We would all admit that mothers deserve all the appreciation and support they can get. Every 22nd of April, the world stops to celebrate the greatest mother of all: Mother Earth. This annual celebration is dedicated to honouring planet earth and creating the much-needed awareness for environmental peace and harmony.
It is an undisputed fact that man depends on his environment for existence and sustenance. More so, it has been proven that human beings are a factor of nature and nurture. Undoubtedly, the relationship between man and his environment cannot be undermined, simply because our future depends on how we manage our environment. It is, therefore, no surprise that environmental issues are increasingly receiving attention at global levels, and the global communities are continuously making efforts towards ensuring that the world is a better place for human habitation.
The world continues to be under the threat of climate change problems like global warming, greenhouse gas effects, flooding, acid rain typhoons, rising sea levels, rising sea temperatures resulting in depletion of marine organisms, earthquakes, wind storms, land and mud slides, desertification, tsunami, erosion, volcanic activities, hurricanes, pollution, deforestation among several others. Unfortunately, climate change is predominantly a major problem because of the increase of human activities.
In other words, climate change is a result of human mismanagement of the earth, leading to several direct and indirect impacts on health. We need to, however, pay attention to the fact that these climatic changes have wide-range harmful effects including increase in heat-related mortality, dehydration, spread of infectious diseases, malnutrition, and damage to public health infrastructure, migration of both man and animals among others.
Nigeria – like other countries of the world – has experienced climate change disasters such as the drying up of the southern part of Lake Chad which lies inside Nigerian territory, presently comprising Borno and Yobe states. On the other hand, the south-eastern part of the country has been struck by a different ill. There, gulley-erosion has devastated many settlement areas and farmlands, leading to poverty among local populations. Yet, our countries political and public discussions barely address the mentioned problems. Interestingly, specific problems like the climate change has attracted real attention outside the circle of environment experts or NGOs.
On one hand, many Nigerians are nonchalant to issues of climate change, while many others are completely unaware, or lack the understanding of the concept and its effects. This does not, however, change the fact that we all must become responsible for environmental issues, if we will turn the tide away from impending disaster. We must, therefore, make conscious efforts to sensitise others on the importance of environmental management. To raise the necessary awareness, we must:
- Improve our understanding of climate change
- Consistently speak out against the evils of climate change, and encourage both preventive and proactive practices to curb environmental mismanagement
- Consciously take immediate action
- Reduce our use of the unrenewable items, and adopt the renewable or reusable items: for instance, taking your shopping bag to the market reduces the use of plastic bags or nylon bags; the use of eco-friendly products is also encouraged
- Promote public enlightenment through various platforms including social and traditional media
- Create and enforce stringent environmental laws and regulations; this can also be adopted by banks in checking customers, as well as other organisations in selecting vendors
- Design localised and environmental friendly products, including limiting adoption of foreign design templates for our local environment
- Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate related hazards and natural disasters
- Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning
- Improve education, awareness as well as human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning.
Before we completely run out of resources to support our life here on earth, we need to replenish our natural resources much faster than we are consuming them. Because if we do, “we literally have nowhere to run”.