The “neighbour principle”; My Switzerland rush-hour experience and holding GHG Emitters accountable in negligence.

Last month, I joined the running bandwagon. I think I deserve a Swiss Bronze medal of sorts because I made my running debut on the Swiss soil besides it being a cross-country marathon. For three weeks my days started with a simple sometimes serious sprint to either the bus or train station and so was the rest of the day. The gold medal should be saved for the people of Berne, they are un disputed champions when it comes to running in train terminals.

It’s not because I don’t run, I can actually run Usain Bolt style if am being chased or when it’s threatening to rain. Am also in the know of the benefits of running; besides the obvious health related ones, I could also pass off as urbane and fashionable to a reasonable extent.

In Uganda, you really have to be very careful if you decide to run on the streets of Kampala. If you are lucky enough not to be apprehended after being mistaken to be a criminal, the whole street will run with you just in case what is chasing you may have common implications. Perhaps that’s why I developed cold feet for running.

While on the train from Berne to Zurich of course after 10 minutes or so of cooling off from the “marathon”, my eyes are glued on the window to catch another glimpse of the nuclear station near our train. After the train dashing past the nuclear station, the thoughts of the next lecture I  am about to give on sustainable development and climate change in Uganda get mixed up with the tort (negligence) lectures I received in the law school.

There is this case of Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] UKHL 100 I learned in the law school also known as the “snail in the bottle “case. It forms the foundation of the Common law principle of negligence. In the case, a lady drank a ginger beer in a café whose bottle contained a dead snail thereafter fell sick and sued.  This fundamental case at that time went up to the court of last resort in the UK the House of Lords and the most important question was about the duty of care which Lord Atkins explained basing on the ” neighbour principle”.

He stated, “you must not injure your neighbour; and the lawyer’s question, Who is my neighbour? receives a restricted reply. You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who, then, in law, is my neighbour? The answer seems to be – persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question”.

Whereas it is prudent to commend the Swiss effort towards creating “clean energy”, the Fukushima disaster should be able to awaken us. While attending the YES (Youth Encounter for Sustainability) in Naivasha Kenya, Dr. Roger Baud illustrated the possibility of efforts employed in promoting sustainability becoming counterproductive and perhaps more deadly than the problem which is initially meant to be solved. I believe Fukushima suits well in that picture.

The IPCC REPORT released recently states that humans are the dominant cause of global warming. The lawyer in me is convinced that “snail in the bottle “case could help bring the biggest emitters of GHGs to courts of law for negligence and failing the neighbor principle test in the aftermath of floods or droughts.

By Mugisha Moses Mugisha_kamera

Beast versus Man: A Grave Effect of Climate Change

Children on their way to school examine the carcass of one of the lions killed by Maasai warriors as revenge for the death of their livestock.

Sometime last month; an unbelievable scene took place in the southern side of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. Lions from a nearby animal reserve attacked meek sheep and goats belonging to the sleepy Maasai village that bordered it. The incident was one of its kind; as almost a full herd was destroyed. Later the Morans (Maasai Warriors) ganged up and launched a revenge on the wild cats,killing six of them, but a few days later the beasts retaliated with the hunting down of the remaining livestock. Observing this, I can only quip that this ugly human-wildlife conflict is the product of lack of food for the animals. Famine in the wild due to minute rain is an effect of global warming and as such; has led to severe starvation in the savannah. The food chain has been disrupted; because the vegetation is scarce  leading to the death of the herbivores that are preyed on by the Kings of the Jungle. Meanwhile, the Kenya Wildlife Services is faced with the dilemma on whether or not to prosecute the villagers. Despite the Maasai having acted in self-defense they broke the law since lions are currently among East Africa’s endangered species. If we only work to improve our environment; we the Maasai can be able to live in peace with other creatures like we used to before.

By Sylvia Nashipae Mosiany,



Grand Ma, what has changed?

By Monica Mbugua, Kenya

I asked my grand ma to tell me about her life as she grew up and how different it was from the way she see’s life now. Her face lite up because for her it was a nostalgic feeling that brought up a happy memory.

Some of the things she remembers is that the weather back then was a lot cooler and more pleasant than it is now. She enjoyed every changing season because with it would come lots of excitement for the period it lasted. It was Weiterlesen

Is it Tech-CO2-nology or Technology?

By Mutalemwa Rutizibwa, Tanzania

– Life becomes very easy with technology advancement; people can now do things which were impossible in the past. Computers, Cars, trains, mobile phone are airplanes and other more technologies are very important to our life.

Technology really helps to meet our needs. But let me ask question in what ways we can make the use of technology in sustainable way without brought negative impact to our climate?  Weiterlesen

Kerosene lamps affect study performance

By Mwembesongo Secondary school Morogoro, Tanzania

– About 700 million of people in Africa have no access to electricity, most of people who are living in rural areas use candles and kerosene lamps for lighting. It is estimated that about 200 million of people in Africa use kerosene lamps for lighting.


Rescuing our Soil

By Sylvia Nashipae Mosiany, Nakuru, Kenya

Soil erosion is the removal of the uppermost layer of earth which is the most fertile. Although it is a natural and unavoidable process, climate change is causing it to be detrimental.  For instance, the increase in global temperatures has resulted in heavy rainfall that sweeps off the topsoil. Usually soil regenerates another layer from the subsoil but again due to global warming, the rate of erosion supersedes that of the replacement of lost soil. This problem is serious in most parts of the world since more than 99% of our food is from soil. Therefore, the ideal way to reduce the menace is to plant vegetation, most suitably trees. Weiterlesen

Save Water, Save Life

Everyone seems to have gotten their umbrellas out- a clear indication that the rainy season has come in Kenya, albeit surprisingly. Despite greening yellowed vegetation; more harm than good has ensued from the downpour these past few weeks. Cases of landslides, floods and even outbreak of water-borne diseases are reported almost daily in the local press. Ironically, there are also water shortages, caused by destruction of water conduits. Consequently, cultivation activities are being approached with extreme caution since this rain is as a result of a change in the climate pattern hence cannot be depended upon. However, opportunity exists for my country to embrace water harvesting and catchment. This shall assist in creating reserves for irrigation during dry spells and making good use of the raging torrent. Furthermore, citizens may learn to embrace fish farming since ponds can thrive well with the abundant water. Indeed, these are the times when a drop of water saved is a thousand lives preserved.

By Sylvia Nashipae Mosiany, Kenya.

What students say’s about the word “Climate Change” and Glob warming?

I tried to ask my students at first in class about climate change and global warming.

The terms “climate change “and “global warming “in English and as they are translated in Swahili .Translation in Swahili is Mabadiliko ya Tabia ya Nchi or other say Mabadiliko ya hali ya hewa  used in Swahili as translation  for “Climate change “ and kuongezeka kwa joto Duniani as “Global warming “

In this context I explore how students make sense of climate change terminology and react to information about young people’s understanding of climate change, and affecting the way in which they explain its effects.  

Despite recognizing changes in the weather Tanzania have a low awareness of the term and concept of the climate change. A young student from Mwembesongo secondary school in Morogoro gave typical explanation of the term:” I was used to rains in November, but there none… now days it is sunny and hot. So that is the change.” Most of student literally translates the term when they hear it in Swahili and understand it to refer to seasonal changes or immediate changes in the weather

Recognition of the term “global warming “is quite low. The few who recognize the term and understand it to mean localized sometimes seasonal increase in temperature .Most literally translate derived its meaning and believes that its refers to the warming of the “environment “and minority as broad understanding of it. Many had header about it in the media yet for most Tanzania neither “climate change “nor “Global warming” is a household term.

Despite a lack of familiarity with the term climate change and global warming. Students agreed with both the statement above.” I think it is true because burning of forest increases heat “explaining by young student from Morogoro and the gases from the factory get into the environmental and form another clouds so I think I can say that they are right”.


Lake Tanganyika is first Deepest Lake in Africa and the Second deepest lake world wide. According to American scientific says temperatures have been warming since the 1900s at rate not seen for a least of 1,500 years. Climate change has been causing rise in temperature that impact production levels of the Lake Tanganyika, affecting the livelihoods of millions of Tanzanians who depend on the lake’s ecosystem. Fish catches are declining, which has lead to declines income and protein that feed local families.

What will be the next for our future generation?

We have to take action and save the ecosystem of the Lake Tanganyika.

Climate change is real   

We need more and more action

The Plight of the Maasai Women

By Monica Mbugua, Kenya

– The Maasai are an indigenous community found in Kenya and Northern Tanzania. They are pastoralist community and occupy the Narok and Kajiado Districts in Kenya. The basic and economic social unit is a semi permanent settlement of several families pasturing their stock together. Weiterlesen

Learning From Each Other- Garbage Disposal

By Silvia Nashipae, Kenya

– Nakuru, like most African towns, is tainted by unmanaged trash. Although garbage collection services are provided, they are not available to all inhabitants of the town. Consequently, dumpsites  have cropped up in the outskirts of the metropolitan. This has presented problems such as spread of diseases to the surrounding community. Weiterlesen

Lake Nakuru in the Great Rift Valley

By Merculine Maoncha, Kenya

– The UNESCO world heritage site of Lake Nakuru is situated approximately 164 kilometers from Nairobi, a two hour’s drive from Nairobi city. It is dominated by a gentle undulating terrain with open bush and woodlands, typical of the dry rift valley vegetation. Weiterlesen

Heavy rains show the necessity to change our behaviour

By Monica Mbugua, Kenya

– Tonight on the news we received some rather sad news. 5 people so far have died and thousands rendered homeless by floods in many parts of Kenya mainly the western side of Kenya which is a region that is called Budalangi, other parts that are close to lake Victoria and near the coast of Kenya which borders the Indian ocean. Weiterlesen

The inspiring force of Peace Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai

By Merculine Maoncha Rabera, Kenya

– It was on the 25th September 2011, while preparing to leave for work that I saw on breaking news that Wangari Maathai had passed on. The vision still remains as clear as yesterday in my memory. The news spread so fast all over the world and people started flowing in to the country to give their condolescences. During her burial both the local and international community’s attend to give their last respect to her inspirational works. Weiterlesen

December 9th: Air Conditioning Free Kenya

‎By Sylvia N. Mosiany, Kenya

– Down south in the coastal city of Durban, fewer than usual air conditioners are running in buildings hosting thousands of global representatives at the start of COP17. Odd? Not really, just another strong indicator that fighting global warming is not complicated. Weiterlesen

Climate change and youth unemployment in Uganda: Hopes and fears

By Mugisha Moses, Uganda

– The Uganda National Bureau of Statistics 2011 report estimates Ugandan population to have clocked 32.9 million people in the year 2011 compared to the 24.2 million people in 2002.  In the same report, it is emphasized that the population is increasingly becoming younger with increase from 51% in 1969 to 56% in 2002. Weiterlesen