Nigerians need to embrace and promote practices that can protect the environment as a major way to improve the quality of life and avert the danger that climate change poses to the future of children.
This was the submission of participants in a dialogue on climate change issues held in Lagos recently, under the aegis of Lekki Urban Forest and Animal Sanctuary Initiative (LUFASI).
The British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Laure Beaufils, who hosted the event at her official residence, noted that the rising sea level, one of the effects of climate change, comes with the dangers of flooding, leading to loss of cities and lack of access to social services, which could be prevented if members of the public and government do the right thing.
She lamented that the society does not talk about the environment the way they ought to despite the fact that their survival depends on a safe environment.
“The issue of climate change is one on which we ought to take not just the government, but businesses and ourselves to task,” said Beaufils.
She enjoined members of the society to be part of the required solution, noting that most human activities contribute to the emissions that in turn lead to climate change. Businesses that run on renewable energy and recycling are parts of the major solutions, the Deputy High Commissioner added.
Documentaries shown at the event detailed the devastating effects of oil spills on the environment as well as consequences of erosion and desertification occasioned by climate change, which could be prevented if people adopt safe environmental practices.
In his contribution, the Executive Director, LUFASI, Desmond Majekodunmi, said environmental issues should become a feature of local politics as political leaders have the obligations to protect the environment because it is human’s “life support system.” A degraded environment, he said, leads to “a degraded quality of life.”
“Environmental issues should be brought into politics because that is what brought the present German government into power. They came on the back of green politics and other countries are now adopting it, so Nigeria, the giant of Africa, should adopt that too,” the renowned environmentalist said.
Majekodunmi noted that desertification has led to food shortages, driven pastoralists into search for greener pasture and made young men fall from enjoying “pretty good livelihood to becoming easy preys of terrorists.” He, however, urged Nigerians to be part of the solution and not the problem.
According to him, the problems will impact negatively on the future generation, and parents who love their children “will be part of the solution.”
Participants at the event, comprising of government officials, expatriates, captains of industry and environmental activists, also spoke of measures their organisations have put in place for business operations and public advocacy to address the climate change issue.
One of the speakers, the Chief Commercial Officer, Boulus Enterprises Limited, Stanley Evans, said recycled products form the bulk of his company’s raw materials for environmental friendly operations.
He added that he has practised vegetarianism for 30 years in his bid not to engage in any act that can impact negatively on the balance of ecosystem.
“My company converts used papers that could clog the public drainages into tissue paper and we also import completely knocked down (CKD) components for our automobile business,” he said.