Across much of the regions in Nigeria, the variable rainfall; rise in sea level and flooding; drought and desertification; land degradation and increase in temperature risk is far greater than what people know, climate has been changing fast in the country with more frequent extreme weather events — and smog choke from almost everywhere, which silenced millions of insects and birds is a great loss of biodiversity.
In my introduction of this column last week, I went quickly to bring to light reasons why society, science and politics affect climate change in Nigeria – a place where we see that air we breathe causes harm more than the air in any other country in Africa. It is evident and unfortunate that Nigeria produces more than two million tons of waste annually, which contribute to worsening the quality of the air we breathe.
Besides all these hazards we have emphasized that contribute to the negative health effects we see every day, global warming is envisaged to have a strong and adverse impact on human health more than any other pollution. The populations of countries that have contributed the least to global warming are the most vulnerable to death and diseases brought about by higher temperatures. The scourge worsens human health conditions, especially in countries like Nigeria and other tropical regions across the world.
Conversely, the ability to endure changes in temperature differs from region to region. Wealthier societies can utilize technological advances; for example, the use of more powerful air-conditioners and construction of houses can minimize heat retention.
The changes in climate and environment are the biggest threat facing Nigeria today, in order to control this atmospheric condition, the ministry of environment must oversee the cut in carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2025 in order to avert the global warming of pre-industrial levels.
Since 2010, we have been experiencing consistent change in rainfall and temperature as a result of these global hazards, which brought about incessant and higher cases of malaria plus other diseases, in areas with temperatures ranging between 18-32C and with humidity above 75 percent. More worrisome is the prediction that the country will be exposed to more dangerous cases of hazards in the not-so-distant future.
Hotter and drier conditions would likely worsen floods, droughts and heat waves and hamper agricultural production, particularly rain-fed agriculture, which many Nigerians rely on for their livelihoods.
The relationship today between people and the planet is overwhelming the ability of the earth to maintain life at a greater quantity. No doubt, this indices show that we are actually getting something terribly wrong, at this critical time, we need to reorient ourselves on how we relate to each other and to the earth’s wonders through the economy, social and political arenas. We need a new mass movement that bears witness to a right way of living on our finite, life-giving planet. But it is clear that science has radically altered its view of the arrangements both of life and of non-living components of the earth.
The atmosphere has always acted like a greenhouse to capture the sun’s heat, ensuring that the earth has enjoyed temperatures that permitted the emergence of life forms as we know them, including humans. Without our atmospheric greenhouse the earth would be very cold. Global warming, however, is the equivalent of a greenhouse with high efficiency reflective glass installed the wrong way around.
Ironically, the best evidence of this may come from a terrible cooling event that took place some hundreds of years back. Two massive volcanic eruptions, one year after another placed so much black dust into the upper atmosphere that little sunlight could penetrate, which resulted to plummeting temperatures that makes crops to fail and also causes death and starvation of millions of people.
In this concept, Nigeria must take up the responsibilities of creating sustainability for agriculture, to meet the increasing demand for food for the growing of its population. There is no way we can boost food security in our country without understanding the climatic changes around us and how it affects agricultural productivity plus rural livelihood. We cannot run away from the fact that the changes in climate and environment are the current problems many countries are facing globally.
The practicing of rain-fed agriculture renders Nigeria vulnerable to the adverse effects of global warming. Extreme climatic events such as flooding, severe heat, and drought has led to soil degradation, which results in low crop yields. Decline in agricultural productivity discourages the farmers and may lead to change in livelihood especially in the rural settings. This can also lead to migration from rural to urban regions thereby affecting development of rural regions in the country.
Our actions must therefore exemplify the ethics of appreciating and bringing about the urgent change that can protect our planet, because the dangers of global warming worsens as a result of contemporary increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
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