Today we celebrate what many consider to be the international mother nature day called Earth Day. Earth Day is primarily dedicated to conserving our planet’s resources in such a way as to achieve sustainable development for mankind.
The brief history going down memory lane of Earth Day celebrations, says around 20 million citizens of America, 47 years ago came together to demand an end to commercial pollution, indiscriminate dumping of toxic materials, use of pesticides and unregulated human activities that degrade ourenvironment.
Astonishingly, it was the idea of a U.S politician Senator Nelson Gaylord, and this event is now a global campaign celebrated in 192 nations. It is globally coordinated by a non-profit organization, the Earth Day Network. The activities for the Earth Day celebrations usually include but are not limited to the following; Rallies, peaceful Marches, talks, presentations in schools, universities and local communities.
The Emphasis till date continue to rest on the planet and how truly splendid it can be if the Earth vivacious ecosystem is cared for and protected from human abusive activities which limit the survival of all life forms on earth. This is how advanced nations celebrate the EARTH day.
It is not the same in most African countries who are still at the level of trying to understand how to govern themselves and how to see others from a different ethnic group as human beings.
The level of corruption in most African nations has also negatively shifted the priority of Africans from their environment to trying to survive. The situation is further worsen by the long years of poor governance and visionless leadership which has affected the quality of education citizens receive and healthcare services, all these have helped to relegate the continent, such that serious issues that the Earth Day tries to address or resolve are ignored on the continent and the consequences are usually devastating.
Just reflecting on my African childhood and my current young adult life, I never saw the philosophy of saving the Earth in this light as it’s been celebrated in advance nation, until the current climate change crisis reared its head and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report revealed that Africa will be the most vulnerable continent impacted by Climate Change.
It hit me harder in my soul, when I was privileged to attend the Climate Reality Project (CRP) training on climate change in March 2017 in Denver Colorado and had a rare encounter with the Founder of the organization the Ex-Vice President of United State of America Mr. Al Gore, who further urge that we start taking action to save our environment and on sighting a reports of what lies ahead for the African continent, even in the city I grew up Lagos Nigeria may be submerged before the end of this century because of the rising sea level caused by the rising temperature in the North Pole. The rapid melting of old iceberg in the north pole that have existed for many years is to blame for the rising sea level and also the newly formed iceberg in the region which are not as strong as the old iceberg also melt much faster, their melting increase the volume of water streaming into the ocean and potentially responsible for rising sea level.
I realised following all these revelations that my generation was never prepared or had limited knowledge on the impact that the environment on their existence and with this year Earth Day campaign theme being Climate Literacy and Environment, It comes at a perfect moment, for Africans and their respective governments to reflect and rededicate themselves to sincere commitments to making the continent ecologically sustainable.
We cannot afford to pull back from building the world that protects the environment and cultivates initiative and policies which guides Adaptation and Mitigation strategy for the needed sustainable development in our African communities.
Therefore, we must ensure that African are properly enlightened and educated about the climate change science and crisis on a day like the Earth Day holding on April 22nd, 2017.
I and my group TEAM 54 PROJECT, a Non-Profit Organization, have been coordinating an African initiative, that raises awareness of climate change impact through a global group of passionate individuals who are willing to spread and support the drive for a better environment while proffer solutions for Africa and other nations of the world. So a day like Earth Day is supposed to be celebrated in Africa by encouraging Education. This education is important for Africans to be able to enjoy sustainable development. There is the need to adequately understand the climate science and use the knowledge to better improve our Agricultural sector, Health sector, and drive the needed socio-economic growth model without using fossil fuel. Proper education will generate enlightenment which in turn will empower and inspire action in defence of our environment among young ones in the continent.
The understanding of the climate science is needed as a catalyst to ensure that proper regulations of energy policies are put in place, to also ensure that advance environmental and climate policies are enforced and to accelerate while encouraging creative ideas using technologies in order to better increase opportunities among African countries.
The Importance of marking the Earth Day celebrations can’t be over emphasised because Earth Day help to keep in view our progress, while concentrating on countries ecological problems and how to resolve them.
Africans really need to start to take go care of their environment by living health lifestyle, if we are to stand a chance as we head to the end of the 21st century. These points are achievable only if we start by keeping our environment clean. This should be done on a personal level, community level and even on a national level.
we must use every Earth Day celebration and any other day afterwards to restore hope to our continent and planet.
The facts coming out of Africa are not looking good, It is a fact that over 5,000 people die daily of dirty drinking water polluted either through the active fossil fuel exploration or through poor management of generated waste, and 65 percent of this people affected are Africans. It is official that 1 billion people are going hungry this very moment strictly because crops are drying up and dyeing following increase in temperature, presentation of extreme weather like storms, floods,Cyclones hailstones and drought. All of which have directly be traced back to the indiscriminate and exploitative activities of human on earth, over 40% of arable lands and natural resources are irreparably destroyed with various earthly species approaching extinction on yearly basis.
This is the Earth of today.
Therefore Earth Day should be a time for us to reflect and ask ourselves questions; where we are going and Is it moral to disrupt the relationship that has to exist between man and other species that have been here long before mankind? As Africans let us pause to think a little and look at where we are right now, there are so much violent conflict, humanitarian disaster, poverty all around our continent an environment crisis will only worsen our predicament.
Therefore we must seek and have knowledge of our environment and climate Changes within it, with this acquired understanding and a sincere commitment we can then be on the true path of sustainable development.
Consequently, now is time to urgently act to save our continent, taking climate actions like, reduce carbon emissions, recycling and reusing of things, better management of waste and planting trees are very good steps in the right direction. More importantly, we must begin to love not only ourselves but all other species in our planet.
We must all stop the fighting and visionless political leaderships across our continent. We must now return back to NATURE. Rising from today’s Earth Day celebration in Africa the conversation and plan should be about advancing climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and innovative technologies for sustainable development. Sadly, all these are dependent on the decisions we take from this very moment. We have children that have been brought into this world, we must leave something better for them, we must secure their future too it is the right thing to do. Nothing is going to change if everyone sits back and wait for changes to come. Everyone has a duty with respect to saving our continent and the Earth, if we all put our collaborative efforts together the resultant impact will transform our continent.
This Earth Day should be a wake-up call for all African the clock is ticking. It should also be a clarion call to all Africans that time is running out, only Africans can solve their problems no one will solve it for us. Already a global referendum on climate change and sustainable development exist, now is the time to urgently act before it’s too late. African youths should rise up and don’t get distracted its time to take your future seriously demand a better and safe environment.
Happy Earth Day celebration
TEAM 54 PROJECT