WHY AFRICANS NEED TO SUPPORT THE MARINE ARCTIC PEACE SANCTUARY PROJECT

by Dr. Daniel Gbujie

Continental Africa is located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Generally, Africa has two distinct seasons, the rainy season characterized by sprouting flowers with green grasses and the dry season characteristically felt as an intense heat.

Africa’s geographical location exposes her to intense solar radiation which leads to extreme temperatures that seem to be the norm these days, though commonly experienced in the northern part of Africa.  However, the extreme temperature can be felt anywhere in Africa.

Indeed the climate crisis is turning the Arctic zone into an unstable ice block, with numerous scientific evidence indicating that rising temperature is changing the topography of the area.

Anthropogenic origin has been implicated in this unfortunate environmental challenge and most of the all-around destructive changes in the Northernmost part of the world are solely caused by mankind.  Ms. Irene Quaile, an international environment journalist who has been documenting these changes for over a decade, wrote in an OP-ED article wrote that she believes these negative changes don’t stay in the Arctic alone, but expand Southward – generating a much more serious ripple effect often felt in the Sahel region of Africa and coastal nations of West Africa.

Furthermore, scientists have been warning for years that the Arctic zone hasn’t been itself, primarily due to the unending rise in temperatures. Now, the rate of temperature increases felt in Africa is calculated to be at twice the global average rate, with an array of changes, unlike anything mankind has ever seen in history.

The scenery described by above is supported by renowned scientists at the Space for Development (ESPACE-DEV), Institute of Research for Development in France, in their paper titled “Consequences of rapid ice sheet melting on the Sahelian population vulnerability”.  It revealed that the polar ice melting has a far more destructive influence when it dissolves to form fresh water and enters the arctic ocean. It immediately creates an eruptive reaction which leads to sweeping changes in the oceans across the world. These sweeping global effects are achieved through the rising sea levels, reversal of ocean circulation and flow and the dissolving permafrost.

As an African running a not-for-profit organization called Team 54 Project, that raises awareness about the impact of climate change in vulnerable regions through a coordinated network of passionate members in 169 nations, I was amazed at the low level of knowledge I had about of events in the Arctic.  My assumption that my continent was insulated from the effects of the Arctic melting was punctured after the full disclosure from some more scientific research and a conference hosted by United Nations on climate change in Marrakesh, Morroco in 2016.

Scientists had already started the doom clock in the Arctic.  This clock is often likened to a danger-alert sign made possible from the series of data recorded over a long period.  This information is then stored into a supercomputer system which plots an algorithm that is processed by more supercomputer networks to recreate a virtual scenario of what the Arctic would look like if we continue to exploit it for monetary purposes. The forecast scenario reveals an apocalyptic future for nations in West Africa (where I come from), Small Island Developing States ( SIDS) like Fuji island, who is currently looking to relocate all its citizens by 2050 because a considerable part of actual land mass has been covered by water, and parts of the Caribbean are going to be hit the worst.

Consequently upon hearing what may truly befall my nation, Nigeria, in 30 years from today, I decided to take action.

Dr. Daniel Gbujie is dedicated to the fight against climate change, and the fight for his nation’s and his children’s future. Here the Gbujie family enjoy their first New York winter.

Photographer: Ezioma Gbujie

Scared at first of this revelation, plus the seemingly endless information about the mountains of Polar Ice are that melting daily, I knew within me that I needed to act first before all will be lost.

I recently came across an international online platform that focuses solely on the climatic changes in the Arctic, called “Ice-Blog”.  It’s owned by Deutsche Welle, a group based in Germany that is devoted to providing quality news and information across the globe.  In an article written again by Ms. Quaile, she suggested that the changes in the Arctic zone will indeed affect the agricultural system and subsistent farming.

A publication in the Washington Post of 6th of June 2017 titled: “A climate chain reaction: Major Greenland melting could devastate crops in Africa”, written by Chelsea Harvey gave a clearer picture. It revealed that scientists are convinced that as the Polar Ice dissolves at it’s current pace, there will be an influx of freshwater from the ice sheets that will flow into the Arctic Sea causing disruption in the flow of ocean current system, which in turn would lead to dry conditions out in the Africa’s Sahel, that stretches from Mauritania in the West to Sudan in the East.

The article concluded by saying that there would be significant negative agricultural impacts in Africa, which would only worsen the fate of a continent in serious need of assistance due to the presence of extreme poverty.

Clearly, there will be famine and inevitably a great humanitarian crisis in Africa, where millions of people could be forced to migrate if nothing is done to prepare the various African governments and citizens.

Hence, my decision to collaborate with any group that raises awareness about the issues in the Arctic. Luckily for me, I connected to a wonderful international organization called PARVATI.org, a Not-for-profit group based in Canada. Following a formal interest to work with the organization, we have been engaging numerous government officials on these issues with a focus on getting African leaders to bring their ideas together on how to address the crisis in the Arctic.

After months of advocating for the protection of the Arctic resources with the view to prevent an apocalyptic Africa, I was nominated and appointed as one of the organization’s Global Ambassadors, to help assist in spreading the vision of Parvati.org through the initiative called MAPS: the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary.  MAPS is dedicated to stopping seismic testing, raising awareness about the rapidly melting polar ice and its effect across the world.  There is a great need to stop the commercial exploitation of the Arctic Resources as it affects even the indigenous people living in the region whose livelihood is threatened daily.

Truly, I know much better now, and want to share this new found knowledge, and hope, across Africa and the globe.

An excited and optimistic Dr. Daniel Gbujie at the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals stand in New York.

Photographer: Dr. Daniel Gbujie

The climate modeling approach, which is a template that tells the real state of things, says we don’t have time, and there is evidence that some changes will never be reversed.  Try to imagine what Nigeria, a nation on the West African coast, would look like if the polar melting continues unabated.   We are the most populous black nation in the world, and the chaos and panic would trigger a humanitarian crisis.

Currently, my country is experiencing one of worse internal crises ever recorded in our history.  The most predominant occupation in the northern region of Nigeria is to be a herdsman, but climate change has been forcing the herdsman south, and resulting in grave conflict.

The harsh temperature increases in the north have left the entire region, half the size of California, barren.  This has left the nomadic herdsmen to migrate in their millions and invade the more abundant southern landscape.

Northern herdsmen looking for grazing areas for their animals are migrating to the southern part of Nigeria, much closer to the coast and this has caused conflict, as southern farmers and their animals have been killed, and crops destroyed.

The constant conflict between the herdsmen and sedentary farmers in the southern part of the country has led to daily killings, and the failure of the government to address the cause or understand the issue has only worsened the situation.  Officially the killings have now been tagged genocidal.

While farming is a primary occupation in southern Nigeria, they now have been forced out of their ancestral homes, and their livelihoods completely destroyed.

This is all directly linked to climate change and possibly exacerbated by the activities in the Arctic. The Arctic story is a tale that mankind must take seriously, if it wants a happy ever after.

We have a moral obligation to leave behind a prosperous Earth for our children and their friends. All earthly resources such as land, ocean, forest reserves and the Arctic are all commonwealth owned by mankind. As caretakers, we must ensure that we are responsible and have respect for Mother Nature’s natural resources.

Let it be said and known that we are all connected to one another no matter the race or tribe.  Therefore, anything that affects our collective wealth will certainly affect our existence.

Africans should stand with us and support the project MAPS.

Now is the time for the citizens of the world to act as real humans.

Support climate action for Africa, support MAPS.

Dr. Gbujie is a Climate Reality Leader, the founder of a global platform called the Team 54 Project (an NGO that raises awareness about the impact of climate change in vulnerable nations, working towards SDG 13), an advocate of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a multiple international award-winning environmentalist, eco- writer, researcher, and was also a world medical association delegate to COP 22. He was also recently appointed as a global MAPS Ambassador by the international organization Parvati.org.