From climate change advocacy, adaptation and mitigation, tree planting and ecological restoration, efforts are intensifying in Sokoto State to tackle the climate crisis, which the United Nations e as ‘the defining issue of our time.’
“We are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale.” UN states. “Without drastic action, today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.”
In Sokoto, raising awareness of climate change issues through inter-school debate and engaging students in the fight are among the ways the Go-Green project aims to tackle the menace.
The Go-Green project, is an initiative of the Shehu Maikoli Foundation, Sokoto, Eco-Africa Climate Change Foundation, Abuja and the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Sokoto State Council.
It is at the forefront of the struggle for entrenching environmentally positive habits also known as green habits for sustainable ecosystem.
Students from various tertiary education institutions in the State are now Go-Green Ambassadors and would contribute to protecting their environments.
They had participated in Go-Green inter tertiary institutions debate competition, which many acknowledged has enhanced their climate literacy and motivated them to take action against the global crisis, which has continued to take a heavy toll locally.
From the debate about the reality or otherwise of climate change; to the issues around social and health impacts, vulnerability, adaptions and mitigation of the crisis, the central focus of Go-Green’s initiative was boosting understanding of the issues.
“it has helped me to understand the impact of climate change and develop a stronger environment conscience,” said Aisha Bello, one attendee.
“It has armed me with useful information, and I feel empowered.”
Chair Board of Trustees Go-Green Project reiterates the need to support students at all levels to be aware of and contribute to addressing climate change issues in the State and beyond.
“These students are our future leaders, and they will pilot multi-sectoral affairs of our society,” asserted Hon Kajiji.
Kajiji was optimistic about the impact of the Go-Green project, just as he acknowledged the support of the State Governor and some organisations.
“Apart from the Massive support this project has secured from his excellency, the Go Green Project with its scope in Sokoto state has garnered more support from many non-governmental organisations such as Al-Ansar foundation Abuja, the Maria Tambuwal Development Initiative (MTDI),” he stated.
“And as a result, we will extend the Go-Green Project to Yobe, Borno, Zamfara, Katsina, and Jigawa states in the second phase to be launched in the first quarter of 2023.”
He pointed out :”The resources invested into the Go-Green project through carefully designed programs such as the massive tree plantations and assorted seedlings distributed to various communities across the state and the just concluded climate change debate competition, I am certain will positively impact the targeted communities and will reduce that overdependence on our ecological resources for energy.”
Hon Kajiji, also the Founder of the Shehu Maikoli Foundation, revealed that over the years, the Foundation had embarked on massive tree planting at different sites and parts of Sokoto state and donated assorted seedlings to communities and agencies.
“I also want to inform you that serving humanity and grooming our younger generations to succeed in various aspects of life is our major goal in founding the Shehu Maikoli Foundation and Go-Green Project,” he assured.
Chair Go-Green Debate and Essay Competitions Committee (DECC), Dr Abdullahi Bako Rabah, sheds more light on the initiative.
“At the launching of the Young Foresters Club as part of the activities of the Go-Green Project, a Debate Competition Committee was inaugurated to organise a competition among inter-tertiary institutions in the State to bring to light contemporary issues on climate change among our teeming youths studying various programs in these institutions,” he explained.
“The debate is not only about coming and winning but, more importantly, inculcating the concept of climate change in the minds of our youths,”
He added the project subsequently established Climate Change Mitigation Societies in all the participating institutions, with all 30 debaters across all ten schools, automatically ambassadors of Go-Green.
Rabah disclosed the Go-Green project embarked on many advocacy activities to enlighten the public on the menace of climate change and carried out the massive distribution of varieties of seedlings in selected local governments in the State and to many youth organisations in the State.
“Tree planting is one of the project’s major activities because climate scientists working for the IPCC believe human-induced global deforestation is responsible for 18-25% of global climate change,” he noted.
“The United Nations, World Bank and other leading non-governmental organisations are encouraging tree planting to mitigate the effects of climate change.”
He said while the benefits of tree planting are subject to debate, the costs are low compared to many other mitigation options.
“The IPCC has concluded that ‘the mitigation costs through forestry can be quite modest (US$0.1–US$20 / metric ton carbon dioxide) in some tropical developing countries … The costs of biological mitigation, therefore, are low compared to those of many other alternative measures.
Prof. M. A Mode, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), Shehu Shagari University of Education, Sokoto, called for support to non-governmental organisations such as Go-Green.
He added that activities such as debates, essay competitions, drama, and town hall meetings should continue to be organised to understand the issues better.
He noted the effects of climate change on the Nigerian population, including floods, public health, storm surges, ocean surges, loss of forest resources, livestock mortality, and food security.
The DVC made a case for a detailed audit of the environment to quantify the effect of the changes and comprehensive environmental data to show changes over time, the cause, and their impact. This, he noted, would ensure better planning.
He urged strict measures by the government on people who illegally cut off trees and enlightenment campaigns for people to become more eco-friendly, among others.
“Nigeria should take advantage of the current debate on climate change to face her environmental challenges,” he stressed.
“Monitoring and managing the environment by cautioning the activities of man, taking measures to check some adverse effects of some natural occurrences on man and the environment.”
Abubakar Shekara, Special Adviser Public Affairs To The Sokoto State Governor, spoke about climate change communication and highlighted the dos and don’ts.
He emphasised the need to avoid being dramatic, focus on climate justice, address misleading information, and be more inclined towards the benefits of climate-friendly attitudes and practices.