There has never been a better time to save the Earth than now, with a global average temperature rise of 0.74 degrees Celsius over the last 100 years, and Nigeria’s average temperature up by 1.78 degrees Celsius during the last 76 years. Evidently, environmental devastation has been one of the worst catastrophes brought about by industrial activities. Global air pollution kills 6.5 million people yearly. This is climate change writ large! Without strategic climate actions, especially in Africa, it could lead to a 10 percent reduction in crop output in sub-Saharan Africa alone, sooner rather than later. Therefore, the need arises for everyone to at least do one thing to save the planet.
This is not the time to be locked up in “This is how we have always done things”, because to think so is to neglect one’s role as a responsible citizen. A new way of looking at things is required. Hopefully, achieving this lofty ambition of saving the planet does not require any rocket science whatsoever. Rather, it demands a “Do-One-Thing” attitude.
Former US Vice President Al Gore is a good example of somebody who has got a handle of the “Do One Thing” attitude. He is one of many good-natured others who have grappled with the urgency required to drive change in the global environment sector, which is a precursor to economic wellbeing and the antidote to extreme poverty. Al Gore uses the Climate Reality Project, a not-for-profit platform which he founded several years ago to galvanize people all around the world to spread the awareness of Climate Change, drive the expected change around it, and ultimately support desirable solutions to combat the climate crisis. What a man of great courage! You too can do your bit locally.
As a way of response to this clarion call, some green organizations and NGOs in Nigeria like Green Intelligence, ClimateAide, Quant-Qual Solutions, GreenEducate Initiative etc. have got onto it locally. They regroup from time to time to advocate climate literacy on radio and TV stations, secondary and primary schools, and tertiary institutions. They also engage in tree planting activities with a unified view to providing climate information and action that would spur change in attitude and environment.
These audiences are taught that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane gas, chlorophlourocarbons, nitrous oxide, etc. heat up the atmosphere which in turn causes temperatures to rise globally. As a result, people, crops, energy systems (hydroelectric power, for instance), Industries, and even animals are affected adversely. In fact, research shows that water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of the world’s population. Human health is particularly in danger in this regard. According to Professor Hugh Montgomery, Co-Chair of the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change, “Climate Change is a medical emergency”. Heat stress, air pollution, water borne diseases, and infectious diseases are all negative impacts to human health of this deadly phenomenon, to say the least.
Do One Thing is a climate action campaign embarked upon by Green Intelligence in Nigeria and the Golden High School Environment Club in Colorado, in collaboration with Deena Larsen of the Bureau of Reclamation for Safer Environment of Denver. The campaign encourages every individual to become environmentally conscious by engaging in at least one daily small action to save the planet without great effort. Golden High School Environment Club members mostly embark on workshops for their fellow students on climate literacy. The High School has also recently developed a “What Does Climate Change Mean to You” web survey, to uncover people’s views on climate change, as part of the ”Do One Thing” campaign.
A little action a day will make all the difference in reducing our footprints and increasing our handprints in our immediate environment. Whereas footprints are those actions that contribute to global warming, handprints are those acts that salvage the environment. Truth is, if you want to know the power of life, you have to be conscious about it, otherwise it does not even exist for you. It is just like the “butterfly effect”, also known as “sensitive dependence upon initial conditions”, whereby the air moved in one part of the world by an insect can be the initiatory cause for a typhoon that occurs somewhere else at a later time.