Climate Change and its effects on Nigeria

According to the National Geographic, climate change is a long-term shift in global or regional climate patterns. Often, climate change is mistaken to mean the weather but it does not, climate change is measured over a long period, while the weather changes from day to day or year to year. While it is different from the weather, it can cause the weather to be unpredictable. Climate change has long-lasting negative effects and It takes individuals, organizations, and governments to work together to help reduce its dangers.

Since the industrial revolution, the earth has gotten warmer. The earth is one degree higher since the time of the industrial revolution. If we can keep the earth between one degree to two degrees for the next hundred years we will be fine but this is not working out. We are about to hit 1.5 degrees in just 10 years by 2030. The earth is getting warmer because, since the industrial revolution, man has been burning fuels like petrol and coal thus emitting the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.Our ever-increasing population also means that we keep farm animals like cows and sheep that emit methane, another greenhouse gas. The same population also means we have a huge amount of waste to dispose of. Our waste adds to the greenhouse gases when broken down in landfills, also improper waste management leads to air and sea pollution. Finally, there is also the gas nitrous oxide that emits when it is broken down in the soil, nitrous oxide can be found in fertilizers used to help crops grow. These gases carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are greenhouse gases that keep the earth warmer by trapping the heat of the sun in the atmosphere, causing the greenhouse effect.

What then are the results of this unbalance? For one, ocean levels are rising and if not curtailed, some ocean cities will be underwater in about 50 to 80 years. Also, it threatens good health, clean air supply, safe drinking water, and nutritious food supply. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), climate change is to cause about 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030-2050; 38,000 due to heat exposure in elderly people, 95,000 due to malnutrition, 60,000 due to malaria, and 48,000 due to diarrhea.

As a result of climate change, there is drought in some areas, these areas that used to yield bountiful harvest are now lacking in food, causing animals and humans to migrate. Another case is the ongoing acidification of the oceans as the oceans absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Ocean acidification makes it difficult for marine life to live while also affecting the ability of the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide, which in turn is increasing global warming.

All these things are happening in Nigeria especially the increase in temperature, flooding, intense rainfalls, reduction of farming produce, drought in Northern Nigeria with Lake Chad and other lakes at the risk of drying off. The Guinea Savannah region of Nigeria is also witnessing the effects of climate change as logging and the use of firewood for cooking has reduced the vegetation in some areas, some parts of the Oyo forest has also been reduced to grassland. According to Ilevbare Femi Monday, climate change in Nigeria can be linked to diseases such as cardiovascular respiratory disorder of the elderly, skin cancer, high blood pressure, malaria, cholera, and maternal health illnesses, since it causes weather conditions that will lead to the increase of these diseases. This is affecting us and will continue to affect us, for example, reduced agricultural production means that the livelihoods of many people who live on agriculture will be affected, the effect will also be felt the economy as agriculture accounts for about 23% of it, making climate change a threat to the economy. It has also been a source of conflict, as desertification in the North has led to some herdsmen moving around Nigeria to find greener areas for their cattle often causing clashes with farmers whose crops the animals eat.

How then can we try to combat climate change? We need to monitor our carbon footprint, which is the number of carbon dioxide we are burning. We need to begin to think about activities we involve ourselves in and see how we can reduce carbon burning. For example, we can start with cars which are a huge source of greenhouse gas release. We can choose to occasionally share cars when going to a common destination instead of taking individual cars. We could also strive to maintain our car’s health so it is not burning excess fuel.

We could reuse products and try not to waste, be it water, food and even electricity. To encourage longer use, we could give the materials we no longer need out to people who need it. We should plant trees to fight against global warming and dissuade against the unnecessary cutting down of trees so that trees can help fight deforestation and take in carbon dioxide from the air. While we plant trees, we should recycle and encourage recycling as a business to limit the amount of damaging waste that is put out there. Finally, we need to educate ourselves and others, because saving the planet starts with the individual. This does not exclude the duty of the government to create and enforce laws that will curb climate change, properly monitor climate change, and create public sensitization.

Climate change is a growing concern that trickles down to our daily lives whether we notice it or not. If not properly managed it could displace livelihoods, lead to the loss of lives from diseases, lend a hand in creating socio-economic problems and generally cause a poor quality of life for Nigerians. We as a country need to work together to tackle this problem so it does not get worse than it already is.

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