SHE WEEPS IN PAIN

She is really strong. She is supportive and kind. She is generous and industrious. But the only way we can pay her back is to destroy her through our greedy acts.

A Step Back on Climate Change in Nigeria and Beyond by Emmanuel Ifeh

Most people are now aware of climate change through unprecedented destruction of our ecosystems, properties and lives by series of bad weather events which has given birth to various climate change charities who are working tirelessly, not only to create awareness to the public, but to force the government to do the needful to protect our planet. Our planet is under threat as a result of rise in global temperature. Numerous research studies are suggesting that if this trend continues, many states and countries will become extinct.

Governments around the world have recognised this and many have started making firm commitments towards curbing and cutting down carbon emissions. The UK government has shown serious commitment by committing to a deadline and has provisionally drawn up policies to achieve zero emissions by 2050. This bold step by the government has put the country as a world leader on the climate change program. The UN and many climate charities are very pleased with the commitment and efforts and have encouraged other world leaders to join the UK. I am very happy that the UK government has shown serious commitment and I am disappointed that I haven’t seen a similar response from African leaders or serious campaigns in our continent. I perfectly understand we are currently overwhelmed by other pressing issues which are very important, such as conflict, wars and insecurity. Also, it is very easy to be put off by the immediate cost of tackling climate change. I think this is probably why many African leaders and even some leaders of developed countries are less keen to put climate change at the forefront of their policies. Some countries see the climate change problem as some other countries’ problem particularly some African countries; unfortunately, this is a global problem, and everyone will be affected in one way or the other. Lake Chad is drying up as a result of rise in global temperature putting ten million people at risk of displacement and migration. We are already seeing the displacement of people and its effects by continuous conflict around our communities leading to insurgency. For those who don’t know, Lagos is a lowland and the catastrophic effect of climate change disasters will be devastating.

It is very easy for everyone to accuse the governments for not doing enough on climate change and to continually wait for government to come up with policies to address this. In my view, this is a time for everyone to reflect and look for ways to make contributions toward reducing global warming. Every one of us can make a difference; I remember when I was in Nigeria, my parents would encourage us to reuse carrier bags. In fact, we have containers for different grains, and we take the containers for grains shopping. Presently, a lot of items that can be reused are no longer reused. Sadly, packaging of items has become order of the day causing a great amount of waste. I recognise the need to avoid food contamination and cross infection, but I still believe measures can be put in place to mitigate the risk and some products do not necessarily pose any cross-infection risk. I therefore encourage us to reconsider our older ways of life and bring back some of our good environmental habits back to the society as they will surely help to bring down global temperature.

Two days ago, my company, Direct Line Group conducted an environmental event. Individuals were asked to differentiate reusable and non-reusable items; at the end of the exercise participants were given a reusable mug and water bottle. To this end, a £0.20 discount will be given to anyone who uses the mug or their own to buy any hot drink in the canteen. We were also encouraged to come with our plate to the canteen to buy food rather than use disposable plates. It is also good to mention at this point that food hygiene measures have been in place. This event made me reflect and I think everyone can make a difference in reducing our carbon emissions – business leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, religious leaders, and individuals.

©OBICHUKWU IFE

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