The impacts of climate change are presently glaring for all to see except for the climate deniers who prefer to keep blind eyes to series of severe events worldwide showcasing that no nation is actually immune to consequences of climate change. The temperature of the earth gets warmer every subsequent year due to rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Heat waves kills more than 2,000 people in India; the series of earthquakes in Nepal left 8,693 dead, 22,494 people injured, 1,360 government structures fully damaged, 3,424 government structures partially damaged, 504,014 privately owned structures fully damaged, and 275,981 privately owned structures partially damaged as of May 31st 2015. Extreme flooding was also reported in some parts of Kenya and Texas, U.S.A this year.
Climate change is caused when greenhouse gases emissions get trapped in the atmosphere on exceeding the safe limit required to keep the earth habitable. Carbon dioxide contributes more to climate change than any other greenhouse gases, its emissions into the atmosphere has been majorly linked to human activities like burning of fossil fuel and deforestation.
In 2005, Nigeria tops other nations across the globe as the highest emitter of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, forest cover in the country depreciated to 9.9% in 2010 from 18.9% in 1990 (World Bank Indicators on land use). Deforestation mainly accounts for the high emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in Nigeria.
Nigerians cut down trees for firewood to cook and in the process, create an imbalanced environment. According to the Administrator of United Nations Development Programme, Helen Clark, more than half of the trees produced in the world are utilised for energy. Firewood as substitute for fuel for cooking in Nigeria is very high due to its low cost, availability, and serves as a means of livelihood for many due to the high rate of unemployment in the country.
A lot of damages are occurring in Nigeria due to the impacts of climate change. Desertification in the Northeast contributes largely to drought which is reducing agricultural outputs in the region due to the land becoming less fertile for agricultural purposes; the flooding in the Southwest is living many homeless, damaging structures, and claiming lives while gully erosion is prevalent in the Southeast of the country.
Tree planting has been recommended as the primary means to curb climate change as it absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while replenishing the earth with oxygen. Root of trees help control the washing of soil away and prevent flooding by absorbing water. Tree covers provides shade which cools the environment and entice small animals to reside under them by burrowing into the ground which makes the ground more aerated, loose and more fertile for agricultural purposes.
The government has engaged in several programmes like tree planting, instituted several policies since 1990 to curb climate change, but till date the efforts are yet to produce any tangible result. The survival of the seedlings remains low year in year out.
Pro-active measures and complete implementation of policies are needed to make the efforts of the government in curbing climate change to be successful. Illegal tree felling should be criminalised; measures and activities to ensure survival of seedlings should be in place while renewable energy is focused on for energy production in the country. Every citizen has to be part of the project to curb climate change.
More awareness and sensitizations of individuals through the media, social media platforms, seminars, community outreaches, academic presentations, and mouth to mouth information to disseminate the information on climate change should be utilised to get the message on climate change to everyone as how it affects humans, our immediate environment and the world at large and what can be done to finally curb it.
It is our collective responsibility to save the earth, there is no plan B, because there is no planet B. – United Nation Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon.