Tackling Climate Change Effect Through Conservation Efforts: Perspective Of Ibom Greener Project
It is no doubt that Nigeria nay Akwa Ibom is among the nations and states that are vulnerable to climate change. Climate change, according to Wikipedia, “occurs when changes in earth’s climate system result in new weather patterns that remain in place for an extended period of time”. Experts say it is principally a major problem caused by the increase of human activities and human mismanagement of the earth leading to several direct and indirect impacts on health.
Findings show that the world continues to be under the threat of climate change problems like global warming, greenhouse gas effects, flooding, acid rain typhoons, rising sea levels, rising sea temperatures resulting in depletion of marine organisms, earthquakes, wind storms, land and mud slides, desertification, tsunami, erosion, volcanic activities, hurricanes, pollution, deforestation among several others.
Globally, environmental issues have continued to dominate discussion and consciousness as it is clear that the physical, chemical as well as the biological integrity of our planet is being compromised daily.
Suffice to state that climate change, if left unchecked, can cause adverse effects on livelihood of humanity given the significance and inevitability of the environment for survival of man. It is on record that without the environment, man cannot exist since human activities are made possible by the existence of his environment.
Little wonder that environmental issues are receiving attention at global level and the global communities are continuously making efforts towards ensuring that the world is a better place for human habitation.
To join in the quest to mitigating the effect of climate change, thereby safeguarding the environment, Georgie Farms & Bio-Gardens in partnership with Akwa Ibom Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency, Ministry of Environment and Petroleum Resources and African Ecological Restoration Foundation, recently inaugurated Ibom Greener Project with the aim of achieving a sustainable environment through conservation efforts.
The event which took place at the premises of Akwa Ibom Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency in Itu Local Government was supported by Family Empowerment and Youth Reorientation Programme (FEYReP), a pet project of the governor’s wife, Mrs Martha Emmanuel.
The chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency (AKSEPWMA), Prince Ikim, said the inauguration of the project was part of efforts by government to tackle the reduction of the impact of greenhouse effect on our environment through the promotion of afforestation – planting of economic trees across the state.
Ikim who noted that the depreciation of economic trees, among others, was one of the problems of the environment, stressed that embarking on tree planting will assist to reducing the direct impact of greenhouse effect.
Commenting on the importance of trees the chairman of the agency said, “trees are of great medicinal, educational and aesthetic value”, and enjoined the people of the state to embrace the project by planting trees in their homes.
Inaugurating the project, the conservator of parks, Cross River National Park, Mrs. Caroline Olory commended the initiator of the project, the executive director of Georgie Farms and Bio-Gardens, Mrs Emem Umoh, for the initiative and expressed the hope that it would thrive.
Olory, described the inauguration of the project as a good idea that would encourage the planting of trees and preservation of forests across the state, noting that “if all plant trees, climate change will be a thing of the past.”
The conservator of parks who said “trees are natural cushion of climate change effect,” stressed the need for the state government to consider partnering the National Park Authorities for the establishment of national parks in Akwa Ibom, while urging the initiator of the project not to relent efforts towards ensuring the establishment of national park in the state.
Olory who emphasized, “we need a park in Akwa Ibom State”, said its establishment will boost tourism and economy of the state through revenue generation.
The initiator of the project and executive director of Georgie Farms and Bio-Gardens, Mrs Umoh, said the event is our own way of celebrating the 32nd Anniversary of Akwa Ibom State as well as commemorating the International Day of the Preservation of Ozone Layer, which is globally celebrated annually on September 16, 2019.”
Commenting on the impact of climate change on the environment, such as loss of biodiversity, Umoh posited that there are host communities around the world today including Akwa Ibom that are being consumed by coastal gully erosion, sea incursion, bushfires, to mention a few.
“Nigeria is already feeling the effects of climate change. Unstoppable weather events are on the increase causing debiliting droughts in some areas as well as excess floods and others,” she said.
The executive director of Georgie Farms and Bio-Gardens who noted that “ tree planting has been embraced globally as the only natural means of reducing climate change impacts for a healthier environment”, made case for extra commitment and dedication to environmental friendly actions by individuals, families, communities, corporate organizations, institutions, government agencies and all of us.”
Going down memory lane, Umoh narrated, “Our organization has been committed to this vision for over 15 years across the country and for five years (2014 - 2019) in Akwa Ibom State. As at today, we have carried out several conservation-related activities, especially tree planting, in 23 schools/communities located in seven local government areas with the support from FEYReP. The model used was a pre-and post-tree planting survey to assess and verify outcomes as a basis for a detailed and sustained regeneration/afforestation project in the state.”
Ibom Greener Project according to her, will enhance a greener and more sustained environment through: massive tree planting (indigenous species/economic species), routine workshop and training for stakeholders, conservation education and awareness programme in communities, schools and market places, nursery sites establishment at strategic locations within the state and other relevant activities in line with international best practice.
She mentioned the expected result that would be gotten for establishing the Ibom Greener Project to include increased level of biodiversity conservation and related issues, update conservation status of flagship species in both forest reserves and free areas (detailed biodiversity survey in the three forest reserves), enhanced recognition of Akwa Ibom State as hotspot for species of conservation importance (plant and animals), preparedness for establishment of Akwa Ibom National Park and a conspicuous greener Akwa Ibom environment.
Umoh lauded the wife of the governor, Mrs Martha Emmanuel, who is the most environmental friendly first lady in Nigeria for supporting tree planting projects in the 20 schools and three communities recorded in the last three years and prayed God to bless and reward her for her labour of love for humanity and the environment.
While appreciating the chairman of AKSEPWMA, Prince Ikim, for his relentless efforts towards realization and sustenance of cleaner and healthier Akwa Ibom environment, Umoh who acknowledged that the task was enormous, noted that with divine wisdom and collaboration with seasoned professionals, he would attain greater heights.
She commended the efforts of the present government through the Ministry of Environment and Petroleum Resources under the leadership of Mr Ekong Sampson for refocusing the state on ecological restoration for possible enlisting of our state in the United Reducing Emissions Programme.
Goodwill messages were received from the clan head of Itam, Etebom Donald Uboh, Prof. Akaniyene Mendie of the Department of Environmental Studies, University of Uyo, a representative from Biodiversity and Preservation Centre, Mr Aniekan Uwah, Dr Edwin Eqwali of Animal and Environmental Biology Department, University of Uyo, among others.
They extolled the initiator of the project which they said was promoting actions geared towards checkmating the effects of climate change and global warming on the environment.
High points of the event included planting of trees at the premises of the State Environmental Agency and distribution of tree seedlings to members of the public, which was performed by the chairman of the AKSEPWMA, Ikim, and the conservator of parks, Cross River National Park, Mrs. Caroline Glory.