The first time I heard about Climate change about ten years ago, I thought it was one of those folktale we heard while growing up similar to the popular “tales by moonlight” program that was aired every Sunday. This was one of my favorite TV shows in my childhood days. The fact that the encounter happened outside Nigeria made me quickly conclude that it was a trend that can only be experienced in the developed nations.
As the years went by and I progressed in my environmental career, my analytical and inquisitive mind started thinking through the impacts of climate change and I realized that it is already happening in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa not just Europe, Asia or the Americas.
With the understanding that significant climate change occurs over a long period of time and that the changes can be eminent in at least 30years, I was able to link the changes in the climatic conditions I have experience from when I was a toddler to adulthood to this global scourge.
Man’s activities including actions, technological advancement, lifestyle changes and inactions have made enormous contributions to these changes leading to some impacts on the common Nigerian citizen. Some of the impacts identified include: frequent change in weather conditions - more annual rainfall; hydrological extremes causing flooding mostly in the coastal states and droughts leading to food security crisis and inaccurate prediction of the planting/ harvesting season by farmers; rising sea levels leading to loss of recreational beaches in the coastal areas caused by coastal erosion, health impacts such as increased spread of malaria and introduction of new diseases in some areas, malnutrition of children; drinking water scarcity and stress of accessibility and availability of water; minimization of available landuse; loss of crop variety and saltwater intrusion; Impact on livelihood depending on natural resources such as farming, fishing and herding; human resettlement, migration and displacement of families due to flooding.
These impacts have economic, social welfare, environmental, natural and physical effects on the various sectors in the country thereby influencing our way of life, altering the ecosystem and threatening food and global security.
Most parts of the African continent are warming up at a faster rate than the global average. There is an urgent need to take action therefore all stakeholders including government; civil society, organizations and individuals should get involved. So far the government is improving policy reforms that address climate change issues; use of government agencies such as National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) use of meteorological data to create awareness among the public on the flood prone areas and the measures to take to mitigate effects. The government is also promoting individuals and organizations to undertake emission reduction projects using the clean development mechanism to earn carbon credits. Organizations have committed to reduce the gas flaring and promotion to a sustainable and greener business. Individuals are adopting greener lifestyles and adopting the sustainable ways of reducing carbon footprints; schools are now adopting environmental subjects into their curriculum.
Combating climate change in Nigeria is a journey and it is imperative all stakeholders’ hop in this bus and get involved. The time is “now” not later or in the future. If we don’t take action immediately, we will gradually lose “our home” which is the earth that is been altered daily by the devastating effects of climate. Let us all continue to promote this awareness.
This is my story………………preserve our home and save the earth.