This is a speech I gave at the toastmasters club meeting.
There is no heaven here on earth, but there are pieces of it.
If there is a married couple here, there is a probability they came in separate vehicles, right? Probably because the husband is to give a speech and thus came earlier, and the wife had to drop the kids with grandma, and so she had to come later or the other way around. But the point is that they came separately, and in separate vehicles. Chances are high that they rode in air conditioned vehicles, coming from an air conditioned house which they slept in after leaving an air conditioned office, all of which are serviced with generators- considering how PHCN operates here in Nigeria.
We have all heard about the ozone layer. What exactly is it? It is a layer of ozone gas, which is about 30km from earth. This layer prevents ultra violet rays from reaching the earth surface; it is highly reactive. Industries and vehicles emit chlorofluorocarbons which react rapidly with this ozone gas, thus depleting the ozone layer. Ozone depletion, who is a son of global warming, is a major cause of skin cancer, if you doubt me, Google is your friend.
Global warming is the term used to describe a gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and its oceans, basically more heat! This change is believed to be permanently changing the Earth’s climate. In Nigeria, I would give you two evidences that global warming is real.
- Observe the rain pattern. It is not as regular as it used to be. This year was a little better, but the last few years have seen changes, as we had very little rainfall round the year. Remember the phrase “August break’ that tells that rain stops in august. We already had august break since late June, and it’s still on. We don’t have 7 days rain that leave many stuck at home.
- Harmattan isn’t what I knew it to be as a child. Back in the day, Vaseline was our best friend, dry white skin, busted lips and cracked skin: a must have was baby oil and hot water showers. Presently, the most we experience is some form of dryness in the atmosphere, and mild early morning fog.
In the colder regions, this heat or warming melts glaciers and icebergs, and causes a rise in sea level, which would make seas and rivers overflow their banks, ultimately leading to flood at the slightest rainfall. Temperatures are rising, and that is evident in the whole world.
A good way to look at this, is the way trees work with the environment.
When a tree breathes, it takes in carbon dioxide, which is a major gas that we and our machines and vehicles emit. However, what do we take in? We take in oxygen, and that is what trees breathe out. Trees recycle the carbon dioxide we exhale, and give us the oxygen we inhale. It’s like a trade-by-barter, where we give trees our carbon dioxide and they give us their oxygen. So no trees, no oxygen, no oxygen, no human life!
The fundamental reason why trees are planted in houses, and flower vases are kept in the living room, and why fresh flowers are sent to a sick person is to help keep that area well oxygenated. It is not just for aesthetics or romance, in the case of flowers.
Do you ever wonder why the sun in less industrial areas isn’t as scorching as the one in the highly industrialized areas? This is because the trees are intact there, and they ameliorate the climate, and make the environment cooler.
Has anyone here been to a canopy walk? Or heard of one? It is basically a sophisticated foot bridge built to pass through a forest, and then takes you as high as the top, where you get to see a forest in its natural state. You see the birds and monkeys and vast vegetation in an undisturbed state, leaving you in an awe of graciousness. I’ve been to one, and I implore you to visit one also. There is in Ghana, and also very close to us here, opposite Chevron. After this experience, you might just appreciate why the ecosystem needs to be conserved and left alone.
What happens next? When we constantly emit aerosols from plants and air conditioners and the three generators in our houses, we help big daddy called global warming to get fatter. We cut trees for our furniture and paper making, and do nothing to replace them, thus increasing the temperature of the earth. We pour in carbon dioxide faster than the rate at which the trees can absorb it, considering the fact that we have fewer trees left. Polar bears are adorable to look at, but they are going into extinction as the ice in the region they stay is melting.
Is there a way forward? Yes! It individually starts with us. A major step is to spread the news about climate change, and discourage deforestation. Then we take it a step further by turning off air conditioners that are not being used, and sometimes, when the road is free, roll down your car windows. In our estates and offices, organize CSR programs themed to conserve the environment, such as operation plant a tree. Plan your trips, and take only a vehicle out. Peradventure someone here works with the government, we need to form a means of reducing the gas emitted by industries, with fines associated for breaking the law.
I leave you with these word: nature doesn’t need us. We need nature. What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?