By Okeoghene Akubuike
Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs), has called on Nigerians to collectively recognise the interdependence of all lives on earth.
Dr Ibrahim Choji, Chairman, Board of Trustees of CSDevNet, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday.
Choji spoke in commemoration of the 2020 World Environment Day (WED).
NAN reports that the WED is celebrated annually on June 5 and the theme for 2020 is “Celebrate Biodiversity”.
Choji said that biodiversity was the foundation that supports all lives on land and below the water.
“It affects every aspect of human health, providing clean air and water, nutritious foods, scientific understanding and medicine sources, natural disease resistance and climate change mitigation.
“Changing, or removing one element of this web, affects the entire life system and can produce negative consequences.
“Human actions, including deforestation, encroachment on wildlife habitats, intensified agriculture and acceleration of climate change have pushed nature beyond its limit,’’ he said.
According to him, the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the fact that, when we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life.
“CSDevNet believes this year’s WED represents a call upon our collective conscience as Nigerians to be guided by the shared misery caused by the recent global pandemic.
“It also recognises the fragile linkages that human health and existence have with nature.
“The naked realities of the economic and social insecurity we are faced with has never been more obvious.
“If we still fail to see the connection between human health, human rights, human progress with nature now, then we open ourselves to an even more ominous future.’’
He added that Nigeria was blessed with natural elements, but that in its drive to industrialise and develop, a pathway was adopted which had led the country to where it is today.
“That is the rapidly changing climate laced with extreme indicators of poverty.”
According to him, to find our way back to the days of our flourishing flora, fauna and wide vegetation types, we must all continue to find ways to co-exist with nature.
He said that federal, state and local governments must ensure all remaining wild spaces are protected; implement efficient systems of waste management and adopt a circular economy.
Choji added that Nigerian government must ensure the observance of strong environmental impact assessments, implementation of all environmental guidelines and norms across sectors, especially extractive activities in coal, oil and gas.
“We must begin to build green infrastructure and support green enterprises as a pathway to a cleaner, healthier future,’’ he said.
The activist told NAN that the private sector needed to account for the environment in supply chains and financing, and adopt green measures.
“As civil societies and individuals, we need to rethink what we buy and use, and manage our consumption of all resources responsibly.
“Our youths must become committed gatekeepers of a green future.
“The quality of our lives and the survival of our population is dependent on these actions.
“As we work to build back our economy, let us not forget the cost of losing our fragile ecosystems that provide us good health, clean air, water and food,’’ he said.
He told NAN that economic growth could no longer be achieved at the cost of ecological imbalance.
“Well-balanced ecosystems, rich in biodiversity is fundamental to human existence, health, peace and progress.
“It is time to for us to wake up; this world environment day is time for nature,’’ he added. (NAN)