Nigeria's Swift Response To Climate Change: Either Now Or Never!

That Climate Change is unarguably the biggest threat to humankind's survival on Planet Earth is stale news. World Leading health experts have asserted that Climate Change may pose the biggest health risk of the 21st Century and this has become increasingly evident in the past few weeks with the bizarre high temperature rise in Iraq and Iran.

The worst flooding incident in the Myanmar, heat waves that have killed upwards of 2000 people in India and Pakistan.

In the Words of Catherine Thomassan, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, "Climate Change remain the greatest threat to Public health in the 21st Century and indeed, perpetual climatic changes has prompted environmental experts to embark on holistic climate change research and their inferences has highlighted different consequences that contribute serious havoc, directly or indirectly to the physical, mental and psychological health of Humans and other inhabitants of Planet Earth who are fast becoming Endangered Species.

These effects which ranges from Ozone layer Depletion, drought, floods, rapid displacement of lands, decline in soil fertility, salinity intrusion, coastal inundation, tidal surges, soil erosion, high temperature and heat waves to intense precipitation, increased thermal stress (heat accumulation in the body), increased extreme events like storms air pollution, transmission of diseases by vectors, population displacement and mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress has heighten the need for prompt and important decisions to preserve the earth and especially ensure the health of humans living on earth.

The World Health Organization states that increased Climate Change would create more exposure to thermal extremes and weather disasters, which could increase the incidence of malaria, diarrhea and malnutrition while lifelong Climate related toxic can lead to a spectrum of chronic ailments and acute health dysfunction which include lung cancer, bronchitis, pneumonia, cataracts, cardiovascular disease and even low birth weight. However, it was claimed that all these can be avoided if citizens are aware and drastic measures are taken by the Stakeholders.

As intoned by the Commonwealth of Youth Expert Council on Climate Change, in order to lessen the existing health impacts of Climate change and prevent future dangers, there is a dire need for Global Partnership and citizens' participation but I can help but wonder if the citizens are aware of necessary actions to take to balance the environment for the greater good.

An Average Nigerian, particularly those in the vulnerable groups across vulnerable communities and compounds are not aware of Climate change despite its adverse effects. To understand this complex system and its challenges, we need to better educate ourselves on these issues, a responsibility that can be tackled squarely by the Nigerian Government.

If the Nigerian Government can prioritize formulation and implementation of Policy Advocacy, Public Awareness and Enlightenment programs making citizens realize the various activities numbing the environment, climate change impact awareness across communities will scale up and this will help citizens to make lifestyle changes, adopt the mitigation and adaptation strategies and by lowering emissions from household usage, creating green and inclusive markets, and gradually adapting to a carbon neutral economy which will invariably reduce the hazardous effects of the Climate Change on health. The Government should also empower citizens and youth's ability and action in disaster risk reduction, recovery and resilience.

With these, as the years’ progress, more and more young people will understand the seriousness of the health challenges posed by climate change and as such, will strive for greater collaboration to address key environmental issues such as energy consumption, biodiversity, and global decision-making.

Prince Olanrewaju Gideon, A Change Agent, writes from Osogbo,
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