The heat experienced recently especially in Lagos state calls for urgent attention. It got so bad that someone quipped, ‘I think the earth shifted and Lagos fell into hell.’
If you have been around for a few decades, you will agree that there has been a great change in the climate. It is almost impossible to predict seasons in Nigeria. Harmattan does not come when it usually comes, it is now very unsurprising to experience rainfall in December, the heat is becoming unbearable, and so many unpredictable things.
But then, have you ever asked what could be the cause of this change?
The fact is, we have all in one way or the other caused the discomfort. In other words, most of our daily activities contributed to climate change through global warming. The very first activity was our quest for urbanization. We displaced some of our very vital friends – green plants and trees – because we want to build more houses, industries, etc. There was a time you could hardly find trees in Lagos. Thank God for the administration of Lagos State former Governor- Babatunde Raji Fashola who resuscitated tree planting in Lagos, and consolidated the same by setting July 14 aside as Tree Planting Day in Lagos State (tundefashola.com).
Here is a little explanation:
Tropical forest trees, like all green plants, take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis. Plants also carry out the opposite process—known as respiration—in which they emit carbon dioxide, but generally in smaller amounts than they take in during photosynthesis. The surplus carbon is stored in the plant, helping it to grow. When trees are cut down and burned or allowed to rot, their stored carbon is released into the air as carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide is the elementary gas responsible for about 76% of all greenhouse gas emissions, whereby 11% of all these come forestry and other land use (EPA). Greenhouse gases are what makes the earth warm, causing climate change by trapping heat, and they contribute to respiratory disease from air pollution (National Geographic). And this is a basic explanation of how deforestation and forest degradation contribute to global warming. (https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/tropical-deforestation-and-global-warming). So you see, the more the burning of waste openly, cutting down trees, burning of fossil fuels, the release of exhaust from vehicles and generators, piling of solid wastes, etc., the greater the heat we will experience.
What is the way out?
Optigreen believes that if every household in Nigeria can imbibe a culture of greenness, we can significantly reduce global warming. This is easy. Slight modifications in habits like:
- ensuring that there is green life (by planting trees) in the environment
- using gas instead of firewood for cooking purposes
- ensuring that vehicle is in good condition before running them.
- opting for a bicycle for a short-distance trip
- making use of inverters and solar renewable energy instead of generators
- desisting from uncontrolled bush and waste burning,
- and turning over waste to appropriate quarters.
Did you roll your eyes at some of these solutions, especially the aspect of generator usage? The fact is our safety depends on how safe our environment is. If we continue harming our environment by not making necessary sacrifices, the obvious consequences will be on us and painfully the future generations. We can reduce this heat by playing our little part. Every action counts.
Written by Oluwabukola Olajide