Wednesday, April 19, 2017

To preserve our home, practice the “three Rs”

Environmental issues have now become a regular topic of discussion.  It’s not unusual to hear people ascribe changes in weather patterns to global warming and so on.  It is generally agreed that more needs to be done to protect the environment and sustain it for the good of man and all other species.  

This year the theme for Earth Day is Environmental and Climate Literacy.  According to the Earth Day network, education is the basis for progress and there’s a need to build a community that understands the concept of climate change and the threat it poses to the earth.  As part of our contribution to the climate literacy campaign, here are some reasons why taking care of the earth and by extension our environment matters.

Earth is the only home we have.  Its state affects our health and the quality of our lives.  A dirty environment is a breeding ground for germs and disease.  For example, it is common knowledge that mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and bushy places thus people are encouraged to keep their environment clean and eliminate stagnant water.

We will pass this planet on to our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and beyond.  What kind of inheritance do we want to leave for them?  Do we want to leave an Earth with very high temperatures and increased natural disasters?  

Our food, water and even medicines come from the Earth.  If we don’t take care of it, we will put at risk our very survival.  For example, the popular anti- malaria drug Quinine is made from the bark of a tree first discovered in South America.  Nigerians can testify to the many local herbs and plants that are effective in treating minor to even serious illnesses.

Protecting the environment would also prevent conflicts, especially in Africa.  The United Nations reports that a significant number of internal conflicts are the result of competition for diminishing natural resources such as land and water.

 Now that we have discussed why we need to take care of the earth, let’s consider what we can do individually to protect it.

We can do, at least, three things.  Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
These three Rs target the need to conserve natural resources and reduce the amount of waste that we generate. 


We can reduce by buying used or reusable items instead of disposable or brand new stuff.  Recently, I bought several used books for my five year old daughter and we had great fun reading them. I also probably saved a few trees and some money too.   


Reuse products such as those nylon bags we get at the market when we shop instead of throwing them away. Keep them and reuse them.  Why not maintain and repair products instead of buying new ones.  I was amazed at how a relative transformed old shoes that I gave her into new pretty ones by taking them to a cobbler.  Buying slippers from those local cobblers is a good example of reusing since some of them use old tyres to make the shoes.


Although we still have a long way to go in Nigeria, there are organizations that are promoting recycling.  One example is wecyclers.  The organization collects recyclable waste materials like plastic bottles, plastic bags and aluminum cans from households in densely populated low income areas of Lagos through an SMS-based incentive program.   They in turn sort and sell to local recyclers.

In conclusion, every one of us can contribute to maintaining the Earth in our own small ways.

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