Mobilising academia to fight back deforestation in Nigeria

Through her organization Environment & Millennium Targets Ltd (EMT), Climate Reality Leader Catherine Patricks-Chinemerem is working to stimulate and catalyse actions to stop and halt the negative trend of high rate of deforestation in Nigeria.

Catherine Patricks-Chinemerem, a 2016 Houston trained Climate Reality Leader, took her message and awareness campaign to the university campus on 11 May 2017  when she presented to a cross-section of senior lecturers and members of the academia at the department of Forestry of the Rivers State University in Port Harcourt (Nigeria). Her presentation focused on solving the climate crisis with the help of the forestry department’s forest eco-system.

During the presentation, Catherine shared to the audience the urgent need to reduce deforestation and protect the forests in Nigeria. In attendance were two professors, two associate professors, two academic doctors and one doctorate research student. All attendees were experts in the forestry department. They expressed appreciation to her message and assured of their readiness to further discussions on the matter.

A cross-section of senior lecturers and
academic staff present during the discussion

In her presentation Catherine identified the following negative implications deforestation has on the environment:

  • Leads to soil erosion,
  • Loss of biodiversity & ecosystems
  • Loss of wildlife
  • Negative impacts on social aspects of the country, like economic
    issues, agriculture, conflict and most importantly, quality of
    life
  •  Contributes to increasing carbon emission and
    climate change
  • Contributes to desertification

Catherine’s message for hope and the big picture for solutions were that there is a growing awareness of the negative consequences of deforestation. Several Climate Reality Leaders are involved in a nationwide learning, research and knowledge exchange campaign for reforestation, sustainable forest management and forest resources conservation, with a view to promote indigenous species and local participation/involvement to regain forest cover and improve community livelihoods across Nigeria.