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Digital Heroes: Generation Nigeria

Certain times, I wonder what the world would become without a functioning eco-system. Imagine a Nigeria where you couldn’t breathe properly because the atmosphere has been polluted by dust, or excessive release of a form of toxic material. A country with high abnormal temperature, a Nigeria where the land is either too dry for plant’s growth or have been eroded. A world where decomposers and burrowers found inside the soil cannot carry out their various activities because the land is either too acidic or too basic in nature for them.

Imagine the possibility of another Nigeria where, when you take a deep breath, you inhale an impurity-free air, also referred to as fresh air; a country where your immediate environment is serene and disease-free; an environment where the land is fertile and productive for farming, safe for animals, conducive for decomposers to carry out their various activities and healthy for man to live in – a GREEN LIFE
Dr. Sarojini Ramalingam, author “Modern Biology”, defines the eco-system as the basic functioning unit of nature, which consists of living things and their physical environment, and how they interact to exchange materials. For life to exist on earth, the eco-system has to be kept in a constant cycle. The primary source of energy to the eco-system is the sun, therefore without the sun, life would cease on earth.
Producers, consumers and decomposers are the three categories of living organisms that interact with each other in an eco-system. Producers such as green plants and some bacteria get their energy from the sun outside their eco-system which enables the producers, to combine inorganic matter together to make food through processes known as photosynthesis and chemosynthesis. These producers are then consumed by heterotrophs such as man. When these heterotrophs die, they are been acted upon by certain organisms known as decomposers that facilitates decay, and the decomposers in turn uses up the energy built up in the tissues of that particular living organism. The decayed organic matter in turn serves as humus to the soil that encourages plant growth.
Environmental pollution of any kind disrupts the eco-system and its natural processes. In recent times, man’s activities have been interrupting the eco-system and endangering life on earth. Such activities include excessive cutting down of trees, excessive use of chemicals for fishing and dumping of industrial wastes in water bodies. Also, burning of fossil fuels such as coal, petrol and gas in various devices, for the production of energy releases carbon (II) oxide into the atmosphere which accumulates and pollutes our environment.  At Linfen, the most polluted city in China, three million people choke on coal dust in the evenings, children in that area suffer lead poisoning, while locals have increasing rates of bronchitis, pneumonia and lung cancer. Also, a place like Yandev area of Benue State, where the Benue Cement Company (BCC) is located, is seriously being polluted till date by waste such as dust, by-products from limestone and carbon-dioxide from machines from the factory.

Mr. Stephen R. Covey quotes in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “in life we are free to make choices, but we are not free to decide the consequences that accompany those choices”. The choice of activities carried out by man has inevitable long and short term consequences attached. One major consequence of pollution, interfering with the eco-system is global warming.
The earth is covered by the atmosphere which is made up of various gases that act as a blanket. The atmosphere traps certain percentage of heat from the sun, making the earth reasonably warm. The greenhouse gases in the atmosphere therefore regulate earth’s temperature. Combustion of fossil fuels through various activities increases the amount of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere. Trees remove carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere, a natural interaction process between trees and the atmosphere, it replaces it with oxygen. When trees are cut down by man for his personal benefits, excess carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere is no longer replaced. This results in the accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere resulting to global warming.
Global warming, therefore, refers to the rise in temperature of the earth due to accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It causes the polar ice caps to melt resulting in rising sea levels, as oceans becomes warmer, hurricanes, monsoons, tornadoes and thunder storms are likely to occur even in countries that have never experienced it before. Considering the consequences of interrupting the eco-system and its effects on earth, there’s therefore a need to prevent this menace, by saving our environment.
  First and fundamental step in saving our environment is by going green, not only in our actions but also in our thinking and mentality. Going green entails that in our daily lives we carry out environmentally friendly activities such as the habit of consuming only what we need and encouraging those around us to do same, re-use items and recycle wastes when possible, use and campaign for more of renewable energy sources such as the wind and solar energy against non-renewable energy sources such as coal and petroleum. Going green also entails that factories should treat their waste, to be less harmful before discarding. When we go green in our various communities, it results in a green and safe earth for both ourselves and the future generation.

Furthermore, knowledge they say is power.  I am of the strong opinion that if every human being knew the consequences of how their actions influence the environment, then our environmental challenge is half solved. If those in the rural areas knew the consequences of cutting down trees indiscriminately for firewood and other purposes, then this act will reduce drastically. Also, if the average Nigerian Youth knew the benefits of tree planting, then planting of trees wouldn’t be an issue amongst our youth. This is because by been enlightened; we will all be armed with the power to save our environment. Massive enlightenment campaigns should therefore be organized by government agencies and relevant private bodies especially in the rural areas, on social media and also on print media. 
In future, if our environment in Nigeria becomes totally unhealthy it would be our doing, and if in future Nigeria becomes healthier, it would also be our making. We ought not to deceive ourselves, in our daily activities and production process we cannot do without producing waste into the environment, or completely recycle waste in our environment. Practically, in going green these wastes should be reduced to its barest minimum and above all, more trees should be planted.
A wise man once said “everything is possible if we play our cards well.”  A green Nigeria is possible if we all play our cards well. Yes it is!

NB: Every image featured here is used with express permission from Green Education for The Youth (GEFTY)

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