I sat in the comfort of my room contemplating the most suitable outfit for a picnic few miles away from my residence when my eye caught a moving image on the television screen. The screen showed people moving out of their settlement in drove and underneath it was a caption, “Flood forces family out of their ancestral home.” I had never really given thought to the possibility of climate change induced flood happening in my country until that moment. Before then, whenever I hear or read about environmental disasters caused by climate change in other countries, my concern feels as distant as their geographical location. Sheltered by the illusion that my country is insulated from the effects, the most I offer is a halfhearted thought and prayer. The devastating flood in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, widely televised by local news outlets in my country, was my first visual exposure to the realities of climate change. Although the incident occurred in a far away foreign soil in the Americas, it confronted me with plight of displaced people and the threats to human existence. Yet, I only talked about it for few hours and offered thoughts and prayers. In 2019, when Cyclone Idai wrecked havoc across the southern part of Africa, in the process destroying the lives and properties of people my country shares the same landmass with, it felt close to home. At that moment, I began to sense the proverbial winter coming. Again, I only talked about it for few days and offered thoughts and prayers. Then, a massive flood came along the coastal area of my country in 2021. The incident was my first close confrontation with the cold truth that my country would not be spared from the effect after all. I felt my self-inflated bubble shrink and reality began to set in. Yet again, I only talked about it for few weeks and shared the hashtag “Pray for Nigeria”. As I watched the heartbreaking footage of a flooded community lying few distance away from mine, I knew it was only a matter of time before the flood arrives at my doorstep. The realization that the devastating effect of climate change can be observed at my backyard sent a chill through my spine. The illusion that I held in front of me shattered, revealing the folly of my indifference and inaction. First, the scourge of climate change came for people living oversea and I did not act because it is not my continent. Then it came for those in my continent and I did not act because it is not my country. Then it came for those in my country and I did not act because it is not my community. Then, when it came for my community, I realized the thoughts and prayers I had offered to others would also be sent to us in kind with no action to back them up. Ignoring the pile of clothes calling for my attention, I hurried out of the four walls of my room.Walking along the wet, cold and misty street, I wondered about other climate change induced disasters happening at the same time in different places around the world -Wildfires in temperate regions; floods in tropical and monsoon regions; droughts in arid regions; and melting permafrost in artic regions. The thought of humans staring helplessly in the face of our fears gave me the scare. Retributions for years of our collective negligence? The downpour stopped soon enough. The rolling thunder seized its rumbling. The grey sky turned blue again as daylight displaced darkness. I took it as a forewarning sign to begin to take action, else a less forgiving one come our way. The experience changed my attitude towards climate change. It shaped the way l lived ever since. I substituted meat for plant-based meals, buses for bicycle, and energy intensive appliances for more efficient ones. I repaired and reused domestic products that would have otherwise graced my refuse bin. I turned broken bowls into flower vases, worn-out clothes into pillows and pack of bottles into stools. Perhaps we can adopt the aforementioned proactive measures and other strategies lay down by the United Nation to reduce reliance on energy use at individual level. But beyond these basic measures, we need to pressure corporations into making ethical decision as they contribute fairly large percentage to the world's total carbon emission. This may be achieved on two fronts. On one hand, we can identify erring companies, call them out and boycott their goods and services if necessary. On the other hand, we can pressure our government into making new regulations or updating existing ones to protect the environment.and blacklist offending companies. The approach enables us to curtail the effects of climate change and also present the upcoming generation with blueprint needed to realize a sustainable future. The responsibility of kickstarting the shift to make this future a reality however lies squarely on our shoulders. Let's lead the way with the first step. Act.

comments button 0 report button


Subscribe and stay tuned.

Popular Biopages