Human activities are changing fast over time from simple endeavors like cooking a meal to space exploration. From living on fresh foods through inventing fire up to the modern age of using gas and electric stoves, making long journeys on foot thereafter leveraging the energy and speed of donkeys and horses until today where our society is filled with motor vehicles, sailing vessels and flying machines, human evolution is at a fast pace. This wonderful evolution has brought comfort, wealth and render life more enjoyable. However, this change has not been in isolation. Our surrounding also continues to alter alongside. The interesting symbiosis between the metamorphosis of human activities and the shift we see in our environment is regrettably inverse. As the resources of land and space become the sources of improving human life and creating wealth, our natural sources are losing their pristine conditions.
The corollary of varied forms of exploration of the dry land is that the soil is losing its surface while sea levels continue to rise. The rippling effects of human induced global warming which is furthering the egregious variation in climatic conditions is palpable and have been acclaimed by all experts, and hence has dutified global leaders to take a collaborative approach in carving a much needed solution. It must be a united global movement to deal with climate change because the rigor of climate change is not bound to geographical spaces, rather the entire planet earth is at its mercy.
Recently, I attended a movie screening event hosted by professor Sola Olopade at the University of Chicago Center for Global Health titled “Nowhere to Run”. Professor Olopade’s research explored the deleterious effects of climate and environmental crisis to the socio-economic, political, and sustainable development of many communities in Nigeria. Northern Nigeria has experienced massive deforestation and land degradation over the years leaving the area agriculturally impotent contrary to its once acclaimed source of pride. The country’s water bodies are fast vanishing including the lake chad which occupied about 26,000 kilometer square of land in the 1960s but has lost about four-fifth of its coverage by 2001. With a continuous drying land and evaporating acqua resource, the source of livelihood to the residents of Northern Nigeria has become gravely threatened. Therefore, while some of the youth have migrated towards the southern regions of that country in search of nonexisting breakthroughs to their economic indigence, others remained and resorted to radicalism giving rise to the activities of “Boko haram” in the region.
But Nigeria is not alone in the urgency of having to deal with this unpleasurable phenomenon of climate change. From Ghana to Sudan and between Morocco and South Africa, all nations on the African continent have been impacted one way or another by climate change which is eating away the livelihood and resources of the continent. Unfortunately, Europe, Americas, Asia and Australia are not exonerated either from this pandemic. While the sea levels keep rising and snow and ice disappear from sea and land, the ocean continues to get warmer and the extremity of temperatures is undeniably obvious. Human health, ecosystems and socio-economic life in these parts of the world are accordingly experiencing regress. And if we have all not noticed yet, then we probably will soon enough, the bitter truth, that indeed there’s nowhere to run, unless we act swiftly and strategically with the time we have.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was enacted in 1992 set the tone for a coalesced global effort in dealing with climate issues. We are currently in the second period of the UNFCCC spanning 2013 to 2020 of nations working together to limit global temperature increases and climate change. “The Paris Agreement” is expected to come into effect from 2020 onward and seeks to persuade the commitments of member states to endeavor to achieve set targets in mitigating global warming. Climate change and its effects are ubiquitous and all nations and governments should throw their weights behind “The Paris Agreement”. The latent renunciation of the agreement by the United States of America government is cowardice and should be shunned by other members.