Category Archives: Green Habitat Initiative

Deliberations of the Panel Discussion on Sustainability in Architecture in Nigeria

The built environment is responsible for the largest consumption of energy produced in the world. They have a corresponding largest global greenhouse gas emission by sector, 40% according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). How does this all affect us and the environment? Negative impacts of climate change have positioned many people in danger. It has destroyed lives and properties. Worse, it places a dark cloud for future generations. As such, there is need to reduce the impact of our built environment on the carbon footprint.

The French Institute of Nigeria and Green Habitat Initiative, on 31st of May in Abuja, brought together professionals in the built environment industry to debate the right sustainability principles and materials for Nigeria’s built environment. Four panelists drawn from different disciplines and professions that cut across sustainability in architecture were brought together to lead the discussion. After introductory speeches by the panelists, a panel discussion held between the panelists, moderated by the Director of Green Habitat Initiative Sadiq Gulma.

A summary of the viewpoints of the four panelists is highlighted below.

Nmadili Okwumabua is Nigerian and promotes modernizing African architecture in Nigeria’s cities, through her organization Community Planning and Design Initiative. Through her presentation and contributions to the discussion, she stressed the need to reclaim our heritage by not being embarrassed about using red earth for our buildings in Abuja. Through her organization, Nmadili receives entries of architectural plans modernized with African values from everyone around the globe. She has received many great entries reflecting numerous African culture and values in their design. The panelist revealed she is currently building a prototype of such sustainable houses. The model would be instrumental in advancing the movement.

Having expressed her pessimism at the beginning of her presentation, Armelle Choplin our second panelist has been following cement, what she calls ‘the grey gold’ from Nigeria through Benin, Togo to Ghana. She is concerned that Nigeria may not stop using cement in building because it is becoming cheaper and Dangote Industries is providing all the cement Nigeria needs. Through her research, she has discovered there is a social symbol and even political to the use of cement in our buildings. People who use other materials, such as red earth maybe seen as less privileged. There is a challenge of finding skilled local builders to teach foremen how to use red mud in constructing strong buildings that can go as high as 10 story building. For a paradigm shift to take place, she asserts that notable and prominent people and organizations like Dangote would play an influential role if they take the lead.

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Having understood the local issues with the building materials in question, Mr. Stephanne Pouffary was on the panel to provide the macro vision of sustainability in cities. Through his NGO, ENERGIES 2050 he has worked with up to 30 cities all over the world including those in West Africa to help them advance their energy efficiency and sustainability goals. His contribution clarified that different cities have different priorities and motivation to go green. Our ability to personalize the codes that will drive everyone to cleaner cities. For that to work, he highlighted 3 things that needs to be done; increase professionals’ capacity in sustainability, form regional coalitions to promote goals and work out the cost benefit analysis for sustainability to go mainstream. At the end, cost drives everything.

All the talk would be in vain if there are no institutionalized policies to control and regulate the built environment. The fourth panelist, Dr. Sherif Y. Razak who is from the Department of Development Control (authority in charge of approving all building plans and development in Abuja) was on the panel to describe what the government is doing and needs to do. Currently, the Department has instituted a green building committee to vet all building submissions against certain green building concepts. However, a lot needs to be done before a bigger impact can be made. He stressed the need to increase capacity amongst professionals, including government staff. A prototype of buildings with such sustainability standards would be pivotal in influencing building policy and regulations. Therefore, what Ms Nmadili is building should serve as a good reference point for policy makers to use in changing the regulations.

After debating amongst each other, the panelists engaged with the teeming audience. Many shared their views and supported the fact that capacity needs to increase, especially amongst architects who are the chief drivers of the built environment. Many others questioned the officer from the Department of Development Control and their need to enforce the principles.

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The event concluded with more discussions amongst participants during the cocktail.

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Saving the Environment, Tracking the Solutions

The need to preserve the environment in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. Failure to do that invites conflicts, depletion of ecosystems, migrations etc. The country is already experiencing various forms of environmental degradations1.

The northern part of the country is facing extreme conditions of deforestation, drought, desertification and erosion2. The vast arable lands are lost due to overgrazing, unsustainable farming methods, deforestation and Sahara Desert enncroahment3. Other parts of the country witness soil and water pollution from oil spillage and industrial processes, deforestation, extreme weather conditions, flooding and loss of biodiversity2. The causes are largely anthropogenic which are now being exacerbated by climate change.

Keeping up with all the environmental degradations and marking them for protection would be an arduous task. However, achieving the feat, especially digitally, would mean all environmental issues are brought to the fore and attention of all. Hence, invigorating people and organizations to take actions.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has in recent time developed a national tracking programme of public health issues4.  It is called the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Programme (NEPHTP). Up to 26 states in the United States developed local tracking platforms that are embedded in the CDC NEPHTP.  The state of Lousianna’s Tracking Programme mapped the health effects and reach of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon BP oil spillage as well as to inform other relevant authorities how to help5.

In the absence of any environmental tracking platform in Nigeria, I propose a Nigeria Environmental Tracking Platform (NET-P). A community-led initiative to identify, map and records the environmental problems their land is experiencing and also tracks and identifies the players trying to solve them would be an effective way of preserving the environment in Nigeria. It also mentions and educates users the consequences of not protecting the environment.

It is a regional innovation project that motivates people to solve the environmental challenges their locality is facing. Thereafter, any solution implemented by the people is indexed and properly elaborated in a manner to allow for replication and implementation elsewhere. It’s like an encyclopedia of regional environmental problems, the solutions needed and taken by others.

This initiative builds on the state of Louisiana Tracking Programme. The latter lacks functions of suggested solutions and does not catalogue solutions taken for easier reference. It also doesn’t rank the problems requiring urgent interventions. NET-P would be quite diverse, taking into consideration the environmental priorities of different regions. Different regions require different environment solutions; afforestation, land reclamation, water conservation efforts etc. The greater the need for the solution in the community, the more recognition it gets.

It would rank solutions based on social, economic and environmental benefits of in that location. Availability would be in different languages and easily accessible, with limited or no internet connection. An economic tree such as the baobab planted in dry Sahel region of north western Nigeria to combat desertification and improve livelihood cannot be ranked on the same level if it is planted in the oil polluted south-south Nigeria requiring remediation and land reclamation efforts.

It can also be used as an environmental reporting platform. One can report unsafe dumping in an area or burning of items that cause air pollution. Thus, organizations tackling such problems would become aware of it and choose the best action to take.

According to a study of over 3,425 environmental projects implemented in the UK under the ‘Green Spaces and Sustainable Communities’, grassroots community-led initiatives have been more successful than projects with top-down approaches led by local authorities. Grassroots projects reveal how the community is committed to solving their problems. The solutions were needs-based; known and identified by the community themselves. They were also more successful because they enjoyed participation of experts from different fields6.

Such a community initiative can spur different people into being responsible for the well-being of the environment they live in. It would promote efforts taken by other people, encourage and allow for replication of solution elsewhere. It would strengthen unity and cohesion in and between communities, enhance teamwork, bring synergy, foster peace between citizens and above all, help Nigerians, environmental organizations and the government in preserving Nigeria’s environment.

 

References:

  1. United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs. Institutional aspects of sustainable development in Nigeria. http://www.un.org/esa/agenda21/natlinfo/countr/nigeria/inst.htm accessed on 20th May 17
  1. United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs. National Environmental Problems, National Implementation of Agenda 21, Nigeria Country Profile, November 1997 <http://www.un.org/esa/earthsummit/nigeriac.htm&gt; accessed on 20th May 17
  2. Sunday Gabriel. Tackling the Effect of Desertification. Daily Trust. June 21, 2009 <https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/sunday/index.php/feature/3346-tackling-the-effect-of-desertification&gt; accessed on 20th May 17
  3. Centre for Disease Control, National Environmental Public Health Tracking Programme <https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/tracking/&gt; accessed on 20th May 17
  4. Centre for Disease Control, Louisiana Tracking Platform, Sharing Our Stories: NCEH’s Impact on Public Health <https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/stories/trackingla.html&gt; accessed on 20th May 17
  5. Community Development Foundation, How do community groups make life better. Paper 5, improving the physical environment, October 2014, Page 2. <http://www.cdf.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/physical-environment.pdf&gt; accessed on 20th May 17

 

How We Are Making Abuja Hotter

If you have been into a conversation with others or overheard people saying Abuja is so hot, here are the best reasons why it is so. We may all think heat and its presence is caused by nature, the sun or the hot dry winds of the Sahara Desert. But they aren’t the only reasons why.

The biggest heat source, the sun, emits as much heat as it wants to, but other factors limit how much of this heat gets into our cities, how much is retained and how much is emitted back or outside the city.

Whenever each of us builds a house, he or she increases the amount of heat in that area and generally, the city. Whenever the city councils builds a road, a percentage of heat will be added in your city. It’s a straightforward heat budget, the more concrete buildings,  asphaltic roads and developments we have in the city, the more heat that will be present in our city, especially at night.

Urban heat island (UHI), is a phenomenon in which urban areas have higher temperatures than nearby rural areas, due to human reasons. The phenomenon has been discovered about 50 years ago and is known to affect so many cities’ energy consumption, thermal comfort, air conditioning costs and human health . The more a city develops (puts up more buildings), the more heat island it builds.

I came to know about this phenomenon as a graduate student. My MSc thesis had chiefly investigated how to make our buildings cooler by using living green roofs (they inevitably cool the cities too). UHI is present in many cities in the world, albeit unwanted. Many cities are doing whatever they can to combat this effect. One major way is increase in vegetation; trees, green roofs, high albedo materials (materials with high solar reflectivity), water bodies and fountains, etc. So if we want to mitigate UHI, we need to combat it by growing vegetation.

What about Abuja?

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Let’s understand a little of the geography of Abuja. At an elevation above sea level of 864m, the capital of Nigeria sits higher than many Nigerian cities. The climate is a tropical savannah, with above average temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius, rocky terrain and a rainfall season that lasts for only 5 months. There are many hills around the city. About 4 million people live in the city during the day time, with only a quarter of a million estimated to be living in city at night. It’s like the Bay area in the US. Owning to high costs of apartments and rents, many people who work in the city during the day time travel for 20 to 50 kilometres to their homes in nearby areas.

These nearby areas aren’t flooded with all the cars, concrete and asphalt of Abuja. As I earlier mentioned, concrete and asphalt are the major reasons why we have UHI.

How?

Those materials and many others developers put, behave like heat sinks. During daytime, they absorb heat from the sun. When the night comes, instead of the city to be cooler, it is hot because the heat sinks emit this heat back in to the environment. As soon as the heating source disappears (they stop absorbing heat), they start re-emitting heat back.

If you really want to experience this, you should take a walk in your neighbourhood at night. You will feel the night is still warm, instead of it to be cool like the neighbouring rural areas with less built up areas. Placing your face very close to the road or interlocking blocks,  you will most likely feel a hotter air around that region than when standing. This heat, summed up from all heat sinks in the city, causes the UHI.

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Temperature profile of built up areas ompare with rural and suburban areas (credits: Wikimedia Commons)

So when you want to build tomorrow, ask your building engineer and architect to use non-heat sinks on your site. Don’t do interlocking blocks around your house, put grasses. Green vegetation, owning to their nature, do evapotranspiration. Evaporated water cools the microclimate around the house and ultimately, the city. It improves the thermal conditions of the city.

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Mitigating UHI in Abuja

Its sad when you drive in to so many estates in Abuja with little or no vegetation at all. The urban planning and building policies have inevitably increased UHI. The policies must change to push for developers to start using high albedo materials. I blogged about the plans of enforcing green building strategies in Abuja by the development control here. But we do not only need green building regulations,  we need city wide green regulations. More trees, more green areas, less concrete, less asphalt, more use of natural ventilation, more water bodies, etc. Building policies remain the biggest way to effect a big change on reducing the UHI present in our cities. As clients, developers and designers, we can equally be motivated by the need to make our city greener through the various ways we act.

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More green areas around buildings ensures cooler microclimate (source: tolet.com.ng)

Cooler cities meant cooler environments to live, less heat, less energy consumption, more energy costs savings, better health and thermal conditions etc. etc.

Has this piece broadened your horizon of how cities become hotter than rural areas? Do you wish to build a house or an estate and want to make it as green as possible? Why not get in contact with me.

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Institutionalizing a major paradigm shift in power generation

Green Habitat Initiative

Amidst the current established facts on the need for Nigeria to diversify its economy and the existence of climate change, it is pertinent that the the government should in addition to fixing the plants and boosting generation, also encourage private individuals, companies and corporate organizations etc. to generate power by themselves. Green policies should be a priority if a change is required.

Without doubt, the current power production can be made better by improving the current technology and maintenance. However, moves like these do not encourage the break free from fossil fuel consumption but only increase over reliance on them. The word from the government is always about the number of megawatts they will add to the National Grid at the end of the year. Nigerian citizens are, unfortunately, indirectly motivated by generation targets like these, which discourage them from sourcing alternative solutions to the incessant power problems.

In an…

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Why Bike Lanes In Abuja May Not Be The Worst Idea

Abba, who lives two streets behind where I live in Abuja cycles to work daily. The distance from his residence to place of work is about 8.2km through the fastest route by car. With his bicycle, it is a little higher than that, about 9km. It is longer because he has to avoid the huge express ways that offers the fastest route by car. He is cycling in a smart manner you will say, always trying to stay away from the big and busy highways and utilizing neighbourhood access and collector roads, till he finds himself at his office in Central Business District Abuja.

Personally, I think he is courageous. The number one issue facing cyclers in big cities where despite bike lanes have been established is safety. What about in a city like Abuja where there are no bike lanes? But Abba has never been hit by a car. He is courageous still for trying that. However, there are many like Abba who wish to cycle to work or cannot afford a car or cannot stand our deplorable public transport. What options do they have when they can or wish to cycle to work?

Becoming a Sustainable City

This is the point the United Nation’s sustainable development goal number 11 is trying to make. Broadly, it says make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Going deeper, one of the main goals is to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, especially to disadvantaged groups by 2030.

A sustainable city can only be built if everyone is given an equitable space to live. To make Abuja such a city, it has to give space to people like Abba to cycle to work in safety. And that is by providing dedicated and protected bike lanes. It is not the worst idea you will say, because bigger cities like New York, Paris, Montreal, Berlin, Toronto and many others have bike lanes across many roads. Cape Town and Johannesburg, both in South Africa have bike lanes. Lagos wanted to, but didn’t do much.

New York has a population of 8.4 million people. The city still provided bicycle lanes. More than 36 000 people cycle to work in New York helping to save the city from social and economic losses. If this 36 000 people will abandon their bicycles tomorrow for public transportation and private cars, we can imagine the traffic jam that may accrue on the roads, the time that will be wasted in traffic and the increase in air pollution.

Merits of Urban Cycling

When urban cycling is implemented, it will help the city in all these aspects positively. More time will be spent off the road rather than in traffic jams or slow moving ones, providing more time for work and leisure. Car oriented policies have degraded the beneficial roles urban cycling could provide. Urban cycling enhances smart mobility, offering residents another option of moving around faster.

Another merit of urban cycling is it gives an alternative to a cleaner air. If more people are encouraged to abandon their cars and use bikes, there will be fewer emissions polluting the air. This year, the city of Milan is considering a move to start paying workers to cycle to work in a bid to reduce the air pollution in the business city. There will be fewer emissions if it happens and that means more healthy people and fewer risks to respiratory diseases. A number of people do not have time to exercise their body through physical activities, cycling may be their best option.

How to Encourage Urban Cycling

More and more cities are not only providing bike lanes, but protected bike lanes with concrete slabs or car parks or trees or the likes. It is true that many drivers can be reckless and once hit on a bike, you are more likely to be injured, gravely. Safety is a big issue and often deters a lot of people from thinking about it as an option. Strategies such as protected bike lanes and avoiding dangerous routes can also be employed.

 

For bike lanes to work, it is not only about painting new narrow lanes to separate them from motorists or informing people of the advantages, but also placing factors to motivate people to start cycling. A major hindrance to cycling will be the climate, which is generally hot in Abuja. How about installing shower and changing rooms in offices. When I asked Abba how he deals with the heat, he said he leaves home very early in the morning before it gets hot. He also carries a spare of clothes at times to change and many sweat pipes.

Second motivating factor is to provide bike racks where people can park their bicycles safely. In the United States LEED green building accreditation programme, which certifies buildings as contributing to preserving the environment by gaining points towards becoming a green building, buildings with shower and changing rooms and bicycle racks for cyclers and bicycles earn more points towards certification. It is an all thought way of encouraging people to take up cycling and it makes sense for their well-being.

How Abuja May Begin

An interesting way to move this forward in Abuja is to have a survey of the distances employees commute to work from their homes. I am quite certain there are many people who only drive for 3 km to work. Even if people are not down with the idea, it is up to the government to motivate them in a bid to reduce traffic jams, air pollution like the city of Milan,  and move towards a more sustainable and inclusive city.

For the short period of time I live in Germany, all cities, big and small have bike lanes. A number of people of different social classes use bicycles. Thus, not only Abuja, as a rapid urbanizing city may employ it, other cities as well should. I personally use a bike for my transportation in Germany and would love to do that when I return to Nigeria. Would you cycle to work if it is made safe for you in Abuja? Or are you afraid you will get hit by those rough drivers? Or is it the sweat you dread? Please share your thoughts below.

World Environment Day 2016: Living with Foxes

The first week of June this year marked the celebration of the World Environment Day (WED) 2016 in Germany. Globally, the WED is celebrated on the 5th of June annually to raise global awareness in taking positive actions to preserve the earth and its natural resources. This year marks my fourth consecutive year of joining environmentalists around the world in celebrating the day. The most memorable of the four was the first, in 2013. We were at the peak of our campaign to raise awareness and put an end to food waste in Kenya. Sada and I decided to raise the awareness of food waste (leftover of cooked food) in university campuses in Kenya on the WED 2013 which was also in line with the theme of that year’s celebration tagged Think.Eat.Save. We designed fliers containing vital information regarding food waste and why it should be stopped. The campaign, hectic though, was largely successful I will say as we were able to cover two university campuses, albeit with the help of other volunteers. After then, we stepped up the anti-food waste campaign effort by conducting a food waste audit in all the cafeterias of our then host institution, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agricultural and Technology, in Juja.

It was a very interesting project for us. We met with the university kitchen caretaker, who is in charge of the kitchen and she gave us all the go ahead to have access to the kitchen and measure all the food waste (leftovers). Before we started the audit, members of all the kitchen staff were briefed on the audit and therefore should not throw any food waste without it being approved by Sada or me. We basically became kitchen staff during that week. Dressed with white lab coats and covered our heads with caps in line with the health and safety standards of being in the kitchen. After a meal, say lunch for example, the kitchen staff in charge of collecting the leftover food on the tables in the cafeteria will collect them and empty in special containers we acquired for the purpose of auditing. We had labelled the containers with the different names of the cafeterias on that campus. After gathering all the waste for lunch, we put it on a weighing scale to record it in kilogrammes. This continued for each and every meal of the day for the next 9 days.

It was disheartening to know the high amount of food waste (left over) in the cafeterias, while many people including children out there are hungry. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), one in nine people in the world go to bed hungry with most of them in developing countries. It is worse in sub-Saharan Africa as it is one in four. Hunger kills more people in the world than the combination of Malaria, AIDS and TB. But here we are contributing to the 1.3 billion tons of food waste yearly. This 1.3 billion ton represents one third of the total food production in the world. This is something we should think about every day when we want to discard the edible left over from our plates. It should be a moral benefit that food waste should be stopped.

After auditing the waste, we continued further by creating a bigger awareness campaign project in the university in order to stop the terrible act. I pioneered in creating a global community development project on AIESEC platform where interns from countries like China, Iran, Mauritius and Kenya volunteered to execute.

This is why it left lots of memories with me.

But this year’s was quite a memorable one too. I joined the President of Germany Joachim Gauck, along with many others in celebrating the need for environmental conservation. It held at the large green park in the vicinity of his office building at Schloss Bellevue in Berlin. The green park made a fitting venue for the WED celebration.

Alas, it was a great day of learning about what Germany is doing in environmental conservation. Numerous organizations, numbering more than 200 presented their work to esteemed guests. From those working on cleaner energy, improving energy efficiency, environmental monitoring etc. they were many themes to overwhelm your presence. As the norm, I went round to see and converse with the exhibitors to learn about their work. One which struck me, fortunately was the last booth we stumbled upon with my fellow Green Talents colleagues.

When someone hears of environment, she thinks only pollution and waste mostly. But this last organization, the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) were doing something else. They were interested in the roles foxes play in the city of Berlin. Yep, you read that right, foxes from the wolf family. And I asked with curiosity, “Are foxes roaming the streets of Berlin?” Of course, they are, the exhibitor replied. I cannot remember seeing a fox in the few safaris I went in Kenya, but here in Berlin, you do not need to go far to see them, mostly perambulating in Tiergarten. Tiergarten is a huge green area in the city of Berlin.

The exhibitor mentioned the reason why foxes are coming to the city is because of the ease with which they find food and the less likelihood of being hunted. The researchers are monitoring the movements of the foxes as well as what they eat. They have cameras installed at some locations, fitted the foxes with GPS transmitters and also asked inhabitants of Berlin to report the location and time they come into contact with these friendly wildlife.

This greatly shows the extent in which some counties and people have gone in understanding the interaction of wildlife and the environment. The extent to which foxes play a role in our ecosystem is unknown to me now. Before we left the booth though, I asked the exhibitor to inform us of a very interesting finding or fact about these city foxes, to which she mentioned they are smart. And I quickly remembered the English saying, as cunning as a fox.

Overall, our continued existence on earth will depend on how conscious we are to decisions we are making. How much consideration do we give to the environment and our biodiversity? What will be the effect of the action and inaction affecting the environment well-being? All these will culminate to the efforts we need to put in ensuring a more sustainable environment. More people are losing their homes, lives and properties due to the negative effects of climate change. It is therefore of utmost importance, than everyone, including you and I, should start playing a better role toward saving the earth for the future generations.

I will be glad to hear how you celebrated the WED 2016 or what actions you are taking to protect and conserve the environment. Are there serious environmental challenges you are facing in your neighbourhood, city or country, let’s talk about how to put an end to that.

Echoing the green voices from the movie industry

Climate change education has gone Hollywood. The American movie industry has taken bold steps in addressing the effects of climate change through a subgenre called the Climate Fiction “Cli-Fi”, in the science fiction (Sci-Fi) genre. The idea has been to increase climate change and global warming awareness portrayed in films apocalyptic in nature, showing cataclysmic repercussions of the human’s interaction with the environment.

Hollywood’s climate change awareness have been portrayed in films such as Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). The film is a classic representation of what becomes of the earth if the current environmental abuse is not checked. It is a post-apocalyptic representation of global warming, when water and gasoline become extremely scarce, and the world almost an infinite wasteland. In Interstellar (2014), the producers warned about environmental pollution and predicted that by 2067 earth would experience crop blight because lands are no longer available for crop and food production.

The animation movie, Happy Feet (2006), which carried the story in the perspective of penguins, warned about marine pollution and overfishing in the Antarctica. Man’s disruptive activities in the polar region would render the penguins vulnerable to extinction. The Day After Tomorrow (2004) sets in motion the activities of human in increasing global temperatures and a new ice age development. In The China Syndrome (1979), it predicted a nuclear meltdown in China. Decades later in March 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster happened. How prophetic!

88th Academy Awards

For two reasons, staying up all night watching the awards popularly referred to as the Oscars was totally worth it, really! One, the biggest story of it all, Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins the Best Actor Oscar for his role in the movie ‘The Revenant’. Two, the global call for environmental preservation and climate change mitigation was well represented.

DiCaprio’s acceptance speech even made it much more interesting. He talked more about the environment than about the award itself. “Climate change is real. It is the most urgent threat right now to our collective future” he rightly captured. In another acceptance speech by ace costume designer Jenny Beavan, for  the film Mad Max: Fury Road, which focused its theme on the effects of extreme global warming, warned that the film could be “horribly prophetic” if we do not take measures to stop polluting the atmosphere.

Leonardo DiCaprio is not a closet environmentalist. He in fact, is acclaimed for his environmental activism, and has won him awards and special recognitions from environmentalists and NGOs notably, United Nations and Live Earth. He drives environmentally friendly cars and his homes are quite cozy, well landscaped and powered with solar panels. Off the island of Belize, DiCaprio bought himself an island proposed for an eco-friendly resort. He has also been a big donor to NGOs and international agencies campaigning for wildlife conservation and climate change mitigation. He is doing his part in taking the environment seriously.

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Leonardo DiCaprio (Photo: Annie Leibovitz)

Yes, climate change is real and everyone is threatened, our entire civilization is under threat and worst still, our collective existence. This is among the greatest and gravest threat the world has ever faced in human history. It is felt both in developed and developing economies. Global warming is permanently changing the climate and face of mother earth. This is a ricochet of man’s interaction with the environment. Climate change is irreversible. Fact that. The earth is now locked in a situation the entire race will have to contend with.

A cue for Nollywood and Kannywood

Truth is, Hollywood had been sponsoring and encouraging climate change and global warming awareness through entertainment and must be commended for this. Still positive, a lot more need be done. Hollywood has set the pace in climate change awareness and education through entertainment and motion pictures. Nollywood, Kannywood and African movie industries alike can follow suit and educate the populace while entertaining the teeming viewers about this grave danger, which is almost imminent. These movie industries can take a cue and downshift a little from the mainstream romance to more serious and pressing matters that threaten our collective existence.

Climate change is real. Take a cue from the Hollywood, be an environmentalist like DiCaprio, protect the future of our children and your children’s children. Have a good conscience to do right by the environment. Be the change you wish to see in the world and ensure posterity enjoys the benefits of your actions and not suffers our indiscretions. Nollywood, Kannywood make this a priority. Educate your viewers.

[Guest Writer] Abdulmumin Tanko (@tikaysmalls) is of Green Habitat, a non-governmental organization promoting for adoption and implementation of sustainable policies and frameworks in agricultural, building and construction sectors.