Less than three months ago, the whole world celebrated the EARTH’s DAY, and a few days ago the 5th of June, there was a celebration of the WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY as directed by United Nations. There are now many commemorative days by the global community to keep reminding us of the need to live in peace with all the other inhabitants and creatures that share the planet with us humans such as the trees, the forests, the shrubs, the dry and wetlands, the deserts, the animals, the seas, the ocean, and the various marine lives.
In one of my previous articles, “LIFE IS LAND”, I noted that as we all may know, there are many planets in the universe, including Jupiter – the brother of planet earth; Mars and more, but science tells us that our Earth is the only planet with life. Various explorations of the rest of the planets show they do not have water, oxygen, rivers and oceans, trees and plants, and therefore, no inhabitants or food. However, the debate is still ongoing in the scientific community on the possibility of life on other planets. As that has yet to be proven, it is clear that the destruction of earth will be the end of mankind. It comes to reason, therefore, that when the planet earth was created billions of years ago, the trees and shrubs, the rivers, the seas, and the oceans were there before human beings and other inhabitants because we needed the air for oxygen, the land and animals for food, shelter and water.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “to forget how to tend the soils and nurture the land is to forget ourselves.” Alas, it is clear as day that we have forgotten ourselves. We don’t have to look very far to witness the damaging effects of pollution on land as we witness it every day with the erosions, plastic dumping along the road and gutters, and cutting down of trees without replacement on a daily basis. On our farmlands, we see plastic sachet water wrappers hanging from trees as a result of the wind relocating them from the ground and onto tree branches.
With plastics everywhere and on the grounds, crops do not get the necessary nutrient from the land, seeing that they have to compete with plastics to get nutrients from the land.
In essence, the phrase ‘Land is Life’ has a deeper meaning because, if truly land is life, the harmful things we do to our land directly affect our health. It is no wonder that the mortality rate for men and women in Nigeria is one of the lowest in the world. It affects us all equally, the rich and the poor, the young and the old. If harmful toxins are leaking into our land and we are consuming crops that grow from that land, it means the food we consume must be contaminated. If our animals are eating food that has been directly affected by one form of pollution or another and we are consuming these animals, it is inevitable that we will develop health problems that can eventually become fatal.
You are not any safer from the pollution in the air just because you are sitting comfortably in your air-conditioned car or house because the air that is filtered and recycled in the compressor is the same polluted air everyone else is breathing.
The current Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Erik Solheimis quoted to have said that making the switch from disposable plastic to sustainable alternatives is an investment in the long-term future of our environment.” It benefits us all.
Most of the rest of the creatures were on the planet before humans, yet we are the most destructive and if you continue to follow this path of destruction, taking and taking without putting back, the planet earth will continue to punish us with so many catastrophes, the likes we may never understand or find answers to. For these reasons, the United Nations for the past few decades has introduced interventions and mitigation slogans, declarations, and conventions not only to create awareness but also for sensitizing the whole world towards saving the lands and saving our lives because with the good lands that harbour all these important elements of life, the air that we breathe, the water that we drink and the food that we eat will continue to be poisoned.
Therefore, the time for action is now before the land becomes unlivable and un-farmable. For these reasons, this year’s World Environment Day came with the theme, “ONLY ONE EARTH” with the slogan, “Living sustainably in harmony with nature”.FADEAfrica decided to commemorate the day differently in Asaba, Delta State by embarking on a roadshow as a way of giving the public a sense of inclusiveness and bringing them to become partners and custodians of the trees and shrubs that are being planted by the roadsides. We also tried to make them understand the roles trees play in their lives. Some of them sit under the tree on a hot sunny day not only to respect the trees they sit under but also to care even when most of them can’t tell the age of the trees, who planted them and why it was planted. We also talked to the public about the benefits that are likely to come to them if they help to nurture those trees that were planted. It was a joint effort to create awareness and make the people understand the importance of caring for the environment. We were joined by Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, Lions Club, Green Afrique Hub, Rotary Club, and Corp Members from Akukwu, my hometown. Well-written tracts on the environment were shared with the public including passengers in moving vehicles. Drivers and passers-by were engaged in conversations as all hands are needed on deck to tackle the issues involving the environment.
We also planted trees, shrubs and flowers along the way from Interbua Roundabout to FMC Roundabout to practice the gospel we preach.
Mother Nature is deteriorating due to human activities against it. Seeing that there is no Planet B, the only Planet Earth readily available to us for survival needs to be taken care of before it begins to fight back. Taken from the words of our elders, there is a saying, “Those animals particularly the birds that move between the trees and sometimes make their nests on the trees with little respect for the lands forget that the trees also rest on the lands and that when they die, they fall down to the lands and nurture the land brings us to appreciate every day that the land we stand on is life and that without the land there is no life”.