FRIENDS OF THE ENVIRONMENT (FOTE)
The country called Nigeria is boarded to the North by Niger to the East by Cameroon, to the West by Republic of Benin and to the South by the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria occupies an area of 923,768.64sq km and lies roughly between latitudes 5ON and 13ON and between longitudes 2.5OE and 14OE. According to 2006 census, Nigeria population was about 140 million. The climate is humid sub-tropical with two seasons (dry season usually from November to March and rainy season usually from April to October). The three main vegetation types are coastal swamp forests, tropical moist forests and Savanna grassland. The Principal rivers are River Niger and River Benue. In general usage, and to the lay person, environment means our surroundings and so the environment is all around us. It is therefore very common to hear phrases such as “town x and its environs,” “surroundings environment” etc. all, apparently, have been used colloquially as if the word environment refer to a particular place. However, the term environment means all the living (biotic) and Non-living (a biotic) factors that can affect an organism (including human) in a place (habitat) where he lives; and these factors in a way affect human activities and natural phenomena. These two affects interest and contribute to determine the development of the social environment (such as employment, health, housing, education etc.)
There is an Asante (Ghana) proverb which says that while you are eating your hen’s eggs, you are eating your chickens. Similarly, a Nigerian proverb says that a man who ate his cock for supper cannot hope to be woken up in the morning by that same cock. This means that if we destroy our environment today, there will be nothing left for us tomorrow. If we continue to pollute the environment through waste generation and improper disposal, it will have adverse effect on our health, and block drainage channels, if we continue to vandalize oil pipe lines, the environment will be degraded, if we continue to emit gaseous emission (such as burning of fossil fuel) which is the major cause of flooding but aggravated by global warming which in turn rises the sea level), flooding will continue, thus if we cut down all the plants, kill all the animals for bush meat, poison the streams because we want to catch fish today, there will be no trees, animals, fish and water to drink tomorrow. All these human activities lead to killing of cock. Although some of us have already killed the cock, some are about to kill it but some have decided not to kill it.
Sustainable development is a pattern of social structural and economic transformation, which optimizes the benefits available in the present without endangering the likely potential for similar benefit in the future. Nonetheless, government policies in Nigeria has not always addressed national environmental issues adequately. The government seemed to pay lip service to environmental and sustainable development despite the threats of the environment.
The seeming gloomy and hopeless situation in Nigeria can change for better if certain things are put right. For example, the government needs to be more committed and resolute in carrying out sustainable development plans. Once definite policy statements on the environment are made, the enabling environment for implementation should be created. Environment and development are not separate challenges but are inexorably linked; development cannot subsist upon a deteriorating environmental resources base; the environment cannot be protected when growth lives out cost of environmental destruction; environmental problems cannot be treated separately by fragmented institutions and policies because the problem are linked in a complete system of cause and effect. Sustainable development should go beyond environmental sanitation, as part of her goal objectives, the government should:
i. Implement as far as possible, the conservation measures
ii. Develop an indigenous technology
iii. Revamp the non-oil sectors of the economy
iv. Stress environmental insurance for business.
v. Establish environmental quality management system and
vi. Develop environmental education.
Environmental issues are fundamentally about our survival of planet earth therefore, these issues are not preserved by specialist alone, and they belong to all and must be addressed by all. We are friends of the environment
FRIENDS OF THE ENVIRONMENT (FOTE)