Environmental Justice for the Kikuyu Tribe SCI/362 26 MAY 2010 Environmental Justice for the Kikuyu Tribe Colney and Pitts is a California based pharmaceutical company. Colney and Pitts is planning to set up a manufacturing plant near the Aberdares mountain range in the eastern highlands of Kenya to produce medicines for prostate disease. The Kikuyu tribe is the largest tribe in the country and occupies the Aberdares mountain range.
An extensive ethno botanical survey on the use of the medicinal plants by this tribe has indicated that an evergreen tree popularly known as “Pygeum” or prunus Africana has been traditionally used to cure “old men’s disease”, which are prostatitis and genitourinary disorders. Colney and Pitts have budgeted $250,000 for developmental activities in the region. The over the counter value of the retail trade of prunus Africana is estimated at 220 million dollars a year.
I believe the major stakeholders in the story to be Colney and Pitts, The Kikuyu tribe, International Center for Ethno botanical Research and the Eco Smiles member, Kasey Quintero. To me it is obvious that Colney and Pitts have anthropocentric view even though that wants you to think otherwise. Colney and Pitts will make about 220 million dollars or more a year when they start the production of the Prunus Africana, but yet they are only willing to give The Kikuyu tribe $250,000 for developmental activities in the region.
This sounds like individualism at it’ best, Colney and Pitts are thinking of their bank accounts rather than looking at the Kikuyu tribe and how it will affect them and their environment for generations to come and all Colney and Pitts want to give the Kikuyu tribe is a onetime payment of $250,000. If you ask me this deal is screaming environmental justice. I believe like most big corporations they are only worried about breaking the criminal law in its work-related activity; avoid action that may result in civil law suits against the company; and avoid actions that are bad for the company image.
Businesses are especially concerned with these three things since they involve loss of money and company reputation. I do understand that Colney and Pitts are providing a service to the over 60% of the males in Europe who suffer from prostatitis and genitourinary disorders, but at what cost to the environment and to the Kikuyu tribe? The Kikuyu is the major stakeholder in this story. The Kikuyu tribe uses the tree for medical purposes as well as building there huts from the tree, some studies have suggested that it might disturb the natural habitat of the tribe.
Colney and Pitts has suggested that one of the things they will do to help the tribe is to move them to a nearby neighboring mountain range. Has anyone asked the Kikuyu if they wanted to pick up and move or is it just big business and the government making decisions for these people? Some other things that Colney and Pitts are prosing to give to the tribe or should be say to the government is a full time doctor and medical facility for the tribe, training in side he plant and nice weekly paycheck, they will also lay roads connecting the region to the mainland and build permanent housing for the tribe.
Some African governments are so corrupt how we will really know if the Kikuyu tribe will ever see or reap any of the benefits that are being offered. I wondered if anyone of the tribal leaders know of the off Colney and Pitts has made to them for their land, their homes and there lively hoods. My guess is that the Kikuyu have lived in that region for thousands of years not needing a to be moved, not needing a full time doctor, not needing training on how to work in a factor, not needing a weekly monetary salary from the white man, and not needing anyone to build permanent housing for them.
I am sure the Kikuyu tribe has been taking care of their sick, building their own homes and growing and hunting their own food for survival, so it is hard for me to read this story and not believe that the Kikuyu tribe will be the ones suffering the most from environmental justice at the hands of Colney and Pitts if these deal is not adjust to were the Kikuyu have more voice in what happens or the government can just say no.
The International Center for Ethno botanical Research is a stakeholder but I believe they are stakeholders on the side of the Kikuyu tribe and the ecosystem. ICER is a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental renewal, environmental research and tribal community development. ICER seems to have a biocentrism view of man and plants and animals should coexist in the world. ICER is trying to protect the endangered plant life and animal species in the forest of Kenya and protect the tribes living in the forest.
I believe ICER is genuinely trying to help the Kikuyu tribe and the region because of the ethical beliefs and not for any type of monetary gain. Eco Smiles is another stakeholder I believe who is on the side of the Kikuyu tribe. Eco Smiles is a conservationist’s organization who is dedicated to protecting the local ecosystems in the forest of Kenya. Eco Smiles stands on the principle that if Colney and Pitts want to harvest the trees in the Aberdares mountain range then they should initiate sustainable harvesting and check for poaching in the area.
In the end I believe it will be the Kikuyu tribe that will suffer the most environmental injustice from the Colney and Pitts offer. I believe the government should have limited if any to say whether an outside company come into an area that is settled by a group of people and say it is ok to come in and rape the land and mess with a way of life that people have had and lived in harmony with the environment for centuries.
In Germany there is a practice if you kill my cow, then you are responsible for paying for the cows it would have produced for the next 10 years, as well as the milk, I am not saying this will make anything better but it is a start. I think if we did not have organizations like ICER and Eco Smiles there would be no accountability and other undeveloped nations that would let big companies come in and give them a little bit of money and in turn let them destroy their environment for generations to come. References www. utm. edu/staff/jfieser/vita/research/Busbook. htm