By Dahir M. Hashim
Our focus at the Panacea Foundation since I assumed it’s leadership has been on tree planting and ensuring sustainability through environmental awareness and advocacy, with the belief that our call is to evolve into strong change-makers in terms of resisting climate destruction and environmental degradation.
Our goal is to create a sustainable environment by creating jobs, protecting habitats, and restoring biodiversity. We also raise awareness about the importance of planting and caring for seedlings in order to mitigate the negative effects of climate change in our society, with the ultimate goal of creating a resilient society that frees its citizens from the shackles of climate change’s ongoing and severe effects.
Last month, a 3kg gas cylinder of N1,200 was inflated to over N 3,000 a price increase of more than 50%. Because of high demand, a bag of coal which used to be less than N 1,000 now costs over 3,000 as well.
Many communities are turning to firewood as a source of energy and cooking catalyst. This has been translated as a serious threat that we must fight against if we are serious about war against the energy crisis and ensuring climate control.
Since our inception, the Panacea Foundation has more than doubled the number of seedlings planted each year. We were able to plant 5000 more seedlings in 2020, and we have surpassed that in 2021 under our current Kano ‘Afforestation Drive,’ with 7500 trees planted thus far.
Although I am not an economist, as a medical doctor and a climate change activist, I am concerned that we will be unable to withstand further indiscriminate tree felling , and thus the need for government intervention is becoming more pressing.
The loss of trees is a major contributor to desertification, soil erosion, flooding, increased greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, and a slew of other climate-related issues.
Our environment is rapidly changing; the warming effect is a direct result of actions such as indiscriminate tree cutting, industrial fossil fuels, and over-exploitation of natural resources, all of which have put our lives in jeopardy.
According to statistics, the United Nations estimates that by 2030, 70 percent of the world’s population will live and work in cities. Today, Kano’s metropolis is home to more than half of the population, accounting for 60-70 percent of the state’s economic output and employment data.
This points to the fact that failing to act against rampant tree cutting would exacerbate the concentration of green house gas emissions in the atmosphere, resulting in serious negative consequences for economic output, human life, and, ultimately, the environment.
Given the nature and scope of forest destruction, the government should enact laws and regulations to halt human activity that endangers climate. We cannot afford to stand by and watch those who prioritise short-term economic gains over long-term environmental concerns with cutting down trees. Sensitization and educational campaigns should also be prioritised.
Local communities and organisations must step up and work together to launch awareness campaigns, localised tree planting, and forest management in their communities. Either we do this for ourselves or we will continue to be shocked by the effect of climate change.
Hashim writes from Kano and can be reach via Dahiru.email@example.com