains and our environment have seen unparalleled level of abuse, mismanagement and destruction in recent years just like the Amazon forest which attracted world attention. I want the government of Ethiopia and its people to give attention to this hovering calamity and take appropriate corrective measures to save nature and generations. I also want the Green World movement and super powers to make pressure on Ethiopian Government to protect nature and environment. The experience of USA and GB is of paramount importance to influence Ethiopian policy on Environment and urbanization. I have addressed this to many in Ethiopia, where I am not seeing any reaction to it at all. We are running behind the clock!

Open letter from TTD to H.E. Ms. Nikki Haley, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations

Oct 7, 2020


Protect Our Mountains from Urbanization My Fellow Ethiopians, As we are fully focused on Corona virus issues, I am afraid that we are ignoring even other more pressing threats. It may not seem to be the right time to address environmental issues. But I am afraid; we are getting behind the clock. Where are we going to dwell after we come back from the “Battle of Corona virus” This message is for only those who love their environment, their country, their home land, where ever they live, or in what conditions they are living in. In which-ever way we define nothing is greater than a country, a place where we are living. My heart has been bleeding for over 35 years for our environment, which is a gift of a creator, to its noble people. It was a precious gift, which we will never find anywhere on earth, comparable to it in any way in terms of its beauty, resource, comfort and home feeling. It is Ethiopia! Like it or not. I have been contemplating for many years whether I have to voice out or not about the cruelty and brutality of selfish individuals and some political leaders on this home land. I am talking only about the land (environment) we are standing or stepping on it, as we are reading this message. It is a massive expanse of atmosphere, crust, core and mantle that stretches majestically in horn of Africa. It was one of the first pictures taken by Armstrong team from the space/moon in July 21, 1969. It is purely Tropical and purely nature. It stands out from the rest of the earth as magnificent high land (in most parts). It is completely endowed with nature’s power that can even influence faraway continents by its mysterious constellations of celestial bangs. The propensity of Ethiopia’s atmospheric power rumbles the Atlantic, triggering tornadoes, hurricanes and cyclones that unleash across other continents. In the face of this power, every humanity and technology shrivels. Yet this land is extremely merciful to its inhabitants, never creating atmospheric, geologic and tectonic havoc that scares lives in it. We have yet to know many more secrets in this holy land. This is Ethiopia, believe it or not! We know Ethiopia harbors over 110 million human lives as of today, ever growing every year. Countless number of precious animals and plant lives dwell in the land. Most holly and abundant fresh and running waters continuously support all lives even generously to other nations down its streams. It is poorly explored for its Chemistry. Several gigantic proud mountains and high rising lands (above 2300m) entrenches every plateau, terrains and valleys in central, northern, westerns and south-eastern areas. Not going far back many years away in the past, one can easily imagine what they have looked like in those days. Their beauties! What is new now then to give values and time in order to think-talk about them? The elementary understanding of mountains purpose is purely vegetative, that it to SUSTAIN LIFE. As mountains have a rich variety of flora and fauna, their forests provide timber, fodder, shelter, fuel and other products like gum, raisins, fresh water, source of big rivers used for irrigation and generation of hydro-power. They control weather and rain, their forest contribute to fresh air and oxygen that we breathe. Together with their forest, they form the lungs of the earth. They have the power to cool down the sun’s wrath. Yet their aesthetic values when they are around the big city not only remain as a pleasure of our soul, but also excellent tourist attraction. As we look to them in the horizon, our mind navigates with clarity subsiding in us all our internal turmoil and emotions. Nature awarded Ethiopia with plenty of mountains. Time allowed us to build big city around such Mountains. However, they are treated as if they are useless or enemy by individuals, groups and some leaders. The big question is, “do mountains belong to individuals or groups”? Do such individuals have the right to abuse and destroy them? No, they should not be individual’s property. Here is the simple logic. No one is eligible to own The Himalayas, Kilomanjaro or Semien Mountains! No single individual can have legal capacity to claim a mountain or part of it as a personal (group) property for the purpose of agriculture, housing or heritage. Together with high rising hills, mountains are asset of a Nation. Thus, it is essentially up to a leadership to regulate what is going on in mountains, and what is happening to it. It does not matter how we define mountains, I mean the aesthetic high rising relatively inaccessible areas for habitation. My Fellow Ethiopians, Many threats have encountered Ras Dashen, Bale Mountains and others. Ras-Dashen has somehow survived the human-induced holocaust. Tragically most of the Bale Mountains (Senete area and part of Herena) could not survive the destructive power of human beings, thanks to the policy over the last 30 years that made this area one of the first mountain causalities. In other areas, years of environmental mis-managements by its inhabitants, settlers, farmers, wood cutters, loggers and charcoal producers not only left the land to be barren but also with the impressions that institutions and leadership in the country remained uncivilized. The selfish/greedy motives, lack of working policy, lack of enthusiastic campaigners, lack of awareness, absence of genuine institutions and un committed authorities has already caused tremendous damage to our environment and mountains, some of which are now beyond repair. The force of urbanization and population explosions (having little or no control over it) has made inhabitants of this country to grip to every resource aaround them, encroaching on every piece of land including high mountains and hills. Hence, our precious mountains assets are caught up (as a victim) in the battle between population, urbanization and politics. I looked up to Entoto, Kotobe, Ayer-tena, Lebu and Yerer, Burayu, Sebeta mountains/hills for many years. I see tears in my eyes every time I see them helplessly dwindling. At one time they were almost sacred suburb for the city, standing like the Guardian Angels with all of their good protective weapons for Addis Ababa. The same is true for the mountains around Gondar, Desse, Hawassa, Nazareth, Jima, Sodo, Arbaminch, Harar etc. Now, in most part, they are all abandoned in disdain to be devoured by ignorant, selfish personalities as if they are completely useless, harmful or enemy. Individuals (groups) are doing whatever they want to them with cruelty. I have even seen a hill completely “eaten” around Hawasa. I am looking at hills being destroyed around Addis Ababa by Bulldozers. In other areas, they are ruthlessly cutting their trees and grass, farming, crushing them, removing all their cover with humiliating wrath all doing it in so much in dislike of them. One can easily look to what has happened to Ayer-Tena Mountain in front of our eyes in just one year. The Kotebe, Lebu and Yeka Mountain are rapidly being engulfed by urbanization in a way that can not fit into 21st century civilization. This is totally unacceptable to a sane mind and leadership. Look how urbanization (extremely unplanned) is engulfing the north- western and north-eastern belt mountains of Addis Ababa, including Selale, Kotebe, and Lega Tafo Mountains. Imagine what this city looks like when those area are fully covered by slum-style urbanization, after all those ecosystem is gone. Imagine the scorching heat waves that swallow Addis Ababa in its dry season. Imagine the scarcity of ground water to supply the city. Think of the avalanche and land slide triggered by slightest regional earth’s tectonic force causing thousand being buried under the hills. Imagine the dirt and muddy flood during the rainy season that runs down vertically to the city creating Tsunami-triggered like piles of debris on the high ways. Imagine the broken sewerage from the mountain slums continuously sending foul smells and spilling massive black steams of fluid on the low-sitting areas. Then, does anybody desire to live in Addis Ababa? Will we consider ourselves as a native of sane nation? Can we then talk on world forum about Ethiopians as great and civilized people? Will we have a moral stamina to talk about green economy? Can we talk about tourism? Will we not be ashamed of our negligence and illiteracy? Will our progeny not pay heavy price? Because of our wrong conflict and fight with each other, Ethiopians may not perish. But because of our wrong conflict and fight with nature, certainly Ethiopians will perish. Let us stop to fight a wrong battle with nature that we will never win. We need our environment to be protected to see a prosperous nation that we dream. Therefore, let us stand up together to protect our mountains from urbanization and agriculture. Just begin with Addis Ababa’s northern belt mountains. Home Land First!


I will come up with next Issue of my concern on Nature Tesfaye T. Dugul Academician Addis Ababa University


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