Nigerians Make Bold Declarations for the Environment.

The Health of Mother Earth Foundation’s Sustainability Academy had its inaugural sessions in three cities in Nigeria: Abuja, Benin City and Lagos on the 19th, 21st and 23rd August 2013 respectively. The event was the first hosted by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), an environmental / ecological think tank and advocacy organization. The goal of the HOME Sustainability Academy (HOME School) is to provide a mobile and multi-city critical platform that addresses issues of fossil fuels (dirty energy, climate change, geo-engineering, REDD, etc.) and hunger politics (genetic engineering, food aid, land grabs, etc.).

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During this first session, each city had a different audience with Abuja addressing policy makers and NGO leaders, Benin City focussing on school children and community people and Lagos targeting university scholars. Participation thus broadly covered the social spectrum in Nigeria. The Instigator for this session was Ambassador Pablo Solon, the current Executive Director of the NGO, Focus on the Global South, and former ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations.

The facts presented during the HOME School revealed that Africa is the most vulnerable region in the world with regards to climate change. Climate change is occurring because of large amounts of Green House Gases (GHGs) emitted into the atmosphere, by human activities. GHGs exist in nature and are needed for temperature regulation in the climatic system.  However, since industrialization of societies, the stock of GHGs in the atmosphere has spiked and temperature is increasing dramatically.  One GHG, carbon dioxide, has increased from 280 ppm in 1850 to 400 ppm in 2012. According to scientific consensus, we must limit temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius in order for dramatic and unpredictable climatic changes not to occur.

As a result of climate change, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, extreme weather will cause dry areas to become drier and wet areas to become wetter. The impacts of Climate Change will be felt most directly in the following ways:

  • Reduced agricultural food productivity.

  • Water availability in Nigeria will drop from over 3000 m³ per person per year in 1990 to 1700 m³ per person per year in 2025. Scarcity is defined as less than 1000 m³ per person per year, which means Nigeria is approaching water scarcity.

  • Displacement of more people in different regions of Africa; a worrisome migration challenge that needs urgent attention.

  • By the year 2030, conflicts and civil wars in Africa will increase by up to 54%.

  • The estimated global emissions by 2020 with business as usual will be 58 gigatons of co2 equivalent. But in order to be below a 2 degrees Celsius increase, we need to be below 44 gigatons.

  • Developing countries that contribute the least greenhouse gases will be the most impacted by Climate Change.

While richer countries can afford to adapt to climate change to a certain extent, poorer countries, who contribute the least emissions, are unable to afford climate adaptation strategies and are thus forced to do more than those who are responsible for the crisis.  Climate Justice demands that those who have polluted in the past and are currently polluting have the responsibility of more drastic emission cuts. Sadly, rich nations keep embarking on false solutions such as carbon trading.

The false solutions to climate change currently perpetuated in  and out of the corridors of negotiations include:

  1. Synthetic biology, genetically modified organisms, geo-engineering (stratospheric sulphate Injection, ocean fertilization to increase algae blooms and cloud brightening with sea water, etc.)

  2. Carbon markets (they don’t reduce emissions; they just shift the emissions around).

  3. REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and its variants

  4. Agrofuels proposed as replacement for fossil fuels.

At the end of the sessions in all three cities, the Academy resolved:

  1. That awareness campaigns on climate policies and actions should be intensified,

  2. That the world should leave at least two thirds of fossil fuel reserves under the soil and seek alternative / sustainable sources of energy. No new fossil fuel fields or mines should be opened

  3. That Nigeria should reject the introduction of GMOs into the agricultural and food market, as these would negatively impact agricultural production and food supply, erode biodiversity and have unacceptable health implications

  4. That Nigeria should ban the exploitation of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing,

  5. That nations should agree to a climate regime with legally binding provisions,

  6. That Nigeria should decentralize the generation and ownership of energy in the country and invest in renewable sources of energy,

  7. That the building or development of unnecessary mega infrastructure projects (such as the Eko Atlantic project) should be stopped,

  8. The Nigerian government should reject all false solutions to climate change such as Clean Development Mechanism (CDM),

  9. That Nigeria should end the dominance of export-based industrial forms of food production and promote food sovereignty with special support for small-holder producers,

  10. That Nigeria should promote local production and consumption of durable goods,

  11. That Nigeria should adopt zero waste strategies,

  12. That Nigeria should stop and reverse corporate driven free trade and investment agreements,

  13. That the $1.6trillion global war industry and military infrastructure should be dismantled and some of that budget provide for climate mitigation and adaptation

  14. That gas flaring be stopped completely.

We look forward to the implementation of these outcomes and commit to providing resources to aid knowledge generation, sharing and action to tackle climate change and the looming food crisis in Nigeria and Africa.

The HOME Foundation will host the second Sustainability Academy (HOME School 02) in Lagos and Port Harcourt, 25 – 30 November 2013.

For more information visit www.homef.org

One thought on “Nigerians Make Bold Declarations for the Environment.

  1. September 25, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Truly laudable and forward-looking recommendations. But, without the buy-in of our policy-makers, we’ll keep running around the same loop.

    We should get our policy-makers to develop, adopt and publicize a concrete green-target that we can all be measured against.

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